Like it or not, Christmas is creeping up, and in the consumer paradise we call the USA, that means you better be buying stuff for the people you love if you want them to keep loving you back. Toys for the little ones are the easy part of it -- but shopping for anyone over ten years of age apparently necessitates the purchase of jewelry, iPads or cars, at least if the TV commercials I see during football games can be believed. (I watch everything else on DVR and skip the commercials, so my entire connection with consumer culture is mediated by the NFL.) The thing is, not everyone can afford a car, a diamond or an iPad, and some of us maybe don't even want those. I can't offer advice about how to placate your significant other's insatiable need for charm bracelets or Audis, but I can offer a few suggestions for how to please the geeks in your life.
See also: I'm Dreaming of a Weird Christmas
Before we start, let me mention I'm going to skip most of the obvious stuff. If you know your best nerd pal loves Star Wars but somehow doesn't already own all the movies on Blu-ray, great! Your shopping duties can be fulfilled in ten minutes via Amazon. Lucky you. Everyone else, please proceed to the bounty of nerd awesomeness that follows.
6) For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans who lost all their tapes Back in the day, the good people behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 used to urge fans to "keep circulating the tapes." Of course, those tapes are at least a decade old now, not to mention who the hell has a VCR? Sure, you can buy a few episodes at a time in limited edition box sets, but that gets expensive fast -- at $50 or so per four-episode collection, even owning enough to do your own Thanksgiving marathon could set you back $150. For just about twice that, you can get eighty-plus episodes via the magic of digital downloads, thanks to Vimeo. There are a lot of classic episodes in there (Pod People! Mitchell! No fewer than five goddamn Gamera films!), and even though the classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is missing (which means no "A Patrick Swayze Christmas"), you do still get the equally twisted holiday classic Santa Claus, where the Devil tries to fuck up Santa's big day.
5) For the geeks who can't quite get over their undead obsession Sure, zombies are a little played out, but they're still insanely popular. And maybe you're over it, but we all have that friend who just isn't, and maybe never will be. (Confession: I am that guy in my circle of friends.) Well, if you want to make that person's whole fucking year, you could do a lot worse than buying them this sweet-ass "In case of zombies" wall display. Sure, the items are non-functional -- what, you thought maybe they'd send out a real fucking hand grenade? -- but this is a conversation starter that cannot be beat. And there's nothing stopping you from replacing all the prop replicas with your own live ammunition and weapons, right? Not in the U.S;, anyway! If you like the concept but hate zombies, they also have "in case of" options for vampires, demons and werewolves.
4) For the geek who wants to relax by the light of the Ark of the Covenant melting fools' faces off Sometimes, even geeks like to kick back in a bubble bath, light a few candles and let the stress of the day melt away. The difference is, we like to do it with candles that remind us of our favorite moments from our favorite films. Well, we do now anyway, since these unbelievably sweet face-melting candles are available. Recreating the climax from Raiders of the Lost Ark has never been easier, nor produced a more relaxing light, than with these bad boys. Those Nazis will think twice about meddling with Christian artifacts of unimaginable power next time, and you'll never have a better bubble bath.
3) For the geek who speaks fluent Klingon What better way to celebrate the defeat of your enemies in battle than with a few glasses of traditional Klingon bloodwine? No better way, obviously. Sure, the Klingons aren't even the coolest Star Trek alien/frenemy these days, but it sure beats drinking whatever weird ass antifreeze-like slurry the Borg presumably use to get their lean on. Plus, a nice glass of bloodwine goes down easier than beer-bonging Romulan ale, and the hangovers are a lot easier to deal with.
2) For the geek who loves camping, but never stops letting their geek flag fly Even in the great outdoors, it's nice to let people know how much you love the Marvel universe. And if you can do that while staying nice and warm at night, even better, right? Stay snug as Iron Man in his armor in these unbelievably nerdy superhero sleeping bags. Nothing says "Camping is cool, but the Hulk is even cooler" than sleeping inside a mock-up of the actual Hulk next to the campfire.
1) For the geek who is actually goddamn impossible to shop for The thing about geeks is they tend to be obsessive, which means if they have the means, they usually already own everything reasonable related to their particular fandoms (usually two of them -- one to use, one to keep in a box in mint condition on a shelf). That can make them really hard to shop for. If you have one of those nerds in your life, you could just throw your hands up and accept defeat, or you could sign them up for one of the many available geek "mystery boxes" out there. Each month, a box full of random geek nonsense shows up, delivering a nice surprise and (hopefully) some cool stuff they don't already have. You can even shop local while you do it, thanks to the recent launch of the Geek Fuel mystery box here in town.
Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.
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