December 13, 2018

2018 Not Just Bags Gift Guide

2018 Not Just Bags Gift Guide

A gift guide published on December 13th? Yeah, this year is feeling pretty last-minute to us. This is basically a list of what we’re giving this year so either click a link down below of the type that grabs your interest or just keep reading! We’re still searching for the just-right gifts for a few people on our lists, so feel free to share your gift ideas in the comments (maybe you’ll inspire us!) and if you want more gift-giving inspiration, check out our 2016 Gift Guide (Bags and Beyond) and Tom's Simplified and (nearly) Painless 2017 Gift Guide.

The Gift of Trip Planning
Cookbooks and Coffee-Table Books
Small Gifts


The Gift of Trip Planning

Kat (part of our customer service crew here at TOM BIHN; artist behind one of the art cards that comes with Nik’s Minimalist Wallets) had everyone’s favorite gift idea so far and we wanted to highlight it:

I'm planning on gifting my dad with a "Trip Plan" (A couple of long weekends where we go off exploring the small towns on the Olympic Peninsula and then Eastern Washington in 2019). My dad likes travel but hates planning. :)

Clever, eh?



The folks at Meeples — a Seattle gaming cafe for table-top gamers — helped us come up with this list of tabletop games to give in 2018.

Cat Lady
Being the best cat lady you can in this Sushi Go-esque drafting/collection game.


Dinosaur Tea Party
A restored classic with updated rules from 1976, "Guess Who" (with a couple of tricks up its sleeves) with dinosaurs or; a game of civilized deduction.


Dungeon Mayhem
A quick game of tactical card combat to see who gets the party's treasure from the makers of Dungeons and Dragons.


A tile drafting and laying game where the goal is to make your kingdom better than your friends'.


We also asked Matthew what his picks for 2018 were:

Betrayal Legacy
A game about wandering around a haunted house trying to solve the hauntings and get out. This is the legacy version of the hit game Betrayal at House on the Hill, so you'll want a dedicated group (5 is recommended but you can have as few as 3) to play it.


Gloomhaven is a tactical strategy game that came out last year and soared to the top of #1 lists and was very difficult to get a hold of even with its high (for a board game) price tag of $140. It's finally easily obtainable and a ton of fun. Like Betrayal Legacy above, it's a legacy game so you'll want a dedicated group of players (3-4 is best) to play it.


Cryptid and Decrypto
Similar sounding games and both deductive reasoning games but very different otherwise and both very good. Cryptid is about beating your fellow cryptozoologist to finding cryptids like Sasquatch and Nessie whereas Decrypto is about breaking your opponents codes while keeping yours secure.


Azul came out late last year and has been running a victory lap around the board game awards circuit this year, including earning the coveted Speil des Jahres for 2018. It's on Matthew's list to pick up since it's as great 2-player game.

There’s so many worthy causes and great non-profits out there; we can’t possibly list them all. Nonetheless, here’s a few that are favorites of various folks here at TOM BIHN.

Several of us here at TOM BIHN plan to give gift donations this year. Darcy wanted a way to give a gift donation that’s tangible — something that she could hand to the recipient, or put in a stocking. (Additionally, she didn’t want to enter the recipient’s address lest they receive solicitations for future donations in the mail.) So, she worked with Designs By Reese to come up with the following generic gift donation card. (It’s possible something like this already exists out in the world; if it does, let us know about it in the comments.)

Download the gift donation card:
Greeting Card Size

Printing out the above file on your home printer will result in two greeting card sized donation cards. (A note on printing: these should be printed two-sided and horizontally to come out correctly.)

We also make the Donation Crane as a way people can give a tangible gift along with a donation to a non-profit. 100% of the $20 of the Donation Crane is donated to your choice of the following non-profits: Seattle Vet Center (Homeless Veterans Program), WildEarth Guardians, Electronic Frontier Foundation, NAACP, Equality Now, UNICEF, Human Rights Campaign, Feeding America.

Note: if you know that the recipient of your gift donation itemizes their tax return, makes large donations themselves, or if the gift donation you plan to give them is very large, you may actually want to enter the recipient’s name and information when you make the donation on their behalf so they can also receive the tax credit. We personally are making donations in the magnitude of $50-$200 and, according to our understanding of the tax code, the tax credit for that level of donation is not much. That said, we’re bag experts, not tax experts, so feel free to correct us if we’re wrong.

Speaking of Equality Now: they have their own holiday gift guide that features our Donation Crane amongst other items. Shopping their gift guide means a percentage of the sale goes directly to Equality Now.



For more bag-related gift-giving inspiration, see our blog post How To Choose A Bag As A Gift.


Large Zip-Top Shop Bag
Small Zip-Top Shop Bag

It’s one of those basic facts of the universe: everyone can use a good tote bag. Here’s how we’ll be gifting the Zip-Top Shop Bag this year: it will be part of the gift and the actual gift wrapping. Think about it: it zips at the top and can totally hide what’s inside, making it the ultimate reusable gift wrap. Pretty cool, eh?

