The trees have lost their beautiful fall foliage, the days grow shorter and icier, and our pants have gotten tighter from all of the pie that we ate at Thanksgiving. All of this can mean only one thing: it’s officially the holiday season! It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. There are always those people who are just impossible to shop for, and data viz lovers are no exception. To help with the dilemma, we’ve compiled a collection of what we think data and visualization fans would most like to receive. Grab a mug of steaming hot chocolate and get ready to shop!
I know, I know. Books are on every gift guide, but hear me out. 2016 saw the release of some incredible publications on topics such as daily data visualizations, how to pick the right chart for your data, and becoming a more persuasive speaker, just to name a few. These books are not just informative and interesting, they have also most likely been in your data viz enthusiast’s Amazon cart for some time. So while books may not be the flashiest gift, they're something that the people on your list truly want. Here are some of our favorites:
Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks by Jonathan Schwabish
Data at Work: Best practices for creating effective charts and information graphics in Microsoft Excel by Jorge Camões
Data Visualisation: A Handbook for Data-Driven Design by Andy Kirk
Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
Effective Data Visualization: The Right Chart for the Right Data by Stephanie D.H. Evergreen
Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations by Scott Berinato
Illuminate: Ignite Change through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols by Nancy Duarte
The Truthful Art by Alberto Cairo
Data Fluency: Empowering Your Organization with Effective Communication by Zach and Chris Gemignani
Prints & Posters
What could be a better gift for someone that loves data and visualization than an actual data visualization? And with so many options, you can easily match it to other interests and hobbies. Political junkies can enjoy visual histories of the Republican and Democratic parties available over at Timeplots. Your friend that happy-cried when the Cubs won the World Series can remember it forever with Chartball’s visualization of the 2016 season. And for everything else, there’s Popchart Lab. They have an incredible amount of visualizations ranging from a charted cheese wheel on an actual cheese platter, to all the varieties of beer, to a chart about nothing.
Wearable technology that provides personalized data and information? Sign us up! Fitbit recently released the Charge 2, which not only tracks daily activity and sleep but also measures how your cardio health compares to people similar to you. An option for someone who may not want an attention-drawing wearable on their wrist is the jewelry from Ringly. Ringly offers rings and bracelets that track similar activities as the Fitbit (such as calories burned, steps, and floors climbed), but also syncs with your phone and sends app notifications. And who says data products are only for people? Let Fido in on the action and check out Nuzzle. Though currently only available for pre-order, Nuzzle is a smart pet collar that ensures that if your pet ever gets lost or sick, you’ll know. It uses GPS and temperature monitoring so that you can check in on your pets from your phone and see how they’re doing throughout the day.
There are two very useful card sets that debuted in 2016 that would both make great gifts. The first is the Data Visualization Chart Chooser Cards, a Kickstarter that quickly gained momentum not long ago. Similar to Juice’s own Chart Chooser, the cards help the user to select which chart is best for displaying and communicating specific data. The other card set that would make a great gift is the pretty and practical set of Graphic Continuum flash cards from Severino and Jonathan Schwabish.
A few months back, Alberto Cairo demonstrated the importance of visualizing data before putting your blind trust in summary statistics with the Datasaurus. The tweet quickly gained popularity, and thanks to the power of the Internet you can now get the Datasaurus on t-shirts, mugs, pillows, and phone cases. Fashion meets function meets data viz, and something that the data nerd in your life will think is a hoot.
Subscriptions & Donations
Perhaps one of the best gifts you can give the data and visualization lover in your life is a subscription to a news source that routinely produces impeccable graphics and charts. Outlets such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Guardian are all great options for someone looking for timely data visualizations. If the person already has a subscription to one (or all) of these, consider giving the gift that keeps on giving and make a donation in the recipient’s name to ProPublica.
Did we miss your favorite data-themed gift to give? Let us know! Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, have a happy holiday season!