A 2019 gift guide for every kind of fanatic
Fans are the hardest people to shop for: they're particular, their interests are niche, and let's face it, a person can only own so many Infinity Gauntlet mugs. But no matter if you're shopping for a sports fan, a Marvel fan, or a Pokémon fan this holiday, there's something out there for everyone. Let The Week be your guide to the best gifts for the cultural die-hards in your life.
What to get ... the Pokémon fan who already owns Sword or Shield:
We are mere weeks away from the year 2020, and Pokémon is alive and well. Who'd have thought! But for fans who were eight when Pokémon Yellow came out in the '90s and are turning 30 years old next year, a collared shirt that can be worn in the office might be a more appropriate gift than, you know, Pikachu slippers (not that there's anything wrong with those, either!). The Japanese fashion label Original Stitch makes custom men and women's formal shirts in the pattern of all 151 original Pokémon, all in classy, work-appropriate designs. I'll take a size small in the Ponyta, please. Starts at $100.
What to get ... the movie fan who's seen everything
A few months ago, I re-subscribed to Netflix's DVD and blu-ray service, which at the time felt practically medieval. You mean I have to wait to get a physical DVD in the mail before I can watch my movie? I've since fallen completely back in love with the service that put Netflix on the map in the first place. While yes, it requires a bit of patience, it is also a great work-around for avoiding paying for subscriptions to all 392 new streaming services. For someone who watches movies and TV like they breathe air, it's indispensable. Starts at $7.99 per month.
What to get ... the Harry Potter fan decorating their first apartment:
I can't stop staring at this poster that succinctly summarizes the entirety of the Harry Potter series. Illustrated by Lucy Knisley, the author of the bestselling illustrated memoir Kid Gloves, the "SummHarry" is a clever answer for fans that might already own all of their preferred Hogwarts House swag. (If the fan you're shopping for is more of a cat, cheese, or Wonder Woman person, Knisley still has you covered). Starts at $105.
What to get ... the fan who can't wait for Westworld to return
Dolores and Teddy's story took an extreme and tragic turn at the end of season two, but true fans of HBO's mind-bending sci-fi Western Westworld still ship the doomed robot lovers. This candle rekindles memories of the simpler days of their relationship, with a "delightful blend of fresh fruits and sugared oranges, lemons and limes with hints of exotic florals and mountain greens." CourteousNotes, the Maryland-based candle-maker, also has scents themed for Teddy, Dolores, "The Man in Black," and Maeve individually. Starts at $15.
What to get ... the fan who can't exchange books at the library fast enough:
The Week contributor Aaron Bady recently brought to my attention that all 20 of the books in the Dorothy Project can be purchased for $200, which would make an incredible gift for the reader you're afraid to buy books for because they've seemingly read everything. With only two books published annually in the fall, the Dorothy Project is one of the most impressive small presses around, "dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women." I'm an especially big fan of Nell Zink's The Wallcreeper, but every one of the 20 books in this collection is a gem waiting to be discovered. While $200 is nowhere near cheap, that breaks down to $10 a book, which is a steep discount down from the usual list price of $16. Other, lower-priced package deals are also available. 20 for $200, 6 for $60, or $16 each.
What to get ... the fan who still isn't over Bran winning the Game of Thrones:
If there is one thing I believe deep in my heart of hearts to be true, it is that Bran in no way deserves to be king of Westeros. But with the final season of Game of Thrones behind us, we can indulge in imagining alternative endings. This sweater is the perfect gift for the person who was rooting for Arya all along (or maybe the one who deserves to be on her, uh, naughty list). Long live the queen. $54.95.
What to get ... the comic book fan:
If the words "phase four" mean nothing to you, never fear: You can sate the comic book fan you're shopping for with this stunning collection of comics from Marvel's golden years between 1939 and 1949 (just look at those red pages!). The collection includes a total of five reproduced, full-color comics, including the rare Marvel Comics #1. If Folio's collector prices are outside of your budget this year, a Captain America Shield Slow Cooker will run you just $12.99. For the DC fan in your life, it also comes in Batman and Superman designs. $225.