There's also our Original Large Shop Bag.


The Truck

Same thing applies with The Truck: everyone can use a good tote bag. And this one is meant to be quite the hauler: it’s tough and looks better the more you use it (and the more character it develops). The fact that it has an open-top and stands up on its own makes it a breeze to load.

One of our favorite ways to give The Truck is to put additional gifts inside of it. It’s like a gift basket, but the basket is way more usable, because, well, it’s The Truck. Ideas:


Road Buddy Duffel 36
Road Buddy Duffel 60

The duffel bag — yet another bag just about anyone can use. How is the Road Buddy different, you may ask? It’s incredibly well-made (thanks, Seattle factory crew!), made out of the best, most durable materials, and features a surprising amount of thoughtful, built-in organization. The Road Buddy 36 is great as a gym bag and the Road Buddy 60 is the ultimate road trip duffel.


Travel Tray

It’s been several years since we debuted the Travel Tray and we still get a ton of positive feedback about it. It’s often the first TOM BIHN item that someone who already uses our bags gets someone who doesn’t (yet).


Nik’s Minimalist Wallets

The reviews and photos are coming in and so far, it seems folks appreciate Nik’s Minimalist Wallets as much as we do. To give the Wallets as gifts: put a gift card in one side and a Donation Card in the other. Even one of our Donation Cranes can slip inside a pocket of the wallet.


Cookbooks & Coffee Table Books

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
Ottolenghi. Simple. 30 minutes or less. Need we say more?


Season by Nik Sharma
We’ve been fans of the recipes Nik Sharma shares in the San Francisco Chronicle (see: Upside Down Fig Cake) and on his blog (see: Avocado Fries Two Ways) for a while now, so it was really exciting when he came out with Season.


Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets by Najmieh Batmanglij
This is way more than a cookbook. It’s a journey, an adventure, and full of beautiful photography. It’s one of those cookbooks you sometimes cook with and sometimes just read through while on the couch with a glass of a wine.


Caribou Rainforest by David Moskowitz
In this new book from biologist, outdoor educator, and photographer David Moskowitz, the story of the possible extinction of the last mountain caribou herds found in Canada and the United States is told. It’s a story of heartbreak, hope and of learning with room for redemption. There’s no bad guys here: we’re all part of what happens and we can all be part of what happens next. A companion documentary and a list of actions one can take can be found at


Cut in Half: The Hidden World Inside Everyday Objects by Mike Warren, Photography by Jonothan Woodward
Have a person in your life who likes to take apart everything to see how it works? This book is for them.


Writers and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi

The philosopher Wittgenstein said — or I've seen him quoted as saying — that if a lion could talk, we would not understand it. This is an interesting thought, although the more I think about it the less I agree with what it seems to imply about either language, or lions, or both. But my 365 Day Cat Calendar recently gave me an excellent quotation along somewhat the same lines. Nan Porter (who ought to be a philosopher) said: "If cats could talk, they wouldn't."

— Ursula K. Leguin
(who is one of the writers featured in this book)


Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction Movies by Dave Addey (Foreword by Matt Zoller Seitz)
For the person who loves fonts and science fiction movies.


Small Gifts

Maratac Peanut LED Flashlight
A very, very small LED flashlight. Secure to your keychain split ring or our Split Ring Key Strap.


Marley’s Monsters
Reusable facial rounds, unpaper towels, bento bags, and more. Check out their “Zero waste on the go” kit. Made in Eugene, Oregon.


Cycle Dog and West Paw Stuffed Dog Toys
It was all Skookum Dog Bats for the dogs of TOM BIHN until the Bat retired. Now where do we get quality Made in USA dog toys? Answer: Cycle Dog (Made in Portland, OR) and West Paw (Made in Bozeman, MT).


Critical Thinking Cards
These cards are a fun stocking stuffer for the right person (AKA someone who you know will appreciate checking their own biases or using the cards to point out yours!)


TOM BIHN Sketchbook & Pen
A unique square sketchbook and mini Bic blue and white writes-in-four-colors pen (the last of their kind; when these are gone, they’re gone for good).


Rumi Saffron
Started by a team of US military veterans, Rumi sources saffron from local Afghan farms and employs more than 1900 women in Herat, Afghanistan to hand-harvest the delicate crimson stigmas of the flowers. 0.5 Gram samples of their saffron are available and make a great small gift.


Camamu Soap: By Hand, With Heart
Handmade soaps with naturally-sourced scents. They also have sourced interesting accessories such as hand-knitted hemp wash cloths, Turkish towels, and handmade wooden soap dishes.

This post just wouldn't be complete without an Ichiro photo bomb.

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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.