It’s the HOLLLIDDAYYS! Imagine I said that in Oprah “YOU GET A CAR!” voice. Because the holidays mean that it’s time for Oprah’s Favorite Things list. It was released on Nov. 2 on Amazon. You can view it in all its glory here. It is full of the most ridiculous and indulgent necessities to make the life of a person like Oprah, who has no real problems, even better.
As we’ve come to expect from these lists over the years (this is her 20th anniversary of doing the list), this is mostly not meant for your average person. (There are some budget items if you want to be able to say you purchased something from Oprah’s Favorite Things list, but jump on that quickly. Some items are already sold out.) Let’s explore!
If you click on the link, you’ll get the “all” view, by default. What I’d like to point out is that the first item available is Oprah’s own recently published book The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. Oprah is worth approximately a hundred billion dollars, by my completely made-up calculations. (Actually, $3 billion.) But she has a book to sell you! At the top of her list!
The book is, apparently, full of her patented “ah-ha” moments. It’s a reasonable get, at $14.99 on Kindle. However, I would pass on it. Last year, I had a subscription to her O magazine, which she graces the cover of every month, in poses that no real person would ever do. (I loved this summer’s “casually eating corn against a wall, hat slightly askance,” in particular.) She has the editor’s letter to start the mag and closes with her insight as well, on the last page. I have never found these two pieces in the magazine to be particularly illuminating. And more to the point I’ve found the caliber of the writing, mmm, lacking. (Because someone writing reviews of her list on the internet is clearly an expert in good writing.) So let’s spend that $14.99 elsewhere.
Maybe we can spend it by clicking on these comfy-looking track pants. Except no! Because while they ARE comfy track pants, they cost $178. LOL WHAT?! For breakaway track pants? Like the $40 Adidas pair I had in undergrad? O, sweetie, what are you smoking? Because it must be really good and profitable if you can afford $178 breakaway track pants. We could get these slightly less expensive sweat pants. They only clock in at $132.
To be clear, we do not peruse Oprah’s list to find reasonable items for purchase. But some of this stuff is just TOO MUCH.
Like this $1,500 “commuter bike.” There are plenty of cruiser bikes available on Amazon in the $100-200 range. But apparently they aren’t the “monochromatic masterpiece, a work of art that truly moves you,” as the copy says on the commuter bike. So if you are in the need of such artwork, O has you covered. (Other than a TV, the bike is the most expensive item on the list. According to E!, the entire list clocks in at $12,200, with applied discounts.)
If you would like to horrify anyone in your family with basic understanding of how to make a fire, you can buy them this $120 crock full of “fatwood.” Yes, those are words I just typed. $120 crock of… kindling. No, I did not make this up. It is actually there. For sale on Amazon. God bless the one-star review on this item, the only reviewer at the time, who is out to save you $108:
“You can get more fatwood for $2 and a similar crock for maybe $10 on its own.”
I had no intention of making fun of these reasonably priced serving trays on the list… until I read the product description pointing out they weren’t ceramic, as I had assumed, but melamine. $52 for a melamine serving tray is highway robbery. Your local Target will have them for much more reasonable prices. Oprah suggests hers for “dining on the patio.” Oprah often seems to need a reminder that we are not all Oprah, with multiple patios to eat on.
If any of you wear this white faux fur $125 “explorer’s hat” out in public, I’m making fun of you. Mostly because nothing is more of a magnet for dirt than a white faux fur winter hat.
Oprah is a bit of a foodie, which I appreciate. I like food too, Oprah! We have that in common! Let’s be besties! Except… maybe I’m not on Oprah’s level, with a trio of $59 sea salts. And the copy on it — Good lord, the copy:
I took the truffle and rosemary sea salt out of my bag at a restaurant, and the waiter asked, “You travel with that?” I said, “Do you have it here?” It wouldn’t be Favorite Things without truffles!
Oprah, who is not eating at the local Chili’s, TOOK OUT HER OWN SEA SALT and then sassed the waiter with “WELL YOU DON’T HAVE IT HERE!” I am dead. Just… dead. Can you imagine? She probably did it at French Laundry. Imagine having 1/10th the hutzpah of Oprah. I certainly don’t.
