Who’s the hardest person on your holiday gift list to shop for? Readers sent us descriptions of their tricky recipients, and our staffers brainstormed some custom ideas. Read on for some last-minute inspiration. Got another suggestion for what to give these folks? Send us a note—email@example.com.
She likes Bob's Burgers, Parks and Recreation, and Archer. She wants a puppy but can't have one right now because of the costs, and she doesn't want to ignore the two cats she already has. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and animals, and she loves Future and Drake.
Any gift they’ve loved?
We've only been dating three months, and her birthday has passed. I got her a Li’l Sebastian T-shirt and she loved that, but I know I have to step my game up.
As much as I love Li'l Sebastian (may he rest in peace), you’re right: You should step up your game for the first big holiday you’re celebrating together. I tend to think experiential gifts are the way to go when a relationship is new. What about a date-night cooking class? Since you’re in Boston, check out The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, which offers sessions on tapas and classic French cuisine. Another, pricier option in Boston is Stir ($165-$225 per person), the former home of Top Chef’s Kristen Kish. The January schedule isn’t up yet, but you might be able to squeeze into “Classic Trattoria Cooking” at the end of December.
Youngest of 18 children; his father died when he was 9 years old so my grandfather dropped out of school and began working to support his family. He worked in sugar cane fields and as a police officer, and after bringing his wife and children to the United States, he worked in multiple factories, nearly severing a thumb in a machine accident once. He didn't retire until his 70s. Many of his brothers liked to sing, as does he, but he insists he's no good at singing (which isn't true). He enjoys telling stories about his siblings, he loves watching boxing matches, he doesn't smoke or drink, yet bizarrely, people outside the family would always give him bottles of wine for Christmas for years, so he has a storage of unopened booze in the basement. He has a poodle/terrier mix he rescued named Spike (definitely NOT named by me after a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character).
He cooks and is very, very good at it even though he usually can't eat most of the best things he makes due to recent health issues, and therefore has to have the toned down no-salt option for everything. He does not speak English despite having lived in the U.S. for nearly 50 years and owning a full set of Ingles Sin Barreras tapes for nearly that same amount of time. When I was growing up, my parents didn't speak Spanish at home so I was never able to understand him or communicate with him, which caused some distance between us. I had to learn Spanish in high-school classes; because of this, I didn't learn until I was a teenager how funny my grandpa is and that he really enjoys puns and jokes.
Any gift they’ve loved?
I believe he liked a domino set I purchased for him a couple years ago, although admittedly I've never seen him play it.
Grandpa sounds like a hoot, so an audio comedy extravaganza could tap right into that. He might already know Guedes’s material well, in which case the CDs will be a nostalgic treat. Even if he does, listening to them with you would be a whole new experience. The experiential presents are often the best, especially with older friends and relatives. You can do this one with him from the comfort of the couch, in the kitchen mid-meal prep, or while on a drive around his favorite Chicago haunts. Bonus: Listening with Gramps gives you a chance to work on your Spanish swear vocabulary.
Interests are her teenage boys. One is a senior who will be moving out in August. The other is a sophomore. She likes coffee, and Oprah's Book Club (but wishes she had more time to read). Busy being part of the sandwich generation—taking care of kids and her parents. She dreams of leaving Michigan for somewhere warmer, or at least a vacation to get away and recharge, but can't as it's not affordable now.
Any gift they’ve loved?
Something thoughtful. Pandora beads with a meaning behind them.
A perfect cup of joe is no Hawaiian getaway, but it brings its own kind of warmth and tranquility—especially when spiked with just the right amount of coconut liqueur, and served alongside breakfast in bed. You can tap into your wife’s love of coffee with a monthly subscription from Stumptown or Craft Coffee. For bonus presentation points, pair it with a beautiful copper French press from Bodum (and maybe a mini-bottle of Kahlua). Not only does the coffee subscription offer her a new flavor every 30 days, its monthly arrival can serve as a regular reminder for you and your sons to pamper your wife, so she can unwind with a good book.
She is really into home improvement/interior decorating—every time I visit, she and her husband have changed another room in their house, and it always looks amazing and they do it themselves (except the kitchen). She enjoys science fiction and fantasy books (Orson Scott Card and George R.R. Martin are a couple favorite authors I know of), but has also been known to read young adult fiction like Hunger Games, etc., when she needs something light. She is currently working on her dissertation for a PhD in electrical engineering. She has a two-year-old daughter, and is expecting twin boys, so her life is about to change dramatically.
