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The holidays crept up on me this year. Suddenly, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And isn't Christmas the very next day? Was the week following Easter when the shopping season began? I am way behind.

I read that Oprah announced her "Favorite Things" earlier this week. A Panini maker? Really? So that every lunch feels like the lunch you eat at your office? I think the only "favorites" that Oprah and I share are the Planet Earth DVDs and Scrabble. Why am I writing about Oprah? I can honestly say that I have never written about her before, even in an email. This is a surefire way to alienate myself from NPR listeners (not to mention a valid reason to start seeing a therapist). Must. Stop.

In honor of never mentioning Oprah again on this blog, I will now exorcise the Oprah demon in the form of my own "favorite things" list.

1. Q-tips. Give the gift of clean ears to those you love but who have neglected this simple yet pleasurable regimen. Make sure to promote a safe and gentle technique. But remember, earwax is a natural buffer against loud music, so leave a little behind. Dispose of Q-Tips after use, and by that I don't mean leaving them on your nightstand.

2. Floss. Bleeding, swollen gums are unsightly. Floss is a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who thinks that chewing Altoids is tantamount to proper dental hygiene.

3. You Tube. Send a link of a You Tube video. Include a cheerful holiday greeting to distinguish it from the thousands of other You Tube videos you forwarded in 2007. If you have artistic leanings, make a storyboard of your favorite You Tube video and give it out as a series of one-of-a-kind paintings.

4. Pizza. Show up Christmas morning with a pizza. Or, for Hanukkah—8 nights of Pizza. Who doesn't love the Italian tostada? Everyone will forget you didn't actually bring a present.

5. Music. This is a music blog, after all. Buy a CD and download it onto your computer. The CD is now ready to give out as a gift.
Music recommendation: Just give everyone the soundtrack to Todd Haynes' film, I'm Not There. It will be hard to find a better album (or to see a better movie) this year.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.