I love giving stocking stuffers. They don't have to be wrapped, and the stocking is a great place to hide some seriously good gift loot. I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't as far as stocking stuffers go. Candy isn't the best option; chocolate melts in front of the fire, and other candy ends up sitting around in the pantry until it's finally tossed just in time to make room for the next holiday. Holiday-themed socks are often stocking stuffer favorites, though I recommend having them washed and ready to wear so the recipient can put them on right away.
If you're still looking for stocking stuffers or perhaps coworker or hostess gifts for your favorite geeks, here are my suggestions. Geekend contributor Edmond Woychowsky also offers two gift ideas. (Also check out TechRepublic's 2010 Geek Gift Guide.)
Nicole's stocking stuffer selections
- Silly putty always goes over well, and the best part is that it needs annual replacement because it gets dirty and gross. Go for the fancy kind, like Super Magnetic Putty ($14) from Uncommon Goods.
- These robot and dinosaur temporary hand tattoo sets ($12) will help anybody keep the peace while they wait for the holiday dinner to cook.
- Every set of headphones in my house has simultaneously lost the soft spongy stuff that keeps the hard plastic from cutting into the side of your head. I got very excited when I found Crocheted Headphones ($35). Though they are on backorder until the beginning of January, I think it's worth ordering them now and putting a printed image of them in somebody's stocking. Say, somebody you love enough to want to save from head injuries, or who you wish would wear their headphones so you don't have to listen to the games they play.
- I favor giving things that are useful and get used. Everybody needs mailing supplies, and these bacon-flavored envelopes ($7) are sure to get used.
- Kids will love a robot stencil kit ($10).
- Pimp out somebody's geek ride with 20-sided fuzzy dice ($9.95).
- Williams-Sonoma has Star Wars cookie cutters ($19.95) and pancake molds ($19.95)! These are great stocking stuffers for every geek, whether young or old, male or female.
- ModCloth has really fun Artificial Intelligence Ice Cube Trays ($9.99). You could even give it to geeky kids to use as a mold for making other things (like robot-shaped crayons!).
- Check out Etsy for great stocking stuffers for the steampunk fan in your life. She's sure to love finding a great piece, like the Victorian Ride Locket Necklace ($20), wrapped in tissue paper, and hiding down in the stocking toe.
Edmond's stocking stuffer ideas
- Abby Normal Soap in a Jar is a good clean fun.
The 1974 film Young Frankenstein forever changed the landscape of horror movies. It was the tale of a, if not mad, then a manic scientist, his bumbling hunchback assistant, and the monster he created. This specimen of cinematic gold never got a sequel, but it did spawn numerous one-liners, including "If the monster got part of your wonder full brain, what did you get from the monster?" and "Abby someone, Abby normal." And now decades later, the film also spawned soap. Soap? Yes, soap!
Finally, available from the monkeys at ThinkGeek is brain-shaped Abby Normal Soap in a Jar ($19.99). The two glycerin soap cakes, er, brains actually smell rather pleasant; this either means that I like raspberries or that I'm a zombie — let me check the obituaries and get back to you.Even though I'm not one for fancy soap (and, no, that doesn't mean I'm a stranger to soap — it just means that I'd rather not smell like produce), I surrendered a brain to the resident soap geek. You can usually recognize soap geeks by their long hair and small feet and their tendency to say, "Thank you, doctor" when you're talking about door knockers.
- USB fan
Last June in Pennsylvania was the hottest on record, and July and most of August weren't much better. As for the fall, the nights are cool, but the air movement is better in a cave. To say that the air conditioning was overtaxed is like saying that water is wet. And, because the comfort of the servers is more important than the comfort of the people, let's just say that it would be stifling in the office if it wasn't for something that my wife found at Kmart: a USB fan from OceanAire ($8).
I'm not normally one for non-computer related USB gadgets like USB beverage coolers, USB beverage warmers, or USB Lava Lamps, although the jury is still out on the USB Rocket Launcher (what can I say, I'm the father of two), but the USB fan really came in handy. It's quiet, the angle is adjustable, and it comes in a stylish black finish.Unfortunately, I have not been able to find this fan online, so you'll have to look for it the next time you're at Kmart. Even if you cannot find the model that I own, it might be worth the money to try one if you can find it. Here are some other models: ThermalTake Mobile Fan II External USB Cooling Fan ($11.90), Kensington FlyFan USB Fan ($9.99), and SYBA USB Fan ($15.99).
More stocking stuffer ideas
- Space Food Sampler ($19.99)
- Star Wars 4GB Flash Drives ($39.99)
- Space Slug Oven Mitt ($19.99)
- Star Trek Classic Spock Ears ($3.99)
- Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter ($24.99)
- Despair Inc., 2011 Custom Calendar ($12.99)
- Simpsons Internet on Computer tee shirt ($12.99)
- Last-minute laptop stocking stuffers (from CNET News.com)
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.