Long gone are the days of boring clothing presents and household gifts, with these options available to us all. And we’ve got plenty of great DVD recommendations in this gift guide as well. Put some geek in your ice cubes, bed sheets, and bathrobes, and entertain yourself and your kids with our varied selection of DVDs!
Clothing and Household Goods
This lunchbox-sized water bottle fits easily into school lunches (and Christmas stockings), but better yet, it’s insulated. This means cold drinks stay cold on a hot day. It also means that hot cocoa or soup will remain hot for up to 12 hours. BPA-free and eco-friendly, the folks at S’well support Water Aid, providing safe water for impoverished countries.
Out of Print shirts
Kid sizes: $22; adult sizes: $28
What if you could find a shirt that featured classic book covers? What if those shirts featured some of your favorites, say Nancy Drew, 1984, Jane Eyre, or The Maltese Falcon? The folks at Out of Print have got you covered. You’re welcome.
Geeky bedding at Pottery Barn Kids
$10 – $200
I bought a set of Pottery Barn Kids Curious George bed sheets for my 2-year-old Curious George fanatic. While shopping the bedding section of their website, I was happy to see a few geeky favorites: Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and not one but three different Star Wars designs! Best of all, they offer all of them in bed sizes up to Queen for the kids with really big beds or the married couples who are young at heart.
Lego Minifigure Ice Cube Tray
Kids will love making ice cubes in the shape of Lego minifigures. Use ’em to cool down drinks or better yet, make some of these cool dudes to live in your next snow fort.
Filthy Farmgirl Soaps
With a huge collection of “flavors” to choose from, Filthy Farmgirl soaps are the perfect stocking stuffer. Some are naughty, others are nice, but you’ll especially like the geeky options like Tangerine Galaxy, Galactic Ginger, or Filthy Vampire.
2nd Generation Nest Learning Thermostat
Now, before you dismiss this and wonder why there’s a thermostat on this list, read on. You install this one in your home and can control it via wi-fi from your phone or laptop. Even better, it’s like a little air conditioning and heating robot on your wall that learns your habits and will adjust the temperature without your input! It has activity sensors that know you’re not home and changes the temperature accordingly, accommodates scheduled temperature changes of your choice, and has energy-saving features the will help you reduce your utility bills. It’s the coolest practical gadget you can get for your home, just in time for winter.
Another perfect accessory for the geeky home or office. My favorite aspect of this light is that you can redesign the lamp whenever you want. In true Tetris fashion, the pieces also light up as the current flows to each individual piece. When ordering, make sure you take care and choose the correct country’s plug (UK and USA options available). For kids, this will blow their wooden blocks out of the water.
Portal Messenger Bag
This bag is huge, flexible, and practical. It would work well as a diaper bag or for traveling; it’s also comfy to wear on your back and keeps your hands free for pulling a suitcase or small child. Buy it from Valve.
Urban Junket Bag
I’m so over the black shoulder bag or backpack for my laptop. It doesn’t have to be that way, and Urban Junket sent me a sample bag to prove it. Their bags are made using recycled plastic bottles for a shiny but tough exterior, and they come in a variety of cute colors — none of which are pink. There are plenty of pockets, and some models also allow you to carry around a mobile recharger for phones and other small devices. These bags are surprisingly comfortable, fashionable, and professional. If you don’t mind a few scuff marks, you can buy factory seconds at a discount.
Monthly Subscription Boxes
For a unique one-time gift or a tremendously special ongoing surprise, take a look at our series of monthly subscription box reviews. Knoshbox and La Bella Box bring delicious artisan flavors to your doorstep; Umba Box, For the Makers, Nicely Noted, and LootCrate hold unusual delights for crafters and gamers; and for kids there’s Wonder Box, Green Kid Crafts, Kiwi Crate, and more. There are boxes for snackers and eco-conscious shoppers, too.
Amco Enameled Aluminum Lemon Squeezer
The indispensable kitchen utensil in a bright, happy yellow to bring a little zest to your cooking.
The Runnur isn’t a purse, and it isn’t a backpack. It’s a carrier that takes the shape of a padded strap in a loop you wear from left shoulder to right hip. With pockets for your ID, everything your wallet could hold (it even has credit card slots), your phone, a camera, glasses, and more-including a carbiner clip at the bottom-the Runnur is a non-purse purse perfect for a mom on the move.
Epson Megaplex projector
“Home theater” sounds like a large-scale, expensive project, and that’s certainly an option. But it doesn’t have to be. In our house, it’s now as simple as an Epson Megaplex MG-50 (MSRP $699) with a $50 window shade from the hardware store. Start doing the math on babysitters, movie tickets, and buckets of popcorn, and that price point starts sounding better and better. Not only will you get to enjoy the movie experience from the comfort of your sofa, your kids will think you’re the best mom ever when Phineas and Ferb are three feet tall.