Any gift they’ve loved?
I got her flannel pajama pants one year and she said loved them so much that I ended up getting her another pair a few years later. This feels pathetic to me because she's such a good gift-giver. When I learned I'd be moving across the country for my husband's job, she got me three handmade luggage tags, each with a map centered on a different place: my hometown, my husband's hometown, and the new town we'd be calling home together. Flannel PJs seem rather silly in comparison, but she said she loved them. I clearly could use some help.
Since your friend’s life is changing dramatically, immersion in something even more dramatic by comparison could actually be grounding. (It reminds one that stranger things can happen.) The podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” rests comfortably in sci-fi, fantasy, and YA fiction, and documents the weird citizens of a weirder town in a desert somewhere in the southwestern United States. It’s frightening, witty, surprising, and energetic, and yet—you could probably meditate to it. (This owes much to the deep, dulcet tones of narrator Cecil Baldwin, but also, one of the story’s themes is that there are lovely, soothing things to be found in a chaotic future. A sample quote: “While the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first, and settles in as the gentle present.”) Since she’ll soon have three small children on her hands, get her a nice pair of comfortable Bluetooth headphones—no cord for the babies to grab—and the audiobook for the just-released novelization of the podcast. Hopefully she’ll feel right at home in Night Vale.
My boyfriend is the hardest person to shop for. He only wears black and gray. He isn't "fashion forward." He likes guns and ammo (but obviously wants to buy them all himself). He doesn't like chocolate or sweets. He doesn't read. He doesn't use hair products and shaves his head. HE'S IMPOSSIBLE! He does, however, like tequila and beer (but his palette is very plain). He likes to work on cars and is a combustion engineer by day. He's an outgoing socialite but also enjoys spending some nights in binge-watching Netflix. He likes humor and action! He occasionally plays Call of Duty to pass the time but by no means is he a "gamer."
Any gift they’ve loved?
Well, I have given him some clothes from Express (in black and gray, of course) and he really seemed to like them. But, boy... how impersonal for someone who is my BEST FRIEND! I guess he likes peanuts and peanut butter and surprise dinners in the crock pot... but doesn't cook often. HELP!
A beer-making kit touches on a few aspects of your description: The engineer in him might enjoy tinkering with recipes and flavor variations that suit his palate. The socialite in him would have a nice accompaniment for hangout sessions with friends, one that pairs nicely with a good Netflix binge or Call of Duty mission. The beer-lover in him would get, um, beer. And there are a few bonuses for you as well: Beer-making night could be a lovely stay-at-home date. Plus, you can choose a gift that matches your budget, from a $36 Mr. Beer deluxe kit to kits as costly as $189.
My dad is the quintessential grumpy old man, and a total redneck in his politics and proclivities. He is a crass, badly dressed, Fox-News-watching, red-meat eater. I used to buy him The Far Side calendar every year and go through it and write him notes, and in the years since it went out of production I've tried to find a worthy substitute, but all have fallen short. He likes baseball, trains (especially model railroads), bluegrass and country music, the occasional beer, Navy memorabilia (he's a Vietnam vet), and things that feed his nostalgia for West Virginia. He is sentimental and likes the unapologetically schmaltzy. He reads a lot of spy novels. He is crazy about animals (especially cats), and they are crazy about him. He worked for the Forest Service for many years and loves all things outdoorsy as well.
Any gift they’ve loved?
He loved The Far Side page-a-day calendar, and he loved a Russian Blue cat that was given to him by his favorite former boss. (He actually wound up getting another cat that looks just like the one that was given to him, and he even gave it the same name, Spooky.)
You ever notice how nobody sends mail anymore? (I am channeling grumpiness in the spirit of your dad). Getting mail at all in this digital world is exciting—getting a carton of meat in the mail even more so. Omaha Steaks will do just that. Depending on your budget, you could recreate the year-long fun of your gift with one of their Steak Clubs—new steaks quarterly, or every month. Or you could do a one-time shipment of some filet mignon (or whatever kind of steak he likes—you can also make your own combo), and cook them together, so the gift includes an experience, too. (By the way, the steaks come packed in dry ice, so for a real experience, put the dry ice in the sink and run some water on it—your kitchen will fill with fog, which is pretty fun. Not that I’ve ever done that.)
