HAVE I GOT A GIFT IDEA FOR YOU…. It’s Dec. 22, which is pretty late in the game for last-minute Christmas shopping. You could rush out and deal with crowded malls and overworked post offices, and hope for the best, or you could a gift that they’re sure to like: a gift subscription to the Washington Monthly.

If you’re a regular reader of the print edition, you know that the Washington Monthly offers cutting-edge reporting and analysis, breaking big stories well ahead of major mainstream outlets.

I’m reminded of this recent piece from the Monthly‘s editor-in-chief, Paul Glastris.

The Monthly has long made a habit of publishing stories that were months or even years ahead of the news, usually for the purpose of sounding alarms about unrecognized problems — alarms which often turned out to be well worth heeding.

A few examples: In 1980, Gregg Easterbrook wrote a cover story explaining that the space shuttle, then under construction, had so many problems — especially its solid rocket boosters and heat-shielding tiles — that it risked being destroyed in flight. Which, alas, happened in 1986 and then again in 2003, for precisely the reasons Easterbrook foresaw. In March of 2003, Nicholas Confessore predicted, rightly, that the imminent U.S. invasion of Iraq would undermine the readiness of our already-overstretched all-volunteer army and lead to falling reenlistments and crushingly burdensome redeployments. A year later, Benjamin Wallace-Wells looked at the supercharged real estate market, the Fed’s loose money policy, and Alan Greenspan’s odd pronouncements about the splendors of adjustable rate mortgages, and predicted that the housing bubble “is likely to burst, and when it does it may very well take the American economy down with it.”

Remember Phil Longman’s legendary piece on the VA’s turn-around? Or Nick Confessore’s breakthrough piece on the Republicans’ K Street Project? Or how about James Verini’s blockbuster on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from earlier this year? This is the kind of journalism readers find in every issue.

I’ve been reading the print edition since college, and would gladly endorse it, even if I didn’t work here. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the holidays, a gift subscription to the Washington Monthly is a great choice.

The first gift subscription is only $26, and each additional gift subscription is $20. To place the order, call toll-free 1-888-238-0047.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.