Now, these prices aren’t astronomical or unattainable, certainly. But for what they are? You’re paying a premium for the O seal of approval. $65 for 12 cookies has me thinking I’m in the wrong line of work and should up my baking game, becoming another tale of lawyer turned baker. (It’s only slightly less ubiquitous than lawyer turned sports blogger.)
Oprah is the kind of person who uses specific drinking vessels for specific purposes and doesn’t rely on a red solo cup or a single trusty mug, so her list is littered with these items. In particular I was drawn to her $185 vodka serving set. An oak paddle holder for an ice bucket and 12 shot glasses. I bet beer pong at Oprah’s pad is FANCY. And her pad also has lots of storage space with places to keep your 14-piece vodka serving set. Although the link to purchase says this is suitable for “everyday living,” so maybe you don’t need storage. If you’re living where a set of 12 shot glasses and vodka bucket are “everyday,” you are, as Matthew McConaughey says, L-I-V-I-N.
Oprah, however, like your common person, sometimes packs her own lunch. I can see that. Eating out all the time is not Weight Watchers friendly. (She’s a spokesperson.) Unlike you, Oprah is using a $69 (nice) lunch box to transport her perfectly portioned food. This one I object to mightily, not just because it’s absurd for your everyday sad desk salad, but because it’s not insulated. This means you a) have to find space in the work fridge or b) have to buy a separate insulated container to carry your already-expensive lunchbox. No.
Because you’re not rich enough to eat at the kind of four star restaurants where Oprah is pulling out her own sea salt, you can instead buy candles that evoke such places. At $62 each, or $214 for the set of four, you can know what it SMELLS like to be at chef Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I live in wine country, near three of the four candle scent inspirations. Maybe I should drive by his restaurants and bag the air to sell. That’s gotta be worth at least $20 a bag, right?
Now that we’ve discussed all the ostentatious items on Oprah’s list, let’s hit up some of the more reasonable gets:
If you’re into frozen treats, the $50 frozen sorbet maker seems like it would be worth your time. I’m certainly intrigued. Throw some bulk purchased mixed berries (not the $70 blueberries) to get quickly-made sorbet for a healthy dessert. And it’s certainly a better call than when Oprah gave her A Wrinkle In Time cast Juiceros, a company that doesn’t even exist anymore, because they were charlatans selling overpriced bag pressing machines. Not juicers, bag pressing machines. For $600 each. I mean…
Having a pair of sunglasses that are inexpensive, but not cheap is also another great buy. You feel a lot less guilty when you lose them in the surf, for example — no reason I’d mention that — but don’t feel like you’re on spring break they’re so cheap and disposable. O has these classic-style Peepers available for $22.
I made light earlier of Oprah’s penchant for glasses (drinking variety) on this list, but the next two “should buy” items are of that category and make a lot of sense. If you have someone in your life, maybe a brother, who could use some classier glassware for his post-grad life, these durable stoneware mugs at $48 for a set of four and available in a variety of colors are a good choice. Oprah, speaking directly to the white wine drinking set who buy her mag, also offers up the Corkcicle stemless wine cup in a variety of colors. It’s the girly Yeti. Your sister will love it.
If you have a mom-type in your life with a penchant for statement jewelry (and that’s precisely who this entire Favorite Things list is aimed at), they need a classy place to store all those pieces. The ring holder you made as a kindergartner in ceramics class is not it. This $60 stackable, lockable jewelry box is a practical, but genuinely thoughtful gift for the most MOM mom you know.
My final choice is maybe a bit more out there, and maybe not the most judicious use of your funds, but Christmas gift giving is not for sheer practicality. So if you have a wacky aunt, she might appreciate these $59 furry slides. Oprah’s note on them says that people are wearing them out. As always, Oprah does not run in the same circles that us normal folks run in. Don’t wear these in public.
I appreciate Oprah’s dedication to her list, and the bump it can give to smaller businesses. She does offer some reasonable choices among $105 t-shirts and $200 remote controlled dog toys. This list certainly isn’t for everyone, but there are some gems in there that would make good gifts. Literally. Maybe it will give you an idea for a great gift for someone you love. And that may be the thing Oprah would be most proud of her list doing: creating more shared love. We could write down how much we appreciate this shared love on a note and put it in our $45 gratitude jar.