Playa gifts 2019 edition

It’s that time of year again when I start planning my playa gift.

Gifting is one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man and I must say, it’s one of my favorites along with Radical Inclusion.

Basically, the premise is that no money is exchanged at Burning Man.

No trading/bartering either.

Instead, everything is gifted from one person to another.

It’s such a lovely tradition.

One year, I was gifted a white LED flower crown from a bride because I complimented her on it.

She took it off and gave it to me, just like that.

In 2015, I gifted organic mint SPF30 chapstick.

Lesson learned: DO NOT put the year on your label because leftovers will be outdated.

I have a box of chapstick in my garage now that I’ll never use up.

In 2016, I gifted pendants that I made out of washers.

Pretty, but oh so heavy.

In 2017, I had a GENIUS idea to gift credit card sized beer bottle openers with the Burning Man logo:

What can I say about this gift?

It was brilliant!

In 2018, I gifted glass pendant necklaces which were very popular.

Possibly the most popular gift I’ve ever given.

This year however, I am struggling to come up with an idea.

I could sew something, since I like to sew.

But what to sew that’s useful for everyone?

I could also revisit my glass pendants since I really liked working with glass.

Quite frankly, I’m a little lost at the moment and brainstorming is getting me nowhere.

Help?

What awesome gifts have you encountered on the playa?

Playa gifts

One of the ten principles of Burning Man is gifting.

ANYONE who knows ANYTHING about me knows that I LOVE to give gifts.

So this is right up my alley.

In 2015, I gifted SPF 30 organic mint chapstick.

In 2016, I gifted colorful necklaces I made out of metal washer with an epoxy coating.

This year, I’m giving away something I ordered and had laser engraved with the Burning Man logo. . .

. . .a credit card sized bottle opener.

It just struck me as being something VERY USEFUL and clever.

I ordered ball chain necklaces so I can give them away to people to wear, if they’d like to.

The only thing I hadn’t counted on?

How fricking HEAVY 100 of these puppies would be to bring to Burning Man with me.

I swear, the box weighs 20 pounds!

Things you forget to bring when fishing

  1. Chapstick.  Thanks to the wind and the sun, I now have chapped lips.
  2.  Hats.  I brought a beanie to keep warm.  Turns out that staying warm was less of a problem than keeping cool.  And what you really need is a hat with a brim to keep the sun out of your eyes.
  3.  Sunglasses.  Fuck, it was HOT and SUNNY out there on the water.  I was anticipating overcast skies and cool temperatures.  Boy, was I wrong.  I think I burned the backs of my eyeballs.
  4.  Anti-anxiety medication.  I was once on a boat that was sinking.  The captain couldn’t get the pump to start and we were taking on water.  So I always stress when I’m on a boat.  This time around, I clenched my jaw so hard that I feel like I’ve given a thousand blow jobs.  That’s how sore my jaw is right now.
  5.  Sunblock.  This one is a no brainer, but as it turns out, it is rather SUNNY out there on the water and if you don’t reapply sunblock you could wind up with a really wonky sunburned face, just like me.
  6.  Coolers/Ice.  For your catch.  Another no brainer but all three of us who drove up from the south bay forgot to bring a cooler for our fish.
  7.  Cough drops.  Because you’ve got that horrible post viral cough that won’t go away and when you’re on a fishing boat, gagging because you’re coughing too hard is interpreted as gagging because you’re about to be seasick.  Very undignified.
  8.  Gloves.  It’s freezing cold in the morning and ALL OF US forgot gloves.  Crazy, I know!
  9.  Beer.  None of us brought beer, which is sort of a requirement for fishing.  Makes the hours of waiting for a nibble more tolerable.  Mental note:  next time, bring beer.
  10. Water.  It’s DEHYDRATING out there on the water.  And I didn’t bring ANY water.  What was I thinking?

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Playa magic

KissPeople say things manifest themselves at Burning Man.

Who am I to disagree?

I have my own manifestation story:

I was riding my bike with Tejas on the playa when I came across a group of people standing in front of an art piece.

A beautiful woman was holding her chapstick and rubbing it on all her companions’ lips.

I reached into my backpack and grabbed a handful of chapsticks, my playa gift.

I slowly walked up to them.

“Can you use these?” I asked.

They were so thrilled! They ooohed and aaahed over the simple gift.

They all embraced me and thanked me, each taking a chapstick, opening it, and using it.

The beautiful woman was so happy she came up to me and said, “This is Philosophy chapstick. It is THE BEST chapstick,” and she rubbed it on my lips.

Then she kissed me.

Then she kissed Tejas.

Then we rode off.

I’m telling you, that one encounter was the highlight of my week at Burning Man – to be a part of that special magic that only happens on the playa.

To help these people manifest some much needed chapstick.

Sure, you could say it was just me being in the right place at the right time.

But I prefer to think of it as playa magic.

Playa magic

KissPeople say things manifest themselves at Burning Man.

Who am I to disagree?

I have my own manifestation story:

I was riding my bike with Tejas on the playa when I came across a group of people standing in front of an art piece.

A beautiful woman was holding her chapstick and rubbing it on all her companions’ lips.

I reached into my backpack and grabbed a handful of chapsticks, my playa gift.

I slowly walked up to them.

“Can you use these?” I asked.

They were so thrilled! They ooohed and aaahed over the simple gift.

They all embraced me and thanked me, each taking a chapstick, opening it, and using it.

The beautiful woman was so happy she came up to me and said, “This is Philosophy chapstick. It is THE BEST chapstick,” and she rubbed it on my lips.

Then she kissed me.

Then she kissed Tejas.

Then we rode off.

I’m telling you, that one encounter was the highlight of my week at Burning Man – to be a part of that special magic that only happens on the playa.

To help these people manifest some much needed chapstick.

Sure, you could say it was just me being in the right place at the right time.

But I prefer to think of it as playa magic.

How I f*cked up twice before I got it right…

There is a tradition, when you go to Burning Man, to give away gifts to people. It’s not a barter or a trade, it’s a gift.

Very early on, I was all over this gifting community. At first, I thought it would be a good idea to give away glow in the dark bracelets. I purchased about 500 of them only to realize a few months down the line that they were too MOOPY (and cheesy) to give away.

Back to the drawing board.

My next plan was to give away absinthe lollipops. Some MOOP factor, but not too bad. So I bought a bunch of lollipops only to realize that in order to give away food at Burning Man you have to have a permit. Sigh.*

Finally, I hit on my current gift – organic SPF 30 chapstick, with a Burning Man logo on it.

SPF 30 Mint Template RightIt might not be the most original, but it’s useful. And it’s not MOOPY. And I don’t need a permit to hand them out.

So, just to be prepared, now that I’m giving away chapstick at Burning Man, I’ll be throwing a glow in the dark bracelet party where I hand out Absinthe lollipops.

I’m calling it my Glow-in-the-pop party or maybe my Absinthe Glow party.

I’ve got to get rid of all this swag!

 

* Later on I discovered that this wouldn’t apply to pre-packaged, individually wrapped, temperature stable food items, but it was already too late, I’d moved on to the next greatest thing.