This is a tough one. Mom is picky, and she's moving in the next couple of years so she's downsizing "stuff" out of her house—she doesn't want dust-gatherers, knick-knacks, etc., but she wants something tangible from me because we live in different cities, so no tickets, spa days, etc. She doesn't want books, appliances, garden stuff, flowers/arrangements (they're impersonal—you'll see a theme here), or food of any type (she finds gift baskets impersonal). She has all the DVD sets and music she wants. She's weird about other people buying her clothes/scarves, and she finds gift cards impersonal.
She doesn't like Christmas-themed gifts because then you have to put them away immediately. She doesn't like pajamas or robe-type things because she tends to run warm. Her brother usually includes a calendar in his gift package. Her birthday is two days after Christmas and I bought her beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry so I don't want to do jewelry for Christmas also.
She's a great cook and baker, loves classic rock (especially the Beatles and Stones), enjoys the ballet and theater, movies, tea, and wine. She has a ton of loose leaf tea, good kettle, pots, teacups, and mugs. She doesn't drink coffee. She enjoys reading and gardening. She loves her iPad (has a case for it she really likes). She likes trying new kinds of food and restaurants. She has a lot of nostalgia for her blue-collar roots and her self-made present. She's a reading and behavior specialist in an elementary school. She loves the Muppets, Ten Thousand Villages-type stuff, callbacks to her northern Ontario upbringing, and Newfoundland and Ukrainian history of the family. She has fond memories of going to Cuba with me for her 60th birthday. She's thinking about moving to Ontario to be closer to me and the rest of her family sometime in the next couple of years.
Any gift they’ve loved?
Gift subscription to a newspaper she loved at the time but no longer reads; The Thorn Birds and 1980s series Beauty and the Beast on DVD; Waterford Crystal clock; when I digitized her photos and made photo books of major events.
As someone whose mom only wants him to move back home to Texas tonight, get married tomorrow, and have 12 children next week, I understand the perils of shopping for a picky mother. May I humbly suggest, then, the best of all worlds for someone who enjoys gardening and tea: an herbal tea herb garden starter kit. For a paltry $37.99 (plus free shipping!), there’s a mini-greenhouse, soil pellets galore, and 12 kinds of seeds to tend. Once the herbs are all grown, she can pack them in the provided bags, and boil them to her delight. Plus, y’know, bonus tea infuser. The greenhouse is also reusable so once the tea is gone, she can do it all over again. What Stones fan doesn’t love a little tea and sympathy?
Loves: movies, cocktails, cycling, anime, Fallout (video game), physics, Nikolai Tesla (he's an electrical engineer by training, consultant to microchip designers by profession). He loves doing iPhone photography, but I bought him some really nice lenses for that before, and he never uses them. He loves mid-century style and wouldn't mind if his house looked like a Mad Men set and/or his wardrobe did! His favorite comic book writer/illustrator is Alex Ross. He has two children: a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. His favorite color is the deep orangey-red of an intense sunset. He's obsessed with taking photos of sunsets. He makes a lot of money and buys himself anything he wants. (Well, anything that I could actually afford to buy him, anyway!)
Any gift they’ve loved?
His daughter bought him a vest for Christmas last year—a gray suit vest with four buttons and he wears it all the time under his jackets. He loves wearing jackets in winter.
Your boyfriend sounds very visually oriented from your description, so it's not surprising he's an Alex Ross fan. DC Comics publishes its "Absolute" series of high-quality collections of their most popular comic storylines, so I'd suggest getting Absolute Justice. Ross's paintings for Justice are among his finest, and even if he already owns these issues, this collection features them in a larger-than-the-original hardcover that's both more durable and more readable than their first printing.
Retired and wealthy. I am neither. I met my friend because we both enjoyed foxhunting. Now that we are older we no longer ride, but have remained friends for 30 years now. She and her husband moved to Florida 13 years ago to look after her aging parents. While she lived in Michigan she owned a plumbing store. She is generous and helpful to family and friends in need.
