We’re kicking off our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide with some of our favorite small businesses and favorite makers to help you find some unique gifts and maybe even help make some of your own gifts!
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. This means that the contributor (or GeekDad) may make a small amount of commission if you click through and purchase the item at no extra cost to you. We may have also received the item for review from the manufacturer, and this in no way influences our opinions. If we don’t like something you will not see it here.
Want your Dungeons & Dragons campaigns to really shine? Then you need to try one of the boxed editions from Beadle & Grimm’s. These bespoke editions of D&D adventure modules include a variety of items like battle maps, art and stat cards for every encounter, and even jewelry, making your tabletop roleplaying sessions unforgettable. My favorite of their sets this year is the Legendary Edition of Curse of Strahd, which features such goodies as wine labels for your personal bottles, finger puppets(!), and 17 battle maps just for the castle itself. You can read my review here.
Washington State-based company Bewilderness takes lovely artwork, and combines it with precision laser cutting to create wooden jigsaw puzzles that not only look great, but provide a real challenge. I recently reviewed a couple of their puzzles, and my favorite of the pair was Wolves and the Moon, which uses Bewilderness’ signature geometric puzzle pieces. And if that puzzle isn’t to your liking, they have plenty of other gorgeous wooden jigsaw puzzles to choose from.
Chicago-based Creepy Co. is one of those rare retailers that I can always depend on to help me celebrate Halloween all year long—hell, I’ve already done a sizable chunk of this year’s Christmas shopping there—but while the site is readily known for its licensed products, encompassing everything from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Goosebumps to Halloween and The Toxic Avenger, its own weird and wonderful Creepy Co. originals hold a special place in my heart. With an ever-widening range of products that includes tees, grab bags, pins, and knitwear, there’s sure to be a perfect pick-up for the horror fan on your gift list.
Form•Function•Form is a small business in Orlando, Florida that makes hand crafted premium Horween Leather products. GeekDad has reviewed a couple of Form•Function•Form products over the years like the Button-Stud Apple Watchband (which is still my favorite Apple Watch band to use while typing on a laptop) and a review of a few of their wallets ( the Architect’s Wallet and the Charette). But even if Apple Watch bands and wallets aren’t your thing, Form•Function•Form has cases, notebook covers, bags, purses, bracelets, regular watch bands and a lot more. They even have a nice leather fob that holds a 1oz bottle of hand sanitizer, the perfect size to hang off a bag or a purse. The Button-Stud Apple Watchband sells for $94, the Charette wallet sells for $88 and the Purell Fob sells for $32.
California-based Matterhackers has long been one of our favorite go-tos for 3D printers and supplies, and we do A LOT of 3D modeling and printing. They are currently running their Season of Deals which gets you a huge discount on almost everything they carry! We do have a few specific recommendations though of our favorites. This past year we absolutely fell in love with the Anycubic Photon Mono X due to both is printing speed and printing size. And not only is it available through Matterhackers during their Season of Deals at $230 off the normal price, Matterhackers also has their own line of 3D printing resin that comes in a variety of great colors, less wasteful packaging, and a great price point even when not on sale! While we do love resin printing and have moved to it for almost all of our production work, we do still have a stable of FDM printers for quick prototyping, for making printed kits, and for lightweight structural pieces so we rely on Matterhackers for our favorite FDM filament as well — their PRO series PLA. While it’s a bit more expensive than their Build series PLA (which we also use plenty of!), the quality, strength, and finish of prints done using the PRO PLA is better than any other PLA we’ve used over the years. If you or someone on your shopping list is into 3D printing, you owe it to yourself and your bank account to stock up during Matterhackers’ Season of Deals.
CleanJuice Game Boy Advance (V1.3) Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery Module
Suggested By: Z
Purchase: CleanJuice Game Boy Advance (V1.3) Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery Module
While being able to experience the Castlevania Advance Collection on my Nintendo Switch may have cut into my Game Boy Advance playtime a bit, I still regularly revisit other beloved classics on the early-2000s handheld. The only problem is that my shiny, modern IPS backlit mod goes through batteries like the proverbial hot knife through butter. My solution? The drop-in CleanJuice Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery Module from the team at RetroSix. Available here in the States via Handheld Legend, the CleanJuice installs in seconds with no soldering required, charges using the standard USB-C input, and provides hours of easy retro gaming enjoyment.
Cosplay patterns, props, accessories, and commissions
Suggested By: Will James
Mfg: Sionnach Studios
Purchase: Cosplay patterns, props, accessories, and commissions
Sionnach Studios is a Washington-based costume, set, and prop fabrication & design studio co-owned by our own Will James and his wife. They have a wide variety of patterns, 3D printable files, DIY kits, and even finished props to help you with your cosplay and costuming needs from a wide variety of shows, films, video games, and animation. Many of their props make great display pieces as well. They also specialize in commissions and offer gift cards, so they can help make just about any costume or prop dream come true for you or those on your shopping list!
The Nintendo Switch OLED Model is a luxury system upgrade deserving of luxury protection, and there is still none more luxurious than WaterField Design’s own CitySlicker case. Now available in coordinating white leather and black ballistic nylon, this new take on the old classic offers plenty of room for your OLED Switch with attached Joy-Cons, your Joy-Con straps and rails, and USB-C and HDMI cables alongside its 5 perfectly-sized game storage slots. Add to this padded interior and exterior pockets and a micro-fiber panel to keep your Switch screen clean, and you begin to see why both the CitySlicker and WaterField itself are longtime GeekDad favorites. From the magnetic closure rivets on its full-grain leather flap to its sturdy never-fail zipper, the CitySlicker is smart, rugged, and anything but ordinary. This makes it the perfect companion piece to the Nintendo Switch OLED Model sitting under your tree. (Review materials provided by WaterField Designs.)