We’ll get to shopping for your geek in a second, but first: I wrote a guest post for Beyond the Farthest Blog! I was honoured to be asked to write something about the initial Star Trek pilot “The Cage” by the blog’s owner, Mike. Thanks so much for the invite, Mike! And all you what love Star Trek should definitely follow his blog. It is up an alley firmly in your wheelhouse.
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It can be really hard to buy gifts for geeks. I know this because I am a geek, and I have received many well-meaning gifts from people that didn’t understand my hobbies. I have received “Twilight” because I like to read fantasy books, numerous children’s games because I play board games, and some really bad party murder-mystery games because I play RPGs. If you are a non-geek buying for a geek, or even a type of geek buying for another type of geek, the most important advice I can give you is, know what your geek is into. If you are buying for a Star Trek geek, My Little Pony is not going to cut it unless you know they are also a fan of that show. You don’t need to understand it like he or she does; if you did, you wouldn’t need help buying for them, right? The point is, geekdom is not generic, so you need to know your geek’s interests.
Edit: A bit of advice from @soupytoasterson on how to know what your geek is into: “Bonus tip: Ask the person you’re buying for about books they would recommend you read. Good way to get their tastes and, somewhat more importantly, what they already have.” Advice so good I wish I’d thought of it…
Another Edit: @thinkgeek has provided a handy chart to make your shopping easier.
The second piece of advice I can give to the non-geek is: go to your local comic, game or tech store for your gifts. Outside of the potential benefits of shopping locally, the best thing about these places is that they are generally filled with geeks, specifically geeks that are like your geek. They have knowledge you don’t, and you should be able to walk through the door, say “I’m buying for someone into Star Trek/Superman/first-person shooters, what can you recommend?” and get an informed response. (Note: if you don’t get an informed response, the problem is not you. Ask to talk to someone else, or leave and find another store.) That simple question will save you from the heart-ache of the forced smile on Christmas morning, and likely result in your basking in the warm glow of geek love.
A third piece of advice, and I might be on my own on this so your mileage may vary: a gift card is perfectly okay. If you don’t really know what your geek is into, and don’t have the time to look around the geek shops for gifts, buy a gift card. Really. Please. I would rather get a handful of local geek shop gift cards from my friends and family than, say, a Strawberry Shortcake Board Game (yes, it happened. No, I don’t still have it, it went to the Stollery). I realize that people aren’t always comfortable giving gift cards, feeling they are too impersonal. And I’m sure there are people that feel that way receiving them. But speaking for myself, as a geek, a gift card tells me that: a) you know me well enough to understand what I like, and b) you want to make sure I get an item I will definitely love, so you are putting that choice in my hands. And I respect that.
Okay, those three pieces of advice should help you buy a gift your geek will love this Thanksmasween. Tomorrow I will have some specific gift suggestions for the various types of geek in your life, just in case you are really desperate. In the meantime if you have any shopping advice of your own to add, drop it in the comments below.