This particular projector is also a one-stop dock for your Apple devices, as in addition to its HDMI, component, and VGA inputs, it has an iPod/iPad/iPhone dock. You can use the MG-50 to project video from those devices or just as speakers. (It even charges them while docked.) The menu system is easy to navigate, and it’s a reasonably portable size if you need to take it with you. That makes it not just a projector, but an entertainment center in a box, particularly if you already own Apple devices. (And if you’re more of an Android fan and the Apple-friendliness doesn’t interest you, the dock pushes into the machine so you’ll never ever remember it’s there.)
Where geek fans meet sports fans, Rink Gear is there. The company makes hockey jerseys for teams, but the recently launched geekyjerseys.com for a side passion–catering to the geek set. The jerseys run only for a limited time, so if you see one you like, you should buy it right then. You get to customize the jersey with any name and number.
iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
There is no greater gift than a little help with the housework. If you don’t want to actually lend a hand, have this little gadget do the dirty work. The Roomba 650 can suck up dirt and dust via a patented three-stage cleaning system, a new brush design, and something called AeroVac Technology. Other features include iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology so the Roomba knows where to roam, Dirt Detect to help it sniff out the dirtiest areas, and the option to preset cleaning schedules up to seven times a week.
Blik Donkey Kong Wall Stickers
There are all kinds of wallpaper patterns, including plenty of ugly ones. Instead of covering those walls with kitsch, consider something geeky like these Donkey Kong wall decals. Each decal is easy to put on and take off. Also, this isn’t some knock-off; it’s an official Nintendo licensed product. It also puts the magic of Donkey Kong right on the wall. Once the scene is set, expect to be lulled to sleep with sights of a giant monkey, flying barrels, and little mustached men jumping about. Sweet dreams.
FashionABLE is a non-profit organization whose goal is to create sustainable business for women who have been exploited by extreme poverty in Africa. Not only is the mission wonderful, but the scarves are gorgeous. Not only does this business provide jobs for the women hand-making the scarves, but they send the net profits back to rehabilitate more women.
The Joslyn tote from Kipling is a perfect gift for a traveler, a college student, or a busy geek mom. The nylon bag is light yet rugged and — best of all — features lots of pockets and sturdy zippers. While it’s not a computer case per se, a laptop slipped into a padded sleeve does fit, so it’s great for a quick overnight visit or a run to the coffee shop to get a little work done. The bag features both hand straps and an adjustable cross-body strap.
Star Trek Bathrobes
After a hard day, why not take a nice, long hot shower or soak in a hot bath. When you are done, you will want to put on your one-size fits most Star Trek Bathrobe — available in Engineering Red, Science Blue, and Command Gold — and curl up on the chesterfield with a mug of tea, Earl Grey, hot, in one hand, and your tablet in the other. Made with heavy, warm terrycloth, this bathrobe will keep you cozy and help you replenish your energy matrix. There is also a shorter red Uhura style made out of lightweight microfleece.
Women’s Trench Coat from SeV
Forget about the little black dress, if there is piece of clothing every one must own — both male and female — it is a trench coat. They are suited for all sizes and all body types. For females, the women’s trench coat from SeV is the must-have trench. With 18 pockets — one of which is even big enough to carry your iPad — you can leave the house hands-free and still bring your tablets, phones, MP3 players, keys, wallets, earbuds, make-up, pocket books, sunglasses, camera, and still have room to spare. One of the best things about this coat is even with your pockets fully loaded, it doesn’t look like you are carrying a thing. Machine washable, it is available in sizes small to XXL.
LCARS by LCARS Studio
$37.91 – $137.25
LCARS by LCARS Studio are a must have for everyone’s ready room. Hand-crafted, these pieces of awesome are printed on heavy-weight, high-end photo paper and treated against UV. These are not posters. You can get LCARS of the Enterprise NX-01, USS Enterprise 1701-D, USS Enterprise 1701-E, USS Sutherland, USS Voyager, and USS Defiant. The details on the LCARS are truly amazing and you will spend hours exploring these ships. They come in three sizes: medium, large, and XXL. The medium and large LCARS are printed on paper that can be back-lit when framed. If LCARS are not the thing for the Star Trek fan in your life, you can also purchase Captain Archer’s Ready Room drawings, available in two sizes, printed on thick drawing paper an treated against UV. You can save 10% off your purchase by entering coupon code JULESSHERRED at checkout.
