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There’s nothing like curling up in front of an open fire with a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate—maybe with some floating marshmallows—and a good book. Especially at Christmas time, with the snow settling outside, and something appropriately festive playing in the background.

For me it’s especially good at Christmas because the stress of present-giving is at last over and done with, as I don’t find giving presents an easy task. It’s something I struggle with every year… and usually fail to do well.

I’m especially bad a stocking stuffers, those little gifts that—perhaps more so than the big things—tell your loved ones that you actually know them well. Stocking stuffers are tricky, they have to be small, compact and reasonably cheap.

A book is an easy stocking stuffer, especially if you can get one that fits well with your loved one’s interests, and this year I’ll be using what I—to the amusement of some of the other MAKE staff—call the “blue series of books” as stocking stuffers. Officially called the “Project Book” series, these thin—around 60 to 80 page—books are cheap, fast reads, covering everything from how to build an Arduino-compatible micro-controller on a breadboard, to how to build and launch a satellite.

They’re also cheap enough that you can order one for yourself without too much guilt, and settle down afterwards in front of that open fire with your hot chocolate.

See all of our Shed picks here.

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker, tinkerer and co-founder of a startup working on fixing the Internet of Things. He spends much of his time probing current trends in an attempt to determine which technologies are going to define our future.


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