With the holidays approaching, the idea of gifting the nerd in your family can be intimidating. Most of us just panic and get them either a gift card to Applebees or Cold Mountain. In our Jetsonian, tech-savvy culture however, gift-buying shouldn’t be a chore. Many sites even break down gifts for him and her. You may even find some things you want to get for yourself.
1. First are the obvious: video games. At 60 bucks a pop, your pimply squeeze will be grateful it didn’t come out of his wallet, especially if there are multiple titles he has his eye on. But how can you really get more bang for your buck and ensure that your giftee gets the hours and hours of gameplay required to never have a social life again? I’ve personally made the mistake of dropping money on a new game for my boyfriend, only to have him sit and play the whole thing over a weekend. At that rate, you may as well have just rented it and saved about a billion dollars.
November was a big month for game releases, and I mean big, epic games that really get the nerd teeth gnashing with anticipation. I’m talking about titles like Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Modern Warfare 3, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Revenge. Buy any one or three of these and your boo is sure to be busy for many months to come. And, if only because I really want it, I recommend the Skyrim Official Gamer’s Guide: a hefty work of fantasy nerd literature that allows your loved one additional enjoyment away from the console (read: on the toilet.)
2. For the culinary-inclined geeks amongst us, there are a variety of fun gifts and stocking stuffers to be found. For example, scientifically labeled salt and pepper shakers (e.g: Na Cl), as well as ones shaped like robots or old-fashioned Space Invaders aliens. A geek cuisine must-have is the pizza cutter shaped like the Starship Enterprise, and ice cube trays shaped like little pi symbols or Tetris blocks. Just as cool are the sets of chopsticks shaped like lightsabers or Samurai swords. You can eat meals out of square bowls shaped and designed to look like the “Ctrl” “Alt” and “Del” keys of a keyboard (just don’t hit them twice in a row.) I myself am the proud owner of the Wookie Cookie Cookbook, and I also recommend Jeff Potter’s Cooking For Geeks. And, though your boyfriend may never wear it, he may appreciate if you wear a “The Spice Must Flow” apron (hopefully while bringing him a sandwich.)
3. Geeks and nerds are characterized as never leaving their computers. If that’s the case, why not help them spruce it up? Buying prints of pop culture illustrations from sites like RedBubble add a unique flair to even older, broader franchises like Zelda and Star Wars. Art blogs like Rowsdowr.com are a great way to browse contemporary artists’ nerdy fan art and link to where you can buy them.
Do some stealthy research about your geek’s favorite games or shows and buy action figures for them to adorn their monitors with. Flash drives are not only handy geek essentials but are made to resemble little toys and characters, such as those made by Mimoco. Mouses (mice?) are getting design overhauls too, so that you could actually own a mouse of the classic Windows hand icon. If your geek has too many devices and too little power strip, buy him a group charging unit. You can even buy one that grows grass from ThinkGeek.com, so he may be able to get a little extra oxygen. Cable organizers also come in a variety of sizes and designs, and help reduce unsightly cord clutter. Throw a gift-wrapped can of “Febreeze” in his stocking while you’re at it, and he’ll be ready for a totally improved lair!
4. Geeks always dress to impress…girl geeks and other geeks. And girls. Did I mention girls? InsertCoinClothing.com and FashionablyGeek.com are great places to start in your search for geek digs. He can sport an Assassin’s Creed hoodie and constantly bother you with his “hidden butter knife” trick. Or, there are literally dozens of “Honey Badger Don’t Care” t-shirts to choose from.
Here’s another invaluable shopping-for-geek hint: they love Batman. Period. Give them any bit of Batman paraphernalia, such as a flash drive or a money clip, and they will run around the living room singing the theme song in appreciation. I’m expecting my boyfriend to do that, but because I get him Minecraft refrigerator magnets, oddly enough.
5. Lastly, for the gals out there with deeper pockets, there is always a squeal of glee to be had when receiving a fancy piece of technology. Take the Transformers transformable mp3 player or the Optimus Prime projecting alarm clock, or even the PSP 2000 limited Darth Vader edition. But the current rage seems to be the Nintendo 3DS, now finally going down in price and available in bundles like Ocarina of Time and Mario ($199 for Black Friday.) You can buy spy gear such as pens and lighters with cameras and tape recorders inside, but basically anything shiny with an LED light slapped onto it is pretty cool to a geek. Take him to an electronics store sometime and see what kinds of cameras and gadgets strike his fancy, and then research away on Amazon. If he’s part of your family or you’re close to his, you could collaborate with family members to go in together on the cost of a nice camera or video recorder.
As a last resort, gift cards are always handy, whether they be Best Buy, Newbury Comics, GameStop, or good old Amazon. If your guy is into Mystery Science Theater 3000, I recommend gift cards for Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic, the contemporary projects of the show’s former members. Then you can both snuggle up on a snowy day and mercilessly make fun of the Twilight series with Mike, Crow and Servo.
If none of the above is useful, and your man is more of the manly-man type, you can still buy him a Wampa sleeping bag.
Image Credit: 21TonGiant