Her home is beautifully decorated in a Florida fashion—lots of citrus colors. She enjoys cooking and we have often cooked together. She loves the Food Network. We exchange recipes often—she has all of mine. She golfs and plays bridge, and loves to entertain. I live in Michigan and I visit her at least once a year; she comes up here once a year. When I visited her recently, she rented a limo for us and five of her women friends, and we went shopping and out to dinner. This is an example of what she likes to do for fun. I guess you could say that we are best friends. I love her and I like to show that in the gifts that I give her.
Any gift they’ve loved?
Some of the favorite things I have given her are things for the kitchen such as trays and gadgets. But she really likes it when I send her cookbooks.
Your best friend may live in Florida now, but the way you describe her reminds me so much of what I admire about my dear friends from Michigan. They seem to do everything well—and joyfully. Your friend's enthusiasm for cooking and generosity of spirit calls to mind, too, some of my favorite writers—Nora Ephron, Ruth Reichl—women I always wished I could hang out with, in part because they remind me of my best friends.
Reichl, who has a new cookbook out, talks about how the act of making a meal is its own meditation, something to be savored (almost) as much as the resultant dish. In My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, Reichl catalogues the months she spent cooking and finding joy again, after the magazine she edited, Gourmet, unexpectedly folded.
And you might pair that with an apron—not the kind you put on just to protect what you're wearing underneath, but one that makes creating a meal feel even more festive. I like this one from Anthropologie.
My mother is a catering chef. To survive, she is always on the go and always bubbling with take-action energy. Basically, she's the kind of trigger-pulling creative problem-solver any daughter would want in their lives—until Christmas-shopping season hits. Throughout the year, if she needs something, she buys it herself—quickly. In the past six months, I've culled together what I thought was a smart list of things she's casually declared she needs or wants: a new jacket, The Hobbit movie trilogy, an iPad case, makeup products, new knives. But lo and behold, even before I can let my Amazon page load, she has magically tracked down, purchased and utilized said jacket (it was a nice leather one... I could not have found it myself), makeup products and custom-made knives. Apparently I am "slow."
Any gift they’ve loved?
Yes, anything hobby-related. She creates a miniature "fairyland" in our yard (we are normal) in her spare time and creates jewelry. I've gifted her gemstones and little "fairy cottages," but there's only so many times I can have her unwrap a hunk of citrine or buy a whimsical mushroom home without my mailman thinking I'm a lunatic.
Your mom sounds like she's happiest when she's taking care of things on her own, and she clearly loves a project, so I thought she might like to try soap-making. With this beginner's kit, she can create her own custom-made scented soap, start a new hobby to mystify your mailman, and hopefully take some time out of her busy life for an at-home spa day. (One important note—the ebook included in this kit is in PDF form, so you may want to consider printing it out if your mom is not an e-reader. You can also find a cheaper option here, or a more luxurious one if she's OK with following video instructions.)
He is an iOS app developer and programmer, a low-key graphic artist, an absolute minimalist when it comes to his appearance and the things he owns (which makes buying for him so hard—I don't want give him anything that won't be used or that will create clutter, because that is so not him). He loves the absurd (Turquoise Jeep's elegant work, for example) and the adorable (but they have to be exactly the right aesthetic to evoke pleasure, which is hard to pin down). When he gets a kick out of something he's very loyal to it. In other words, he's not the kind of person to be into something for a moment or for a few days and then forget about it. He knows nothing about pop culture (Drake who?), doesn't give a crap about what people think of him, and is an ardent philosopher. Life, death, right, wrong, what does it all mean?! How do we make it count? Also, he loves the game Eve Online—or “SpaceGame,” as we call it—mostly for its beauty.
Any gift they’ve loved?
I bought him a robe last Christmas—he used to use this small blanket as a shawl/poncho and claimed that it was exactly all he needed to stay warm around the house. So I took a leap and bought him a thick, soft robe, in his favorite dark colors, and now he never wants to take it off.
So he likes games. And the absurd. And minimalism. And designing and building things from scratch using complex code/instruction manuals/drawings. How about this Lego architecture studio? It features more than 1,200 bricks in two shades, which can be used to recreate plans included in a 272-page booklet submitted by leading architects. It’s educational (you can learn the basic fundamentals of architecture), it’s aesthetically pleasing, and it’s Lego, which every single non-Grinch in the world likes to play with. If the $159.99 price tag is a little hefty, perhaps you could pick one of the iconic world building sets also on offer, and help him build a Lego White House ($49.99), or a Lego Seattle Space Needle ($19.95), or a Lego Trevi Fountain ($49.95).
