Blog
Stories of Sound
and Sleep:

Rewrap the Gift

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Our holiday traditions around giving and receiving are due for a redux. Here are our tips.

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Sing to Me: The Power of the Human Voice

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s time to warm up those vocal cords. How singing and being sung to have kept us surviving.

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Object Story: The Safety Razor

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Why a 120-year-old razor is still the one you want to use.

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OneClock Reads: Super Normal

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

In Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary designers Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fakasawa draw our attention to the phenomenon of everyday objects.

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Meet the Team: Jamie Kripke's Studio of Life

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Artist, cyclist, skier, and OneClock co-founder, Jamie Kripke brings the same curiosity and creative energy to everything he does.

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Meet the Team: Howie Rubin's Architecture of Experience

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Experiential marketing aficionado Howie Rubin on music, design, clocks, and living life to its fullest by slowing down.

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OneClock / Wake Up Better

  • Jamie

No good clocks were harmed in the making of this film.

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Something About Nothing

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Three books for resisting the attention economy and restoring a mindful life.

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In Your Dreams

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Humans spend several years dreaming, yet this phenomenon remains mysterious in both purpose and meaning.

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Object Lessons

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

What the world of touch teaches and tells us.

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Get Up!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Tune your body and mind with some Valentine’s Day morning sex. Or, why we recommend getting down while waking up.

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Introducing...Captain Planet!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

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OneClock Anthem Video

  • Jamie

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How Do You Sleep at Night?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Your chronotype determines when and how well you sleep, and much about how you feel while awake—but few people know what theirs is, or how to live in harmony with it.

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Jon Natchez on Writing Music for OneClock

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Composer and musician Jon Natchez shares insights and inspirations for OneClock’s initial seven waking tracks.

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A New Way for the New Year

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s that time again! The New Year invites us to set intentions for self-improvement and change. Here’s how you can best prepare for a successful refresh.

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A Guaranteed Audience of One

  • Jamie

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Buy Nothing, Sleep In / Thoughts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

As the Black Friday alarm rings at its early hour, we invite you to make a new ritual of sleeping in. And then, once you wake up? Go sit and have coffee with your mom, dad, kids, neighbor, or dog. Watch the sun travel across the kitchen window. Appreciate. Connect. Make it a thing.

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OneClock // 1 minute waking music samples

  • Jamie

Listen to 60 second samples of the 7 waking compositions that Jon Natchez created for OneClock.

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It’s About Time: The Magic of a Meaningful Morning

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The quiet of morning is beloved by the creative mind. Find out how you can wake up gently, establish a daily ritual, and reclaim the magic of morning with the help of OneClock.

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Fitter, Happier, More Productive?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The near constant use of technology in contemporary life can be overwhelming, affecting our health and relationships. Use a less-is-more approach to find physical, mental, and emotional balance in a world dominated by devices.

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1000 True Fans

  • Jamie

Assorted feedback from the first few OneClock owners.

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Jon Natchez Launch Concert

  • Jamie

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez created some music to celebrate our 2/2 launch.

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Video: Behind the Music

  • Jamie

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Product before price

  • Jamie

We set out to make exactly what we wanted, not what the market wanted. The price is what it is because that’s where the price ended up once we'd designed the clock we wanted.

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The Snooze Button is your Frenemy

  • Jamie

If you find the idea of quitting the Snooze button intimidating, look at it this way: Snoozing does not equal sleeping. Snoozing is a sad, stressful imitation of real sleep.

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Scaring Yourself Awake

  • Jamie

From the adrenal gland’s point of view, there’s no difference between the shock of that blaring alarm and the sight of an incoming tsunami. And why would you want to start your day like that?

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A Brief History of Alarm Clocks

  • Jamie

It seems clear that the need for alarm clocks will never go away. But if the 1787 version of the U.S. Constitution can be amended 27 times, can’t we evolve our alarm clocks, too?

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Threat Vigilance, your Smartphone, and why you can’t sleep

  • Jamie

Many of us use our phones as our alarm clocks. It’s simple and easy and it works. But when you bring your smartphone to bed with you, you’re also bringing that fiendish little source of stress into your bedroom, too.

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Rewrap the Gift

WHAT WE WANT IS FREE

Have you seen the Anna Fusco poster that begins with the phrase “I want…”? It made the rounds on Instagram earlier this year, cumulatively garnering close to 100,000 likes in the four times it was posted. “I want everybody to live very very close,” says Fusco. “I want to borrow. I want to bike over in house shoes for a game of cards on the porch with some tea or a digestif.” The artist goes on to describe a scene of community where there are shared oysters, records, dogs, midnight oil, and “little distinction between what’s mine and yours.” One hundred thousand others agree.

