It’s easy to watch TV and get an idea on what the “hot” gifts this holiday season are going to be, but that isn’t always the best option. It may not be realistic either. Sure, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One would make excellent gifts under the tree, but those will run you $400 and $500 at least, assuming you can find one. You may like your cousin or distant aunt a bunch, but maybe not that much.
So with that in mind, we have a few more off-kilter suggestions for the family member that identifies with “geek” culture, ranging in price from the stocking stuffer to the “you now owe me BIG” category. Check them out.
Doctor Who bathrobes ($50)
If you have people in your family that like sci-fi, then at least one of them probably watches Doctor Who. And if not, you can buy them a lump of coal and tell them to make better choices next year. These sleek and stylish bathrobes will be the envy of everyone lucky enough to see them, and plus, bathrobes – much like fezzes – are cool. (The fez reference is a Doctor Who reference. Know what you’re getting into.)
If you want to stick with the Doctor Who theme but keep it under $50, or maybe your giftee just isn’t into bathing, then consider this hardcover book detailing the history of DW. The show has been on the air for 50 years, and features a rich history. It includes early memos about the show, interviews, and pictures so old that the people in them are smoking analog cigarettes! Crazy.
Crunchyroll ($7 per month)
This gift is for a very specific type of person, but if your giftee falls under that category they will love you forever. And after all, isn’t buying the love of your family and friends what the holidays are all about? Crunchyroll is a service similar to Netflix, but dedicated to Japanese anime. It has other stuff too, but the anime is what makes it stand out. It offers thousands of shows, many of which you won’t find anywhere else. This is a site for dedicated fans, and much of the programming is subtitled. If your giftee is an anime aficionado though, that probably won’t matter.
Destiny pre-order ($60)
Although Destiny will also be released on PS3 and Xbox 360, it will shine on the next-gen consoles. If someone you know already bought a new system, plans to in the next few months, or maybe will be surprised by a new console under the tree, consider pre-ordering Bungie’s (the creators of the Halo series) Destiny for them. It won’t be available until Q2 of 2014, but get a jump on the excitement. If your giftee is a gamer, they will probably know all about Destiny, and the pre-order will make you look cool.
Mondo Poster (Varies)
Like snowflakes, no two geeks are identical. Some like electronic related things, while others are more into art. This gift is for the latter. Mondo posters offer something for everyone, from stylized blockbuster movie posters to amazingly drawn comic characters and more, you can find something for anybody. Prices vary from a few dollars to thousands of dollars, so spend some time looking around.
Oculus Rift SDK ($300)
If your giftee is deep into PC gaming, this gift will win Christmas. Be careful though, this is a developer’s kit. A hardcore fan will likely appreciate it and happily throw these VR goggles onto their face with glee, but a more casual gamer may find the limited selection of games and the prototype feel to be not for them. The retail version is expected next year, and that might suit them better. For the dedicated PC gamer though, this gift would rule them all.
Portal 2 replica gun ($120)
File this under gifts for “people that get it.” Portal 2 is one of those games that earned the rare support of hardcore and causal gamers alike, thanks to compelling puzzles and witty writing. The price is a bit stiff, but if the giftee is a gamer, even if they haven’t played Portal or its sequel, they have to respect it. Because Portal is awesome. That’s a proven fact.
Sandman Omnibus ($94)
Another gift for the initiated, Neil Gaiman’s comic masterpiece Sandman can easily fit on any shelf. If someone is just a bit into comics, this is a mature and thoughtful gift, which should expose them to one of the best comics ever written for adults. If they are a dedicated comics fan, you can give them this and tell them you are disappointed they don’t already own it. Either way it’s a win for you.
StubHub tickets (Varies)
Anyone can buy a thing, but buying someone an experience is special. This gift will require that you actually know a thing or two about the giftee in question, but if that isn’t an issue, this is a great, outside-the-box gift. Just check your recipient’s local venues, and choose something they would like. If you want to keep it on a budget, you can buy a pair of tickets at the back of the venue, and you still get cool points. The recipient gets to go to an event for free, so complaining about the seating would make them look like an ungrateful git.
This is a gift best suited for a very particular person – a hardcore gamer, or someone that just got a PS4 (an Xbox One owner works too, but the Twitch app isn’t live yet). One of the best new features of the PS4 is that you can share and live stream your gaming through either the Ustream or Twitch platfroms. The Twitch Turbo membership ensures that you can do it all without annoying ads. It’s a nice way to earn some points, and PC and console broadcasters will appreciate it.