The GOP is in danger of losing an entire system of political control.
I doubted that Mitch McConnell could do it, but he did. With only a week remaining before Election Day, McConnell crammed through the confirmation of a sixth conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. The people who tally such things reckon that Amy Coney Barrett is the first justice since 1869 to receive not a single vote from the minority party in the Senate.
It was a move of raw power. But it was also motivated by raw desperation.
Polls suggest Republicans are facing defeat in the 2020 races, and probably by big margins. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are neck and neck in Georgia and Texas, nobody’s previous idea of swing states. Republican senators are at risk not only in Maine and Colorado, but also in Iowa and even Kansas.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s tell-all book about the first lady is as sordid as it is fascinating.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is one of those patriotic Americans who went to work in the Trump White House, only to come soaring back over the gates, rejected by the host organism. Like many before her, she decided to write a book about her experiences, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady, and she proffers it to us as an act of public service, although possibly also as a comprehensive case for the defense if this whole acid trip ends up at The Hague. She is another member of Plastic Camelot, the ever-changing group of personal friends, celebrities, and weirdos whom the Trumps bring close to them and then, in the manner of bored kings, dispatch to the tombs. Maybe they’re no more disturbing a collection of advisers and jesters than the men and women on whom other presidents have depended. Who’s to say that Omarosa is so much worse than Henry Kissinger? She certainly has a better record on human rights.
When The Office originally aired, its resident fool made for easy comedy. Fifteen years later, it’s hard to watch Dwight without seeing tragedy.
These are boom times for the lolsob. Watching the news, I sometimes find myself staring at the screen, eyes wide, brain broken, not sure whether to laugh or cry. The farce and tragedy tangle so tightly that it can be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. How do you make sense, for example, of a leader who, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, muses about the curative powers of bleach? How do you process a president’s attempt to edit a hurricane with a Sharpie? The words, after a while, stop working. The categories collapse. Many true things have been written about what living under this regime feels like; one of the truest I’ve encountered is a 2017 prediction from the writer Hayes Brown: “This is going to be the dumbest dystopia.”
More than 80 percent of Republicans think the president is doing a great job with the pandemic. Here’s why.
Kurtis, a young accountant in McKinney, Texas, likes the thing that many people hate about Donald Trump: that the president has left the pandemic response almost entirely up to local officials.
“He left it up to each state to make their own decision on how they wanted to proceed,” Kurtis told me recently. Most experts think the absence of a national strategy for tackling the coronavirus has been a disaster. But Kurtis argues that North Dakota, for example, shouldn’t have to follow the same rules as New York City. Kurtis voted for Trump in 2016, and he plans to do so again this year.
Some 82 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s coronavirus response—a higher percentage than before the president was diagnosed with the virus. This is despite the fact that more than 220,000 Americans have died, and virtually every public-health expert, including those who have worked for Republican administrations, says the president has performed abysmally.
Abraham Enriquez speaks with the clarity of a levelheaded TV anchor. The 25-year-old Latino from Lubbock, Texas, was the first in his family to be born in the United States, after his grandparents immigrated from Mexico in the 1980s and brought his then-2-year-old mother with them. He visits his family across the border at least once a year for service trips with his grandparents’ church. When we talked recently about the state of American politics, I recognized the air of authority I had heard in clips of his eponymous web show and his public speeches rallying Latinos in Texas to vote—for Donald Trump.
Enriquez is one of millions of Latinos who will (or already have) cast a ballot for Trump this year. Nearly a third of Latinos routinely vote for Republicans in American elections, and the Trump campaign’s appeals to them show an understanding of their unique worldview, one rooted in deeply held beliefs about individualism, economic opportunity, and traditional social values. Across nationality, class, immigrant experience, and age, Trump-voting Latinos have one thing in common: a different vision from other Latinos of what it means to be American—and they believe their liberal counterparts and the broader public just don’t understand that.
Many Democrats are worried that pollsters are making the same mistakes they did four years ago, but this election is different.
