Just because we now know how cool it is to be a nerd, doesn’t make it easier for us when the holiday season rolls around.
Do you have a child, friend, sibling or spouse who falls into the category of a single-minded expert in a certain field? Chances are high, you have probably exhausted present ideas in their stated realm of interest. And there is only so many Harry Potter mugs a person’s cupboard can contain. Or Supernatural T-shirts a person can wear on any given day. Or periodic table charts a person can put up on their wall. The list can go on and on of all the ways holiday gifts can tend toward the same thing over and over.
Your nerdy friend probably knows that a poorly chosen gift will end up as one of these sad gift-giving statistics. Which do no favors for the environment or your wallet. So with this holiday gift guide, we venture beyond the ordinary to find gifts that will be used beyond their open date. How? By outlining the principles that will help you choose well for your dear nerdish person in your life.
Read on for the principles that will help you in your gift buying this holiday season.
- Go really small or really big.
Ever notice how electronics are now trending toward the smaller the better? Look at Apple products. Their designs have been moving toward smaller, slimmer, more compact, right? The idea behind this can be used for finding unique products to give as gifts. A normal item can take on a new appeal when made tiny. For example, this USB digital microscope provides a window into a world that can’t be seen by the naked eye. The best thing about it? It fits in your back pocket, so it can accompany your nerdy friend on a nature walk, or into a coin collector’s store. If you’d like one especially for kids, here you have a list with some cool alternatives.
On the other hand, take a traditionally small item and make it huge. For example, a giant paperclip for that person who loves paper a little too much. A giant-sized pencil for that person who is always losing their pens and asking to borrow yours, etc.
- Origin stories matter.
And no one knows this better than that nerd in your life. From superhero origin stories to the origin stories that develop around fantasy games. The stories we tell about people and products shape their meaning and are part and parcel of their value.
For any product that you choose, make sure that its origin story is one that will appeal to your kid or friend or spouse. Is your kid a budding environmentalist? Get them something that was created in an eco-conscious way or that is gentle on the environment.
- Lean toward useful.
If a present is anything, it should be useful. Particularly for nerds, since they value practicality and usefulness, often above form and taste. What are things that your nerd will use, without a doubt? Everyday items, such as socks, gloves, a subscription to Netflix, gift cards to their favorite store. Sure this might seem a bit boring, but at least it won’t be tossed out in the trash the day after Christmas morning. Or buried under apartment rubble, not to be unearthed for years on end.
Do not discount favorite snacks and drinks as great holiday gifts. There are ways to differentiate your gift from their afternoon shopping run. For example, get them a food box subscription service that focuses on snacks that revolve around their favorite.
- Save the gift for later.
The good news about looking for a gift for your nerdy friend? A surprise gift on a later date will be more impressive to them than on a day when they are being overloaded with presents. So if you haven’t found something for them and the gift-giving date is upon you, don’t panic. And don’t make a big deal about not having something ready, either. Play it cool. A couple weeks later, place a present on their desk, or bed, with little fanfare. And let the present and the surprise of receiving something on a mundane day be the extra special whammy that will make your gift one to remember.