Editor's note: Liz Smith ("aka 'Dammit' Liz") is the geeky stage manager for W00tstock. She regularly caters to nerd royalty like Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton. One thing she’s learned is that one-size-fits-all does not apply to the nerdy persuasion. Based on her expertise (and the contacts in her phone), she offers these gift suggestions for the geeks and nerds on your list. Follow Smith on www.dammitliz.com.
For the geeky traveler (or soon-to-be traveler):
- “Point it: Traveller's Language Kit –The Original Picture Dictionary" by Dieter Graf may be the best book for new travelers adventuring off to exciting places. It is a language-free travel dictionary that one can use as the book says and point at an image of what one needs, assisting with communication. These pictures help provide what every hardcore traveler is looking for: a fun and accessible way to connect and engage with a new culture.
- Solar powered chargers are fantastic gifts and compatible wherever there is sun.
- This unique scratch-off map is great for travel "completists" - geeks who value owning a complete set - because it lets them methodically uncover all the places they have traveled.
- For those who need to be completely prepared, the "Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel" is a good bet.
For the television series geek:
- "Doctor Who"-inspired jewelry is a fun and unique gift for fans of the British sci-fi series. I own two etsy creations inspired by the Doctor. They are subtle enough that only those in the know can appreciate the beautiful and simple tribute to one of my favorite shows. I get more compliments on my TARDIS necklace than anything else I wear. Of course a Sonic Screwdriver Pen or Adipose Stress Toy are also appropriate, as is this TARDIS USB hub.
- The stylized "Firefly" 4-Piece Les Femmes Poster Set is a perfect gift for the die-hard "Firefly"/"Serenity" fan. The Jayne Hat, as worn by Jayne Cob (played by actor Adam Baldwin) in the series, is a common sight at many fan conventions. This handmade hat is an easy find on etsy.com Like Wash says, "A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." Or go for something “shiny,” like this necklace. "Shiny" was a popular slang term used in the series.
- The Sheldon Cooper Bobble Head is an excellent choice for the "Big Bang Theory" fan in your life. Complete with Green Lantern T-Shirt, he will bob along with you in the car or welcome you home after a long day. Another great gift for this fan is the Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock T-Shirt or mug. There’s also the Singing Soft Kitty plush that sings the “Soft Kitty” song from the show.
For the geeky adrenaline junkie:
- For those in your life who "wanna go fast," gift a day (or two) at the race track going 0-60 in 4 seconds! The adrenaline junkie loves memories and adventures more than wrapped gifts: Experience and the thrill (not to mention the opportunity for a new Facebook profile picture) gets them excited.
- Move past the limitations of skydiving and Bungee jumping and give a day as a fighter pilot, a day tank driving or better yet, tank paintball.
- Private ninja lessons!
For the beer snob geek: (advice based on conversations with Dikla Tuchman)
- The beer of the month club is a great gift option for that friend who talks about the complexity of beer and is nearly insulted by the concept of "light beer." Thanks to new and obscure breweries, the selection and variety of beers has greatly improved over the years.
- Consider a home brew kit. Home brewing has been growing in popularity and it is a great gift for someone who has been tempted to take the plunge.
- A personalized growler or a unique and practical growler car carrier also make great gifts.
For the geeky pet owner:
- What better way to share a love of "Star Wars" than to dress up the dog in an adorable Yoda costume? The wisdom of the beloved "Star Wars" character is apparent in this canine-friendly outfit.
- The popular iPad app “Game for Cats” is hours of entertainment for the frisky feline. A self-operating “chase the laser” game can entertain everyone, not just the cat. Warning though, this is probably best for the declawed cat.
- Katy Perry tweeted a photo of her cat in this fun Shark Dome Bed, proving celebrity cats enjoy the geeky, and unique as well.
- The Pet’s Eye View Digital Camera allows pet owners to see a day in the life of their pet.
For the science nerd:
- Microplushies are fun for the biologist who has been wondering why their interests in germs and bacteria have yet to be appreciated with their own plushie. Now they can have creative and fun decor for their laboratory.
- Webcomic xkcd is a favorite of fans of math, science and sarcasm. You can purchase prints of selected comics on the website. I recommend the "Gravity Wells" print for a fun and visual representation of gravity on different planets.
- Science fans can explore their ancestry and genomes with a DNA kit. Just send in your DNA sample with the kit and a CLIA-certified lab analyzes your DNA in 6-8 weeks.
- A meteorite pendant necklace is a great gift for the space-loving woman in your life.
For the video gamer: (who already has all the games)
- Fans of popular webcomic Penny Arcade (which covers the world of games and gaming) will enjoy Penny Arcade: The Game - Gamers vs. Evil by Cryptozoic. This game features the characters and themes from the comic, some of which are very adult, so while it is hilariously fun it's probably not for the whole family. Penny Arcade, aside from the webcomic and associated gaming con PAX, also offers gifts for the few video gamers who have not heard of the franchise. Their T-shirts appeal to the video game and D&D RPG crowd.
- Video games can have a cult following. If you know a person's favorite game there are many options. Fans of Portal 2 will appreciate the in-joke posters available with popular quotes from the game. For fans of Assassin’s Creed, check out this hoodie inspired by the game.