Welcome to Part 2 of the DISDads Holiday Gift Guide, in which we tackle gifts for around the house. Once again, the links in this article are affiliate links or links to DISDads.com sponsors. Our recommendations are the same, even if you choose to make your purchase from another vendor or without using our links.
1. Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS ($209.95) – The version in the photo is the 464 GS ($159.95). The only real difference between the models is that the GS has a glass carafe and the TS has a stainless steel carafe. This one is a personal recommendation – the TS with the stainless steel carafe is worth the $50. I’ve gone through almost every major grind-and-brew coffee maker on the market over the last couple of decades, and this one is the best (by a fairly wide margin). It offers two major technical advantages over its competitors. First (and perhaps most importantly) it uses a burr grinder. Burr grinding means that the fresh coffee beans are ground more consistently and without being damaged by the friction heat generated by spinning-blade grinding. The advantage of the steel carafe is that the carafe does a good job of holding the coffee at temperature, without adding additional heat via a burner underneath the pot. That burner is the enemy of good-tasting coffee – it causes the first coffee through the brew basket to scald and can give the whole pot a burned taste. If you’re not drip-brewing coffee into a steel carafe, you’ve likely gotten used to the slightly burned flavor such that you don’t even realize its there — until the first time you brew a pot of coffee with good, fresh, beans that ISN’T burnt!
2. Disney 4 Mickey Waffle on a stick mini-waffle maker ($29.99). Sure, we’ve all seen other Mickey Waffle-makers, some of which were probably even less expensive. So why recommend this one? Because everything’s better on a stick!
If being able to make Mickey Waffles at home is good, being able to make Mickey Waffles-on-a-stick at home is GREAT! They’re not just cute to look at. The bargain waffle-makers make waffles that are too thin – they’re all crust, and the ears in particular are prone to burning. This waffle-maker makes nice, thick, Belgian-style waffles with deep grooves (the better to hold syrup). And the non-stick plates generate sufficient heat to get a good, crisp, outer crust.(And it comes with 50 ready-to-use waffle sticks, just to get you started). It makes four mini-waffles at a time.
3. Masterbuilt 2-Door Propane Smoker ($194.92) – From the kitchen to the deck out back. This is a great option for someone interested in getting into smoking meat, without the challenges of managing a wood fire. The smoke is generated by wood chips (and there’s no soaking necessary). Propane is generally cheaper than electricity as an alternative fuel to wood. And perhaps more importantly, propane smokers have a much better track record than electric for long term reliability. (Electric smokers tend to run into issues with their burner elements, especially when they’re stored outdoors). Multiple racks, with easy and direct access to all of them, give you much more flexibility than bullet-type smokers. The 30-inch model in the photo and it’s larger 44-inch cousin both offer a second, bottom, door that gives you access to the wood chip tray and water pan. This allows you to make adjustments to the smoke source without unduly affecting the temperature of the meat. For some reason, the middle-sized 40-inch unit lacks the separate door (so any time you need to make an adjustment to the wood chips or the water pan, you have to open the door for the entire smoker, allowing precious heat to escape).
4. Samsung UN55JS7000 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model) ($997.99) – Let me start by saying that this is definitely a more expensive item than I was planning to put on this lis when I first started compiling it. But the deal on this set is simply too good not to mention. There are some even less expensive 4K TV deals this holiday season, and come of them are decent sets. The hard part is figuring out which ones and for how long. This is the first name-brand TV in this size class and resolution category that I’ve seen for under $1,000. List on this TV is nearly $2,000, so your not likely to find it any cheaper. If space is at a premium, Amazon has the 50-inch version of the pictured TV for $200 less. And if you’ve got room in both the location you want to use it and the budget, the 60-inch version is just $300 more. Oh – and this is a good example of why you need to be careful reading online reviews. There are some highly critical reviews listed with this TV on Amazon – but if you read carefully you’ll see that they’re almost all referring to much earlier TVs, from when 4K technology was in its infancy. They’re really criticisms of the initial implementations of 4K TV technology than they are of the particular TV, and they’re not reviewing a TV with the same technological specs as the ones currently being sold.
5. We’ll wrap up this list by heading back to the kitchen for the VonShef Professional Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker ($159.99). This is a great price on a true self-contained, automatic ice cream maker. It’s more expensive than the Cuisinarts because it’s got it’s own built-in compressor. That means there’s no need to pre-freeze the container for 12 hours or more, and no need to purchase a second container in order to make more than 1.5 quarts of ice cream in one night. Order some Dole Whip mix and you can feed your WDW addiction at will (and even make your own adult Dole Whip floats, with coconut rum and vanilla vodka).
a. None of these products were provided to the writer or DISDads.com for review purposes.
b. The opinions expressed about these gift options are solely our own and we have not been compensated to provide these opinions.