Editor’s Choice | An ULTRA-Last-Minute Christmas Present

Professional travelers know that simple ideas are sometimes the best ones. Some people call it cheap — I call it intelligent.
Professional travelers know that simple ideas are sometimes the best ones. Some people call it cheap — I call it intelligent.

Joe Parkin, Chief Editor USA

Perhaps you forgot to buy a present for someone, or you’ve got just one more Christmas party to attend and you’re out of time, money and ideas. Don’t worry, your pal Joe has you covered with a quick, cheap, and incredibly useful gift item that’s guaranteed to fulfill its intended purpose, and that’s also guaranteed NOT to be re-gifted. What is it? It’s a Ziploc bag decorated with stickers. AKA: the best toiletry bag ever made.

Sacrificing a couple decals from your collection doesn't hurt.
Sacrificing a couple decals from your collection doesn’t hurt.

Before you laugh, you should know that I travel a lot. For instance, I left my home on November 6 and headed to Sud Tirol for the Design and Innovation Award 2015; on November 12, I flew back to Chicago; the following day, I embarked upon a 22-day road trip through the USA to California and then back to Chicago; I spent a day at home, and then traveled to Taiwan for 8 days; after less than a week back in Chicago, I hopped a flight to Colorado, picked up my recently repaired motorhome — and after 2.5 days and 3,700 km of serious Red Bull abuse, I’m able to sit down and write this long overdue bit of gift-buying advice. I know my toiletry bags.

Toiletry bags, for the uninitiated, are those things that most people spend way too much money on, which are designed to help you organize and store your personal hygiene and grooming items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, razors, etc.

People who don’t travel way too much tend to have really nice ones. One year for Christmas, I was given a beautiful one — a black, finely crafted leather masterpiece. It smelled good and seemed to announce in some way that I was a seasoned, worldly traveler, with impeccable taste.

Yeah, well, a few blown-up toothpaste containers and a busted shampoo bottle or two, and that lovely work of leather was banished to the closet in favor of something a bit cheaper and recyclable.

If you think that presenting a sticker-decorated plastic bag is too cheap, add a few cold beers. Nothing says Merry Christmas better than cold, Mexican beer.
If you think that presenting a sticker-decorated plastic bag is too cheap, add a few cold beers. Nothing says Merry Christmas better than cold, Mexican beer.

For the past decade and untold flight and road miles, I’ve used nothing but Ziploc to carry my personal hygiene items. Chances are good that you’ve already got a box in your kitchen somewhere.

Gift some.

Words and photos: Joe Parkin