We all have that one friend. In the case of everyone I know, that friend is me. Since the event horizon that was Trump’s election, I haven’t stopped reading the news. I open my eyes to whatever apocalypse Trump’s late-night-tweets tease and close them to whatever acrobatic deflection Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers. It might not be healthy. Luckily, there is hope for friends like me. In the interest of a light and bright holiday season, here’s a gift guide for your friend who can’t stop reading the news.
1. This scream jar
Perfect for silencing preternatural stress screams. This one’s sort of a gift for you.
We’re all nervous about the corrosion of our basic rights, and your friend who can’t stop reading the news is probably very nervous. Make a donation in their name to an organization they care about! Maybe choose one that’s making direct impact on your immediate community. Big organizations need help, too, but there’s a lot happening at the local level.
3. Obama Swag
Remember President Obama? Your friend does—she thinks about him every time she reads one of Trump’s incoherent tweets. Short of this amazing Obama hoodie, there are other sweet ways to remember what it felt like to have a president, like these earrings or maybe this hat.
4. Make Books an Escape
Listen. Your friend knows that reading the news this feverishly is sick, okay? So maybe they need a distraction. A book is a great escape—CNN news alerts can’t blast across the printed page. Ta-Nehisi Coates’s We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy is not only a great and essential read, but it might contextualize some of the chaos your friend feels so keenly. Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide by Cass R. Sunstein is also right up your friend’s alley—fingers crossed it comes in handy!
5. Support journalism
Okay, that’ll work as a distraction for an afternoon, tops. Then your friend is going to go back to the sweet IV drip of think pieces about just how far this Russia stuff really goes. So you might as well lean in and get your friend a subscription to their favorite, most trusted news source. Supporting good journalism is now more important than ever.
6. Make a deal
Your friend who can’t stop reading the news has been thinking about the Civil War a lot. Mostly about how elected officials are getting it so wrong and spreading dangerous misinformation. Reading the news means sifting through some pretty shocking falsehoods concerning the Civil War, so your friend might appreciate a crash-course. Ken Burns’s The Civil War is over nine hours of first-hand and historian accounts—get your friend the box-set and schedule a movie night on the following condition: I will watch nine straight hours of Ken Burns with you if you turn your phone and computer off and bury them in the backyard.
(The Civil War, $69.99)
7. Help others
The news is frantic, constant, and does a good job of making us feel isolated. Sometimes, the best gift is a sense of community. We can do more than consume breaking news and hypotheticals—we can make a difference and speak our minds. Sign up for a day of service with your friend—register people to vote, staff a soup kitchen, or start a winter clothing drive.
8. Gaze at Obama
President Obama’s photographer, Pete Souza, has been an excellent antidote to the news this year. For every day of Trump’s antics, Souza has posted an image on his Instagram of the Obama administration’s grace and class. Now he’s released a coffee table book, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, and it’s just as beautiful as you might expect. This is a great gift for cleansing the home of vexing airwaves.
(Obama: An Intimate Portrait, $50)
9. Keep Hope Alive
Part of what keeps us hopeful is that good people are doing good things. Wildfang is a super cool clothing company you can feel good supporting, and your friend can rock some political statement pieces (an Elizabeth Warren pennant, perhaps?). Also check out their clothing and accessory collection for activists.
10. De-stress for Less
It goes without saying that reading the news every day is an infinity loop of stress. Your friend could probably use a day at the spa or a 12-hour nap, or maybe some time in one of those sensory deprivation tanks. In a perfect world. There are ways to de-stress without dropping a paycheck, and the more homemade the better! Make your friend some hot chocolate mix, make a bath-bomb, or make a candle!
11. Feminist Wall Calendar
In the news vortex, every day lasts 100 years. Help your friend reclaim the passage of time with this feminist wall calendar.
(Fiercely Female, $12)
12. The Gift of Company & Community
Lastly and, probably, most importantly, give your friend the gift of your company. Have difficult conversations, cook dinner together, laugh together, go to the movies, and introduce friends to other friends. We’re going to need each other in the years ahead. Now, more than ever, we need to find our friends and fight for them, to build communities where we least expect them.