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Planet Money's Supply Chain Holiday Extravaganza

Planet Money's Supply Chain Holiday Extravaganza

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Rose Wong for NPR
Supply chain got you down? Planet Money has some last minute gifts you can still give a loved one this year!
Rose Wong for NPR

While the holiday shortages may not be as bad as we had originally feared, the supply chain is still gummed up. And Christmas is right around the corner. If you've procrastinated on getting gifts, things might be getting dark right now. You may be imagining the looks of disappointed family members. The judginess of snooty friends at the secret Santa gift exchange. Whether or not it's the worst year ever for holiday shopping — we're now down to the last minute.

But have no fear. Planet Money has you covered. We've put together a little supply chain-proof gift basket that can make you the star of the holiday party. We just made an episode about the whole project. Below are the five gift ideas in the Planet Money holiday basket:Gift #1: Celebrity Food Podcaster Eggnog

Rose Wong for NPR
Eggnog so good you should only make it once a year!
Rose Wong for NPR

Like many other parts of our economy, the market for dairy went haywire during the pandemic. But, at least for now, you can reliably find dairy products again. Dan Pashman, the host of The Sporkful podcast, shared an awesome Eggnog recipe that could add some spice to your gift basket. Dan adapted it from the Joy of Cooking (2006 edition), by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker:

  • 12 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups dark rum
  • 2 cups bourbon (can sub brandy, rye, or whiskey for either liquor but these are the ones I prefer)
  • 2 quarts (64oz) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS: Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl until light in color. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Add the first 2 cups of either liquor very slowly, beating constantly. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour.

Remove from fridge. Beating constantly, add the remaining 2 cups of liquor, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and heavy cream. Refrigerate, covered, for 3 hours or up to a week.

Before serving, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Lightly fold into eggnog. Serve sprinkled with grated nutmeg.

Note from Dan: This makes a lot of eggnog. I typically divide the egg whites in half and bring half of the nog and half the whites to one holiday party, and the other half to another holiday party. Yes, I show up with my own mixer and beat the egg whites on location. It's a great way to get a party started.

Gift #2: An Action Figure That Cuts Out the Supply Chain

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Make your own Micro-Face action figure!
Rose Wong for NPR

Earlier this year, Planet Money discovered a forgotten 1940s superhero named Micro-Face, and we brought him back to life. Okay, so Planet Money's superhero might not be as popular as like Batman or Wolverine or whatever. But some people seem to like him.

We wanted to make a Micro-Face action figure for his fans, but it turned out that was pretty hard, especially with all the production and shipping issues right now. So, instead, we decided to offer you a way to 3D print your own Micro-Face action figure head. You can take the file to a maker space, or wherever has a 3D printer, and just print it out. 3D design credit to Luigi at Antaeus Creations.

Gift #3: A Cash Carol

Instead of sending gifts this holiday season, just send cash! Rose Wong for NPR hide caption

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Rose Wong for NPR

The economist Joel Waldfogel has long argued that the gifts we choose for people are often dumb. This, Waldfogel has found, results in a less than optimal situation for us, them, and the broader economy. There are more efficient ways to give gifts. Gift cards, for example. Cash. But cash doesn't feel that festive, right? So we've commissioned the composer Leo Sidran to write a song that you can sing or gift along with your cash gift. A cash carol.

Cash is King by Leo Sidran, Amanda Sidran, and Sol Sidran

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Gift #4: A Law Treatment

Give the gift of litigation this season! Rose Wong for NPR hide caption

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Rose Wong for NPR

With the shipping fiasco and all, it may be hard to get your hands on hard goods. Wouldn't it be nice to get something made in the good ol' USA? Well, the United States is by and large a service economy. And services don't have to make an overseas trip on a cargo ship.

You've heard about spa treatments. But that's kinda played out. This holiday, how about a law treatment? Lawyers provide all sorts of services that people want. They can draft wills. They can help you close on a home. They can help you sue people you don't like. Give the gift of litigation this holiday season.

Gift #5: A Masket

A way for you to use those old masks you have lying around! Rose Wong for NPR hide caption

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Rose Wong for NPR

Finally, you need something to put all these gifts in. But what should it be? And how should we make it? Maybe with something we have a lot of at this point? Like cloth masks that are worn out or don't fit right. That's it! A basket made of cloth masks. A masket! We got a textiles expert, Carly Kocurek, to design one for us, and she's made a video tutorial on how to make it. You're welcome.