2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the 2020 OT Uncorked Holiday Gift Guide! 

If you listen to the OT Uncorked podcast, then you know that two of my favorite things (other than OT) are BOOKS and WINE. In each episode, I uncork a bottle of wine and ask for book recommendations from my guests so I can build up my own book wish list.

This holiday season, I compiled a list of my top 5 favorite wine products and top 5 favorite reads from 2020 – some recommended by podcast guests, others from The OT Bookclub, which I co-host, and others from yours truly – to give you some inspiration for those people on your list who are also book and wine lovers. Enjoy! 

Disclosure: Any product marked with an * is an affiliate link, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Making a purchase through these links is a great way to support OT Uncorked without spending any extra money. All recommendations and descriptions are my own unless otherwise quoted. 

1. When Breath Becomes Air*

by Paul Kalanithi, M.D.

This must-read comes highly recommended from OT Uncorked guests Becky Piazza, OTD, MS, OTR/L, BCPR (Episode 12) and Caitlin Clark (Episode 15)

It’s at the top of my reading list for 2021 and will be the featured book for The OT Bookclub‘s January meeting. Follow us on Instagram for details on how to join our discussion.

Summary: “At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.”

2. Ready. Set. Treat. The Official Pocket Guide to Starting Your Solo Private Practice*

by Susie Curtis and Kristen Goodrich

Have you ever thought about starting your own therapy practice? Amanda Wiles (Episode 25) of Pediatric Therapy Partners recommends this pocket guide to all aspiring entrepreneurs.

Summary: “A fool-proof plan for beginners to launch a solo private practice with minimal financial investment or risk. We’ll be in your back pocket the whole way through, cheering you on and advising you at each step. Our guide is intended for solo licensed clinicians who are just beginning on their private practice journey”

3. Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine*

by Damon Tweedy, M.D.

Featured as the July book for The OT Bookclub, this memoir opened my eyes in new ways to the health disparities experienced by Black Americans and systemic problems that are truly life or death. Dr. Tweedy shares his own stories as a Black med student then physician. As an OT, this book helped me understand some of the ways our well-intentioned practices may be part of the problem and how we can better support underserved members of our community.

“[A] heartfelt account… Black Man in a White Coat is a commentary on challenges and lessons [Dr. Tweedy has] encountered as a physician of color, offering first-hand truths about the medical issues and racial divides in health care plaguing our community.” ―Ebony

4. Deep Work (Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)*

by Cal Newport

I finished this book at the start of quarantine and it couldn’t have been more timely! I struggled to focus as I worked from home because of the constant barrage of COVID-19 news updates and endless house chores. This book has practical strategies and would be an amazing gift for anyone who wants to have more focused, intentional work time.  

Summary: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.”

5. Where'd You Go, Bernadette*

by Maria Semple

Confession: there is absolutely no reason this should be on an occupational therapy holiday gift guide. But, it’s 2020 and we all need a good laugh! So, I present the funniest book I have read this year. This “dramedy” had me laughing hysterically while I drove (I listened on audiobook, don’t worry) and receiving strange looks from other drivers. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, suspenseful, and surprisingly deep, too. Who says you can’t have it all?  

Summary: ‘Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette vanishes… To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence — creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.”

1. Aervana’s Touch Luxury Wine Aerator*

$99.95

Guests on the show have told me they think I’m a wine connoisseur. Really, I’m just a girl who loves wine and is ballin’ on a budget! I love this wine aerator because it makes the most of any glass of wine (even the $5 finds!). Aerators force wine to interact with air, which accelerates oxidation and enhances the flavor. This one fits right into the bottle, doubling as a stopper. With the press of a button, you can fill your glass with freshly aerated wine. Everyone in my family has one of these and we use it at every meal – definitely worth the price!    

2. Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend

Avg $13.99

You may recognize this favorite of mine from Episode 21 of OT Uncorked (Happy Hour Listener Q&A). I chose this wine in celebration of my recent marriage to my Crush in July 2020. Easy to drink, and always a crowd favorite, you can’t go wrong gifting any of the Dreaming Tree wines  

3. 2016 Sangiovese from Castello di Amorosa

$35

I enjoyed this fruity Italian wine on Episode 19 and in person when I visited the Castello di Amorosa Winery in Napa Valley in March of 2020. This wine is only available directly from the winery, so it’s the perfect gift for the wine lover that has tried it all. 

4. Flora and Stone Gewürztraminer

Avg $3.50

I mixed up my usual wine choice in Episode 22 about Forensic Mental Health OT with Karena Skibinski by trying this Gewürztraminer. This fruity and floral wine is distributed by ALDI. It’s sweet and refreshing and an incredible value! For $3.50, it’s hard to beat. 

5. Second Voyage Cabernet Sauvignon

Avg $11

I drank a glass of this wine alongside Kathleen Davidson in Episode 14 as we talked about her “Second Voyage” in life as an OT. Before she became an OT, she was a professional dancer, which has influenced how she sees and understands movement. This medium bodied red is good value, has subtle flavor movement and is sure to please the red wine lover in your life.