“I want to feel hopeful about Joe Biden’s chances this year, but I just can’t,” my neighbor confessed to me, as we stood in line outside a coffee shop. What had begun as pleasant conversation—dogs, the temperature, clouds—had been pulled, through the vortex known as Late October in an Election Year, into an airing of political anxieties. “I’m still so afraid that 2016 is going to happen again and Trump is going to win,” she said.
Based on the sample size of my life, every Democrat feels this way. Yes, they’ll preface, the polls look all right for Biden. But four years ago, they looked good for Hillary Clinton too. And so, they fear, the horror film of 2016 is about to get its sequel.
There is a small chance that their fears will come true. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been stockpiling all of the quantitative reasons why the 2020 election is really, truly different from 2016, from new polling methodologies to fewer undecided voters. As always, do not allow any level of optimism (or pessimism) to guide your decision to vote. Just vote.
Yesterday afternoon, the “senior administration official” who wrote a prominent anti-Trump New York Times op-ed and book named himself, ripping off his mask to reveal … a face so forgettable, so forgotten, that it was unclear whether the mask had been ripped off at all, or whether he was like the Robert Stack character in Airplane!, dramatically removing his sunglasses to reveal an identical pair of sunglasses underneath. Anonymous is Miles Taylor, a Republican operative who started as chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security in February 2019, five months after publishing his op-ed. He left that position in June 2019 and is now campaigning for Joe Biden. At the time of the op-ed’s publication, Taylor was the DHS deputy chief of staff, and his name did not appear on the DHS leadership page at all. Most people thought the author was more famous, not an unknown appointee but a real grand fromage, perhaps at the level of a Cabinet secretary.
Jared Bernstein says progressives are getting the Democratic nominee all wrong.
Not long after the 2008 election, Jared Bernstein caught a predawn Amtrak train to Wilmington, Delaware, and then schlepped several miles to Joe Biden’s house for a job interview. As Biden walked him into the kitchen, Bernstein spotted a brand-new espresso machine, the kind you might hear squealing away at an overpriced coffee shop. “Want a cup?” Biden asked Bernstein. He reached into a cabinet just above the espresso machine and took out a jar of instant coffee.
“To this day, I think he was testing me,” Bernstein told me. “If I had said, I’m not going to drink that, I probably wouldn’t have got the job.”
Biden’s pointedly lowbrow tastes are part of the case that Bernstein, a labor economist, has been making on behalf of the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. You might think that Biden is some flavorless, middle-of-the-road Democrat, but Bernstein insists that the former vice president is really a populist rabble-rouser with a proven left-wing streak—just like him. “Sometimes people say, Biden’s a moderate,” he said. “But I don’t know any moderates who have been that closely linked to the labor movement for their whole political career.”
Why the grandiose promises of multilevel marketing and QAnon conspiracy theories go hand in hand
Jordan Schrandt—blond, beautiful, mother of eight, founder of The Farmhouse Movement magazine, which teaches readers how to achieve “a lifestyle of authenticity, simplicity, and kindness”—is a Royal Crown Diamond.
Less than 1 percent of the independent distributors who sell essential oils and related products through the Utah-based multilevel-marketing company Young Living reach that top ranking. Those who have net an average annual income of $1.5 million and resemble celebrities within the organization, counting tens of thousands of followers on social media. Their success sometimes even allows them to charge for access to advice on how to become more like them—a private Facebook group for business coaching from Schrandt costs $10 a month, and the cheapest single ticket for a recent “Diamond Bound” conference she hosted in Dallas was $309.
In the 1930s, the Germans were fascinated by the global leader in codified racism—the United States.
There was no more extravagant site for Third Reich political theater than the spectacular parade grounds, two large stadiums, and congress hall in Nuremberg, a project masterminded by Albert Speer. From 1933 to 1938, he choreographed massive rallies associated with the annual conference of the Nazi Party, assemblies made famous by Leni Riefenstahl’s stunning documentaries of 1933 and 1935, The Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will. Nuremberg was the setting for the September 1935 “Party Rally of Freedom,” at which a special session of the Reichstag passed, by acclamation, legislation that disqualified Jews as Reich citizens with political rights, forbade them to marry or have sex with persons identified as racial Germans, and prohibited any display by Jews of national colors or the new national flag, a banner with a swastika.