This time of year is laden with wants and wishes, but despite what our shipping lists say, a lot of us only want what Fusco describes: physical proximity and emotional closeness with those we love.

Bump into someone you know during the holiday season, and a list of stressors is sure to be aired in conversation. In each there is a want, and seldom is it for something from a store. Folks feel rushed, stressed, stretched too thin, maybe even just downright unhappy. In those is the want for slowness, rest, fulfillment. The months-long slog of procuring things to decorate, eat, wrap, give, and of course, celebrate, might even have us wanting only for it to be over, to be done.

We want to give and get, and in fact, need to do so in order to build social bonds of belonging with our people. It’s not really about stuff. A gift can show the receiver that they’re seen for who they are, that someone knows and understands them well enough to discern their likes, wants, or needs. Alternately, a gift can reveal something about the giver, revealing an aspect of their personality that they wish to share.

When done well, the act of exchange itself is the gift, benefitting both players. Science shows that the act of receiving spikes dopamine levels while the anticipation of giving activates the part of the brain that links altruism and happiness. In The Question of the Gift, Mark Osteen writes, “a gift is a story, because you’re telling a story about the person you give it to, and a story of how we know each other.”

HO HO WHOA

So why is it that our holiday exchanges have become fraught with unease?

Let’s look at the history. Abundant gift-giving wasn’t always a predominant part of an American Christmas. According to writer Paul Ringel for The Atlantic, materially-ridden holiday traditions rose to tradition in early- to mid-1800s New York. He explains that in the midst of rapid urbanization and population growth, the city’s elites “became increasingly frightened of traditional December rituals of ‘social inversion,’ in which poorer people could demand food and drink from the wealthy and celebrate in the streets.”

In seeking to keep their morally upright families at home and modestly entertained, a group of wealthy men who called themselves Knickerbockers (including Clement Clarke Moore, author of the infamous The Night Before Christmas) “invented a new series of traditions for this time of year that gradually moved Christmas celebrations out of the city’s streets and into its homes.”

Drawing on Dutch traditions, like a visit from St. Nicholas, the Knickerbockers established “a new type of midwinter celebration that integrated home, family, and shopping…and strengthened an emerging bond between Protestantism and consumer capitalism.” In step, the United States’ toy and children’s publishing industries began to soar by the 1820s, and haven’t ever truly slowed.

Class warfare has nary been seen on a holiday wishlist, yet there it is. Seen in that light, it’s no wonder the tradition can feel compulsory, transactional, and heavy with emotional, financial, environmental costs. Assuming that’s not our goal, how can we rewrap our gift-giving?

WHAT TO GIVE?

Give Time

Give time. You can’t put a price tag on quality time. In the culture of hustle and grind, reserving time on your calendar to share with loved ones is kind of the ultimate gift. While we think the Knickerbocker’s motives were dubious, drawing the community into the home for the holidays is one of the best things about the season. Why not get creative with how that might look as a gift to be redeemed year-round? 

Give Experiences

Concert tickets, cooking classes for two, a weekend ski getaway—these kinds of gifts thrill in the moment but also offer something to look forward to after the holiday hubbub has dissipated. Shared experiences are the glue of our primary relationships (which is another reason the global pandemic put a strain on the social fabric). Book some tickets, make some plans!

Give Small

If you are going to give gifts of a material nature—and most of us still will—consider shopping small and/or local. Small businesses provide an unquantifiable vitality to our neighborhoods and need our love this time of year (and always!). Though they might not be able to offer the same extreme price-busting deals that big box stores do, many do offer discounts or special offers on Small Business Saturday.

Give Art

Few things have more presence than a piece of art, and what a lovely gift to give and get. If you’re unsure of the recipient’s taste in art, seek out something small in scale and low impact. Something created by an inspired mind almost always finds appreciation. If the cost of entry into the art world feels unapproachable, take a look at online venues—like Park Life, Uprise Art, or Tappan Collective—for purchasing fine art prints or originals by emerging artists.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, and many sales already underway, we invite you to think about what you really want this holiday season. Do you want only to share oysters with friends on a porch with music twinkling on the breeze? Have that. Or better yet, give that. If the things we want most can’t be bought or sold, what do you genuinely want to give and hope to get?