Gift Giving Tips From A Not So Nerdy Nerd

I love the holidays. For me it’s the time of the year when I can ignore seasonal depression, appreciate artificial heat, family time, gifts, and food – I mean really it’s Second Thanksgiving. Cuz after the holidays, when the sun doesn’t come out anymore and it’s just cold, I want to hibernate in my bed until July. But that said, the best part of the holidays for me is gift giving. I love watching someone open a present. The joy of them receiving that thing they need and/or really want that will make life just that much sweeter is unbeatable. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good gift giver… toot toot. So I’m gonna give you some tips that you may be able to use this holiday season. Now these tips are for the person who may not be so nerdy but who is shopping for a real nerd.

From Michael Cho’s Sketchbook.

Tip 1

First off, you gotta be an excellent listener. Throughout the year really pay attention to every time they smile looking at something, or say, “One day I’m gonna get one of those.” Note that specific conversation about that one video game. This will result in a surprise gift and earn you the classic – “You were listening!” Or “How did you know?” As a not-so-nerdy gift giver who may not be knowledgeable about the fandom, make sure you ask questions at the store, Game Stop, or comic book shop. It’s key that you get the right thing.

Tip 2

Which brings me to my next tip: Attention to detail is important. Just because you may not know all about this thing, your nerdy friend definitely does. For comics, go with anthologies, special editions, behind-the-scenes content of their favorite characters or even their villains. Getting specific issues that you do not know about could be disastrous or get you the fake smile and the “oh thanks…”. Know your giftee’s favorite characters. Even if they say they don’t have one, if you are listening closely throughout the year, you can suss out which one to choose. One year, I walked into a comic shop ready to get hubby a graphic novel, I went in and said “he loves Marvel!” The comic shop man led me around the store and showed me a bunch of novels, I didn’t know anything about. Then I stopped, I saw a book all about the Joker. Now I know he loves Marvel but I know for sure, he has a special connection to Batman. He, his father, and his younger brother know every word of the Michael Keaton Batman movies. This book was all about the Joker, different illustrators, different eras — almost a “best of” in Joker storylines. He loved it and never saw it coming.

Tip 3

The next tip is quality. Nerds are authentic and having the real deal is important. If you are going to get them Thor’s hammer, it better be a movie replica heavy enough that only the worthy can carry it. Settling for less is not the best option. If you are on a budget go with kitchy and/or useful instead. If you can’t get the hammer maybe you can find a meat-tenderizing mallet in the style of Thor’s hammer for the nerdy cook. Going with clothing is great too. I once found a Doctor Doom hoodie complete with real gold chain going from shoulder to shoulder — that gift slayed. It pays to do your homework. I would always hear him talk about how the movies have never done Doctor Doom right. That indicated to me that he has respect for Doctor Doom. Just roaming the Hot Topic that hoodie jumped out at me (on sale too!)

Tip 4

Next, kitch can always save you when you can’t find the quality of gift you really want to give. I have a co-worker that loves Batman. It was her birthday coming up right near New York Comic Con and I was determined to get her something Batman. I felt the best gift would be practical and high-quality, I decided to find her a sleek purse that was all Batman. The quality purses were expensive and the aesthetic was not subtle enough. I ended up getting her a unique illustrated Batman card but… the piece de resistance was walking by a kitchy table, I saw a silicon ice tray that made Joker and Harley Quinn styled ice cubes. I know my co-worker LOVES to chew ice, even though it wasn’t Batman exactly, but it was kitchy AND useful and in the same universe. She was astounded at the quirky cues I had picked up on about her and could put together in one kitchy gift.

Tip 5

Lastly, there should be a little bit of you in every gift. This is the most crucial component and I feel the most forgotten. When many give a gift they think only about the other person, oh they need this, they asked for this, they want that. But the person who can give something and a little bit of your personality show at the same time, is the perfect giver. For example, I love FunkoPops – love em! One year I decided I was going to get every one a FunkoPop. I strategically scoured the many stores, Think Geek, Barnes & Noble, Hot Topic and more to find the perfect ones. I knew my mom would LOVE Data or Spock of Star Trek, but no matter what I did I couldn’t find them, they were all sold out. Then, there he was, Worf. A Black Star Trek character in FunkoPop form? It was perfection! Her, not being the collecting type, squealed and opened it immediately. That Worf now sits on her mantle protecting the little Panamanian dancer dolls.

It means so much more when the person can enjoy the thing you love the way they uniquely love it. The real gift is knowing they can trust you, that you know them to the finest of details, and a gift that shows your lives are intertwined is the real win.

Looking for ideas? We got you with our variety of Gift Guides for all ages.

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  • Aisha Jordan

    Staff Writer

    Aisha Jordan is an Actor, Writer, and Producer in new media with a B.A. from The New School and M.A. in Arts and Politics from NYU. She’s a Podcast Producer on I Love a Lifetime Movie, The Table is Ours, and Origins of Hip Hop and Staff Writer at Black Nerd Problems and co-creator/host for the entertainment podcast 2Nerds and an Actor. She’s Co-Executive Producer and actor for the newly formed Village Park Productions with sketch comedy series #HashtagTheShow. Jordan was featured in Title X’s PSA on reproductive rights, and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. She’s a member of the Writer’s Guild of America East.

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