What to get ... the fan still rooting for their small collegiate team:
It can be hard shopping for sports apparel if you want something that has more personality than what's available in the team store (assuming your school even has a team store). Homefield Apparel not only fills the space for enthusiasts who want something a little more classic, it does so with high quality fabrics and vintage designs. Whether you're shopping for an alum from Perdue or Xavier, Indiana University, Memphis, or Appalachian State, this will be the sort of present met with a surprised gasp of, "Where did you find this?" T-shirts start at $32.
What to get ... the feminist fan:
The future is female, and the fan you're shopping for isn't afraid to say it loud and proud. Made by Reading Women, a podcast dedicated to feminist literature, this tote bag is exactly the sort of statement piece that your giftee will be happy to have on their shoulder. If you want to spend a little more, you can throw in one of Reading Women's "Book Blind Dates" for an additional surprise. $20.
What to get ... the fan who won't stop talking about Baby Yoda:
Baby Yoda is absolutely irresistible, but good Mandalorian merch has been slow to arrive. Thankfully, Walmart is already allowing people to preorder this ridiculously adorable Funko POP! model of everyone's favorite character in The Mandalorian. While it'll arrive far too late to be a stocking stuffer — the current shipping date isn't until May 2020 — a preorder receipt will surely be appreciated by Star Wars fans who just can't wait. $8.78.
What to get ... the fan who is an extremely extra dungeon master:
If a flimsy cardboard screen just isn't cutting it for your dungeon master anymore, consider your group going in on this impressive wooden upgrade. Available in a variety of colors, the screen latches for easy transportation, and the seller is even able to customize it if you want to add a detail such as a name. As an alternative or an add-on, these dice bath bombs from Geeky Clean start at a more modest $8.45. $145.
What to get ... the casual board game fan
I never thought I'd find a game I loved as much as Settlers of Catan, but I've been blown away by Wingspan, which I first played over Thanksgiving weekend. While this game, which revolves around birding, is going to be old news to the biggest board game enthusiasts — it's Paste's #2 game of the decade — it would make a great surprise for someone who's fallen into an Axis & Allies rut. This would be a particularly good gift if you're going to be around people eager to crack it open and learn to play after the unwrapping has finished. $59.99.
What to get ... the fan who would definitely eat a Porg:
Admit it: You kind of wonder what a Porg tastes like. Alas, the next best thing is toast made in a Stormtrooper's helmet. Emblazoning your bread with the Imperial Crest, this toaster is a part of Williams Sonoma's vast and endlessly amusing Star Wars kitchen collection and will keep you fed during all those early mornings spent streaming The Mandalorian before work. Now all that's left is to ask how do you like your toast: on the light side or the dark side? $49.95.
What to get ... the fan who just had a baby:
All fans have to start somewhere. This adorable board book will get the future generation of fans up to speed, with adorable illustrations ranging from arena, brig, and cowboy all the way down to zoinks. Get a jump start on a whole nerdy infant library by pairing it with Star Wars OBI-123, a counting book, and T is for Tardis, a Doctor Who alphabet book. $9.99.
What to get ... the fan who might one day have fans of their own:
If you know a fan that will one day be writing the stories and scripts for the rest of us to geek out over, consider covering her submission expenses for the year 2020. Many magazines and journals have "reading" or "submission fees," or otherwise require a writer to be intimately familiar with the kind of work they publish, resulting in many costly purchases of back issues. While there isn't a gift card specific to submissions (Submittable, get on this), you can purchase a Visa gift card to help a writer cover online submission fees and postage or pay for a literary magazine subscription to a publication like Fantasy and Science Fiction or Uncanny. Another idea: Give a writer a gift card for a local bookseller that carries literary journals they might manage to land a piece in. Varies in price.
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