The Cabin in the Woods
If you have not yet seen The Cabin in the Woods and have been lucky enough to not yet be spoiled, do yourself a favor–simply buy the DVD and watch it before someone ruins it for you. If you have already seen it, you know that this is the perfect gift for the Whedon fans on your list. But I strongly feel that The Cabin in the Woods is best seen with no more than precisely the following information: It is a horror movie. By Joss Whedon. Named The Cabin in the Woods. The trailer gives you too much more than that, so don’t even let that slip before the eyeballs of someone who hasn’t yet seen it. Just know that if you love Joss Whedon’s work, even with only a mild appreciation for horror movies, you (or your gift recipient) will be in for a treat.
The DVD and Blu-Ray versions include a wealth of bonus features, from the expected directors’ commentary and making-of to features devoted to the special effects and video of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s WonderCon panel.
Cinderella: Diamond Edition – Blu-Ray Combo Pack
Cinderella is the Disney classic that brings the fairy tale to life with colorful characters and beautiful music. On Blu-ray for the first time, Cinderella: Diamond Edition gives the chance to share this classic with a new generation.
Doc McStuffins: Friendship Is the Best Medicine
Doc McStuffins is the adorable cartoon from Disney Junior about a little girl who is a doctor to her stuffed animals. The series is on DVD for the first time in Doc McStuffins: Friendship Is the Best Medicine. Preschoolers love Doc McStuffins for the music and adorable characters, while Doc teaches lessons about caring and friendship.
This year we saw a new Disney movie, Wreck-It Ralph, that felt more like a Pixar story, along with a new Pixar movie, Brave, that felt much like a Disney princess story. Well, an independent, bow-and-arrow-wielding princess. Most of us who are now mothers ourselves can relate to the story of the teenage years and conflicts with our own mothers. With the DVD, you can relive the genuine Scottish dialogue and gaze at the specially-created DunBroch clan tartan. I also recommend reading Kathy Ceceri’s comparison of Brave to director Hayao Miyazaki’s work. Then make some Scottish sweet buns and pick up this DVD for your family this holiday season.
We Are Legion
$24.99 Blu Ray, $19.99 DVD, Amazon Instant Video
Common media sources have talked plenty about hacktivist group Anonymous with some truth, some misunderstandings, and some outright ridiculousness. We Are Legion is an award-winning documentary that goes behind the mask, so to speak, looking into the history of similar groups and going on to interview those who have participated in Anonymous activities, including some facing trial and others who have gone to prison. Pre-orders of the Blu-Ray are expected to ship December 7. If you can’t wait or want to check it out before giving it as a gift, you can watch it now through Amazon Instant Video.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection
Talk about Turtle Power! This recent DVD release packages the original TMNT animated series into a 23-disc, 10-season set, packaged in the Turtles’ “Party Wagon” TurtleVan. When the evil Shredder attacks, your gift recipient will be fully trained in pizza-party-style ninja skills thanks to 73 hours of entertainment on one gift. Cowabunga!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season Four
If you’ve been keeping up with The Clone Wars DVD releases or just want to see what your family missed before the current season, don’t forget to put this one, released at the end of October, on your holiday shopping list. It includes several hours of cast and crew commentaries and deleted or extended scenes, as well as a poster. The Blu-Ray version comes with a special extra that takes a look at the concept art and special effects that went into The Clone Wars. If you need to catch up and gift the whole series, get seasons one, two, and three while you’re at it.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One Blu-ray
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One on Blu-ray is simply stunning. With remastered special effects and sounds, without changing anything from the original, you will see Star Trek: The Next Generation through brand new eyes. You can read Jules’ review here.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two Blu-ray
If the remastered season two is anywhere as good as season one, then this is definitely a must-have for Star Trek: The Next Generation fans. It is currently available for pre-order, with a release date of December 4, 2012.
Santa Paws 2 (Disney Blu-ray)
The latest installment in Disney’s Buddies franchise, Santa Paws 2 is the sequel to Santa Buddies and Search for Santa Paws. It follows the adventures of Santa Paws’ four puppies, Hope, Jingle, Charity, and Noble, who were stowaways on Mrs. Claus’ sleigh on a trip to Pineville, where the gang meets the Reynolds, a family in desperate need of holiday inspiration and cheer. The movie stars Cheryl Ladd, George Newbern, and Danny Woodburn. The plot and CGI talking puppies are similar to the other “Buddies” movies, but even the more skeptical will want to watch this to see the talented 8-year-old Kaitlyn Maher as she matures from voicing one of the puppies (Tiny) in Santa Buddies.