Gifts for a Loveable Nerd
September 16, 2013 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Lastminutegiftsfilter: My boyfriend's birthday is coming up soon, and I have no idea what to get him! We're both geeky but his interests run far more deep than mine do in terms of comic books and gaming and things like that. The problem is: he owns everything already! I plan on consulting with his roommate, who shares many of his interests, but I'd love some input from the hivemind on this. For reference, he's 28, works at a video company and we both live in Los Angeles.

Things he likes:
- video games, anything comic book or superhero-related (particularly Marvel and ESPECIALLY X-Men), film (especially horror/cult/b-movies), comedy, YouTube, Disney (he's obsessed with Disneyland). He also really likes putting geek-related art up in his house, especially if its vintage. Oh! And he loves football.

Things he already has:
A giant comic book collection, multiple subscriptions (video games, PS Plus, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc.), lots of geeky pop culture T-shirts, a few gaming consoles.

I would love to get him a piece of art or a perhaps a film club membership but they all seem so expensive. I'd love ideas if you can spare them. Thanks!
posted by themaskedwonder to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
How about a boardgame? I'd recommend Twilight Struggle which is the #1 game on Boardgame Geek, but for two players only. If you want to include some other people, than something near the top of this list is probably good.

Other games I like:

Puerto Rico
Settlers of Catan
Cards Against Humanity
Race for the Galaxy
7 Wonders
posted by backwards guitar at 10:48 AM on September 16, 2013

might not be exactly what you're looking for, but recently myself and all my nerdy friends have become board-game CRAZY.

Space Alert is like.. the most fun game ever if you all have pretty long attention spans are aren't too easily to anger (it's a co-op game, and is very fun and stressful and hilarious, and as long as no one has a bad temper is always a great time)
posted by euphoria066 at 10:49 AM on September 16, 2013

You can sometimes find old wall poster Disneyland maps on eBay. Speaking as a fellow Disneyland nerd, this was an awesome gift.
posted by town of cats at 10:49 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

For someone who has everything, an experiential gift might be just the thing. Perhaps football tickets, tickets to a film festival, something along those lines. Some of the best gifts I've received haven't been things but things to do with someone I love.
posted by tripledrop at 10:51 AM on September 16, 2013

Best answer: there are lots of artists selling prints of their game and comic related art, google around to find his favourite characters, then mount the print in a frame that goes with his decor.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:51 AM on September 16, 2013

He needs Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty. Seriously, it's way cool, pretty inexpensive and fun and nerdy.
posted by elendil71 at 11:01 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Map of the Verse. It's art, not expensive, and it's shiny.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:09 AM on September 16, 2013

How about some time together, where you support him doing something nerdy? You could take him to a board game club, or find a lazer tag place near you?
posted by The River Ivel at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2013

Best answer: Does he like the Muppets? Because I got the box set of the Muppet Show one year and it was pretty awesome-- also a Kermit plushie.

Maybe you could get a cel of his fave Disney film? Or you could just go to Disneyland together for his birthday? That would be pretty great.

Also, Think Geek is always great. Here are some geeky artwork ideas.
posted by Dimes at 11:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Things I have gotten for my uber-geek husband, as well as things that I told my mother to get for him when she called me and asked for advice on what to give. Perhaps they will spark ideas that fit your boyfriend's tastes:

--A print of an artwork he really liked for his birthday, then had it framed for Christmas.
--Random things off his Amazon wishlist. Which is always the default.
--An artbook for a video game he liked--he once mentioned in passing that he'd tried to find the book, but it was sold out. I filed that info away and searched for used copies on Amazon periodically, then bought it when one showed up at a decent price.
--A $50 gift card to a hardware store with the express instruction that it was to be put towards the drill of his dreams. (his old one was breaking down, and he couldn't convince himself to spend the money on a new one.)
--Better work gloves than the ones he had.
--A wifi-enabled probe thermometer for the grill.
--A vodka-infusing kit.
--A homemade gift certificate good for the cost of a tour at the local brewery and dinner afterward.
--Before we lived together, I replaced a lot of his really crappy kitchen equipment. (The cheaper stuff, like vegetable peelers and dish towels. I convinced him to buy good knives without saying anything about it by inviting him over to help me prepare dinner, putting my good knife in his hands, and telling him to cut the meat.)
--A sonic screwdriver that dispensed bubble bath.
--A gift subscription to
--Funky prints of R2D2 and Boba Fett that inexplicably turned up in a silent auction that an organization my mom works with was running.

Friends of ours once got him a bottle of Medea vodka, which has a programmable LED display.

I always make sure, if it's a gift that's really for us, instead of just him (like barbecue equipment or replacement kitchen stuff) or if it's something that I think he might like but aren't sure (like books I'm recommending), to give him a gift card to Amazon or Best Buy, so he can get something all for himself that he knows he likes. Also, on his birthday, I bake him some sort of dessert that he likes but that I hate: usually pies or bars that are key lime flavored, or any cake with strawberry or coconut in it.

(Stuff he got for uber-geeky me: a working miniature trebuchet, sleep headphones from ThinkGeek.)

This year's Christmas gift will probably be me asking the extended family if they'd be willing to go in on a weather station, as he really wants one, but the one he wants is way more spendy than he's willing to buy for himself.
posted by telophase at 12:07 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

He can't have everything, because there are So Many Things to have. In fact so many things that I can't answer your question.

But I can tell you how to figure it out, with a few possible options:

1) Pick an experience, e.g. play he'd like to see or convention he'd like to attend, and take him to that. Even if he's been before it'd be special, and special to go with you.

2) Pick an area he's interested in, but where you are right there with him, or know someone else (his roommate) who is. Then you can figure out what he owns about this subject (my current is a big Rubik's cube fan, and so I know which cubes he owns and can get him ones he *doesn't* yet have).

3) If what you mean by "he has everything" is he has everything that is reasonably priced, join up with some friends. A pal organized several friends to go in on a 3-d printer for her fiance, and he was pretty thrilled.
posted by nat at 12:31 PM on September 16, 2013

Best answer: A LootCrate Monthly subscription.
posted by bleucube at 12:37 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all of your answers! I decided to take one of the suggestions above and get him some comic book-inspired art from a gallery I found online that I think he'll really love. But I now have tons of ideas for Christmas and our anniversary :) (Oh, and I'm definitely checking out LootCrate for the future, too... thanks!)
posted by themaskedwonder at 3:12 PM on September 16, 2013

Also, I've found that if I bring up possible present ideas to him several months before the gift-giving occasion, just to feel him out about them, he tends to forget that I asked him about it by the time the occasion rolls around, so it's a surprise.

(This thought brought to you by my realization that I need to ask him what weather station he'd like to have in the next week or so, so that he will have forgotten about it by Christmas.)
posted by telophase at 8:50 AM on September 17, 2013

I gave my geeky husband a sphero--a robotic ball that interacts with a smartphone. He doesn't play it every day, but he does seem to really enjoy it. I've also given him a small rc helicopter, which was a big hit.
posted by pompelmo at 3:09 PM on September 17, 2013

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