Do you hear what I hear?
Gotta say: We are obsessed — obsessed! — with the Megaboom portable speaker from Ultimate Ears. Its wireless, Bluetooth connectivity puts it in touch with your smartphone, from which you can stream Podcasts, Pandora, saved music … any audio you can throw at it … all in crystal-clear 360-degree sound. (We even had property management tell us to turn it down — that’s how good it is.) A waterproof casing and crazy-long battery life, plus a 100-foot range (and you can even sync it with multiple speakers) makes it our go-to gift for the techie on our list. $299.99.
Available at


Game Night returns!
Game Night is one of the great adult pleasures of friends who have grown tired of bars and like more engagement than movies, and this challenging game — which activates right brain and left brain — is one of our new favorites. Players match not only shapes, but ideas and pop-culture references and themes with as much speed as they can muster. It’s challenging, fun and provides plenty of room to throw shade among friends — everything we adore about gay night. $29.95.
Available at Target.


Noah’s Arckit: A toy that challenges
Anyone with children on their shopping list knows it’s difficult to find something unique and special for someone in the midst of growing up, but the Arckit may be one that actually challenges children and adults. An architectural puzzle — some call it “Lego for adults” — is like an Erector set for the modern age, allowing people to construct and design modern buildings with a variety of modular pieces. Don’t be complacent — it requires concentration and time, in the most rewarding way. $59.99 and up.
Available at


Do I hear a song?
Believe it or not, some people still like to listen to music on CDs! I know!! But even if you prefer digital downloads, the gift of music is something everyone enjoys… and there’s a lot of it out there. For brand-new, in-the-holiday-spirit ideas, try A Pentatonix Christmas from the local Grammy winners; for a classics lover, check out the remastered release of Bette Midler’s The Divine Miss M Deluxe. Figuring out your friend’s taste is half the fun.
Available online and at local retailers.


Breathe a sigh of relief
It’s the holidays, which means tons of parties and fair amount of showing…  shall we say, “liquid enjoyment.” But keeping the streets — and yourself — safe should be as much of a priority as a gift. So here may be the perfect gift to bridge the gap: The Revo, a personal blood alcohol content analyzer from AlcoMate. This discreet device quickly and accurately evaluates your blood alcohol level so that you can make intelligent decisions about driving and your own health. It’s a device trusted by the Marines and Navy for their own usage. $249.95
Available only at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2016.