Here’s your 2022 gift guide. Stick around for my magic recommendations towards the end of the list. My Mom will never let me live down the time as a kid when I asked her to buy me a £2 coin for £40 from a magic shop. Of course, it was, in fact, a special handmade ‘coin unique’ gimmick — but I couldn’t tell her that; it would ruin the trick.
1. Muji Suitcase Set: I wrote on a magic show in China when I was twenty-one. I recall being in awe of how organised the magician Patrick Kun was. He had all the gear, and I was incredibly jealous. I took the first paycheck from the show and bought the Muji carry-on and hold luggage. It’s the best money I have ever spent.
2. AllBirds Tree Runners: Magic creator extraordinaire Jeff Prace turned me onto AllBirds via a lovely discount code several years ago (Preston Nyman had been banging on about them for a while too). They’re brilliant and are all I wear nowadays.
3. Apple World Travel Adapter Kit: Something else I discovered via Patrick Kun. Apple sells a surprisingly affordable kit packed with every travel plug you need, compatible with your existing apple charging sockets. Money well spent.
1. Lumina AI Powered Webcam: I started taking virtual magic consultancy calls during the pandemic. I soon realised that if I was charging for video calls, I needed good audio and sound. I bought the simple and affordable Lumina: the world’s first AI-powered webcam. It worked so well that I ended up investing in the company, Lumina. My affiliate code ‘rory’ will save you 10% today.
2. Gerber Multitool: There is a deep rivalry between TV magic consultants. There are those who use a Gerber multitool and those who rely on a Leatherman. I find myself in the camp that relies upon a Gerber. Choose which side you fall into wisely.
3. Field Notes: My Dynamo notes were once stolen from our production manager’s car. It was surprisingly stressful — the production’s insurers had to be notified in case details from the notebooks were leaked and the show was financially impacted. Since then, my notes have been messy and near impossible to read. These small notebooks make for a great small gift.
1. Cook This Book by Molly Baz: I’m in love with Molly Baz — that’s it, really. Plus, I love a good cookbook. Some other notable simple cookbooks are 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver and Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer.
2. Andy Nyman’s Golden Rules of Acting: Andy Nyman is known in our industry as the award-winning co-writer, and co-director of some of the best Derren Brown live theatre shows. He’s also a talented actor, and his pocketbook on acting has many transferable rules for performing magicians and mentalists.
3. Essentialism by Greg McKeown: Multiple industry-name magicians recommended this book to me. I’ve since recommended it to others, and now I’m recommending it to you. It’s my business book of the year, but it’s very much about life, too.
1. Glossier Cleanser Concentrate: This cleanser worked wonders for me, and I use it daily. When I think about products I love that I ask for for Christmas — this one is always on the list.
2. Literally Any Water Bottle: Everyone deserves to be hydrated, and a water bottle is an easy gift to ask for or give. I bought myself a cheap flask from Target that’s travelled with me this year.
3. Underwater Headphones: that’s right — underwater headphones. If you’re a swimmer like me, listening to a podcast will automatically make you happier swimming for twice as long each day. I’ve only bought cheap non-Bluetooth in-ear ones that work well enough for me.
1. BoxONE from Neil Patrick Harris: I helped write the gameplay for this brilliant escape room-themed game. When we started working on it, we were cautiously optimistic about the demand for a single-player board game. Then the pandemic happened, and it was released during a lockdown. The game was a hit.
2. Codenames Game: When I was hired to work on BoxONE, I was sent a few hundred dollars to buy a boatload of games for research. Neil was keen for me to play Codenames. The game is brilliant and was even recommended by Andrew Garfield last week in a GQ video.
3. YOT Puzzle from Art Of Play: I’m a big puzzle fan. Here’s one of my favourites I discovered at Dan & Dave Buck’s Art Of Play store in San Diego. It’s part puzzle, part magic trick, and the secret is so smart you’ll kick yourself.
1. Miracle One by Christian Grace: By chance, I managed to see my friend Christian Grace's lecture in Bath, U.K., last week. He shared with a small number of us the secret to his latest release, and it’s wonderful. His magic is overflowing with subtlety and almost always sightless. You can also use code ‘magic10’ today for a lifetime 10% discount on his great magic membership (affiliate link).
2. One Ahead Gift Access: You can actually gift magician friends one month or twelve months of access to the One Ahead magic newsletter. You can even schedule the gift to arrive on a specific day. It makes for an easy digital gift and something to share and discuss weekly. Plus, I’m currently running a 50% discount on gifts. Gifts are non-recurring, so a 12-month gift will automatically end after the year.
3. Penrose Pendant from Plainsight: Jeff Prace is back with a second shoutout in this guide. His magic products are all built into normal-looking items. This means that his Penrose Pendant makes for a brilliant gift. Family, partners and friends can happily gift you this well-priced necklace with the bonus that it holds a magic secret. The newest batch went live yesterday, and I would not be surprised if they are sold out by the time you go to buy one.
Some honorary mentions go to Art of Play’s Mystery Decks, theory11’s Variety Box, and Lloyd Barnes’ new Society of Secrets membership. I also recently bought my two-year-old nephew ‘snakes in a can’ and it went down brilliantly!