Happy Holidays, beloved geeks!
This year’s Geekadelphia Holiday Gift Guide spotlights a lot of great items from talented, local people. From letter presses to local authors, comic book shops to video games, we’ve got a little bit of everything.
Have a look, and support local Philadelphians and their work. If you’ve got some additional picks, feel free to leave them in the comments!
Snowflake Coasters at Black Heart Letter Press (Pictured Above): Nothings says the holidays like handcrafted coasters from our friends over at Black Heart Letter Press. These brilliant local printmakers have designed beautiful coasters. Using old-time techniques and some of the most steampunk equipment you’ve ever seen, they are able to create just about anything out of ink and paper you can imagine. To find out more about them, you can check out our interview with Joseph Rose.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, you can be sure your coffee table will be protected in style with a set of these coasters. Plus, if you place all four together, they’ll look damn good under a giant bottle of Mad Elf. You can order these, or any other printed pieces from their website. – Christopher Urie (@chrisurie)
Magical Gifts at South Street Magic: Bad news everyone, Santa is not real. But the magic at South Street Magic is definitely real. They sell magic tricks, magic books, magic DVDs, and anything magical (except for unicorns). The staff is happy to demonstrate amazing feats and it doesn’t matter if you have been naughty or nice. Get that aspiring wizard in your life something that will keep the magic going all year long. - Jon Santos (@saint_jon)
Awesome Books By Local Authors: Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through by Anna Goldfarb, better known as Shmitten Kitten, is a pillar of the Philadelphia geek community. Her recently-released first book, Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through, is now available from Penguin Books. Show her that you care about her misadventures in dating and acting like a “normal” thirtysomething!
Local artist and writer Phil Kahn is the co-founder of the popular webcomic Guilded Age. Last year, he, T. Campbell, and Erika Henderson released its first print edition, Guilded Age: Volume One, which collects the webcomic’s first six chapters. Additionally, the creators’ online store allows you to buy everything from tshirts to stickers.
It has been quite a year for West Philly’s Locust Moon Comics. First, they moved into their expansive, event-heavy new digs on 40th Street. In October, they teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to release Once Upon a Time Machine, an anthology of science fiction fairy tales. Finally, a welcome relief to the sensationalized (and partially Disney-fied) rhetoric that has been recently spit out by Marvel and DC Comics! What’s more, you get to support your local comic book retailer in the process!
Former Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Brad Guigar collects some of his most memorable works in Phables: Who Needs Trees When You Have Green Awnings. Unlike most of the black-and-white strips run by the Inquirer and other local newspapers, Guigar’s work is an excellent, humorous look at slices of life in the two years he spent in Philadelphia. During its run, the work was nominated for an Eisner Award. – Mike Fenn (@mikecovers)
Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan: Perfect for your chef friends, Marisa’s wonderful cookbook from local publisher Running Press is a gorgeous book full of beautiful photography and stunning recipes.
Need more evidence? Check out her blog for plenty of sample recipes, pictures, and brilliant insight into her passion. No one does canning quite like Marisa. There’s a reason she has a book out. Pick it up in stores anywhere. – Eric (@ericsmithrocks)
Gift Certificates To Your Fav Local Comic Shop: And their modern-day successor, the infamous gift card, do not begin and end at international chain retailers. Many geeky businesses in and around Philadelphia offer shoppers who don’t know quite what to get the geek in their life gift certificates.
Why settle for a gift card from some drab restaurant, convenience store, or department store whose value will ultimately decline on a monthly basis? Why punish someone (and yourself, for that matter) with one of those gift cards sponsored by major credit card companies, which require activation fees and are usually met with “uh, we don’t take those here” from retailers? The following area comic book stores offer gift certificates.
- Atomic City Comics
- Fat Jack’s Comicrypt
- Brave New Worlds (both locations)
- Locust Moon Comics
- South Philly Comics
- Showcase Comics (both locations)
Tickets To Upcoming Conventions: What could make a better stocking stuffer than tickets (or at least the ticket confirmation page printed out from your computer) to an upcoming convention?! Ensure that you will have a friend with whom to explore the dealers’ areas, panel rooms, and costume contests of upcoming 2013 cons.
All of the area conventions allow you to place your recipient’s name onto the badge even though the price is coming from your credit card. Additionally, since many conventions are still months away, you will be paying a reduced ticket price. This holiday season, share with your special someone the gift of aching feet!
- Kotoricon (January 2013)
- Monster Mania (March 2013)
- Zenkaikon (March 2013)
- Wizard World East (June 2013)
Curiosities from Requiem: If you’re looking for a truly unique gift, head to Requiem, right off South St at 603 S 9th St. Self-touted as a morbid curiosity shop, Requiem features many unusual gifts such as taxidermied animals, jewelry made from small animal skeletons and antique medical equipment to name just a few. For that person on your list that loves the macabre and the odd, Requiem has something that will be sure to delight!
Vintage Gear from Sazz Vintage: And what is holiday shopping without getting a little something for yourself? If an ugly Christmas sweater party is on your agenda then be sure to check out Sazz Vintage in Old City. They have a wide assortment of the most gaudy, hideous, sweaters and you can even order online! Sazz is located at 60 N 3rd St, between Market and Arch. - Mary (@PhillyGeekMary)
Diabolik DVD and The House of Mysterious Secrets: My picks are two local online retailers that are both based in Philadelphia. If you have been to a local horror convention or 35mm screening at the iHouse no doubt you have probably run into the gentleman who run Diabolik DVD, Jesse Nelson and Joseph Gervasi. They also just happen to make up half of the Exhumed Films crew as well.
The House of Mysterious Secrets on the other hand, is run by another local horror fan Kevin who was a featured Geek of the Week back in 2009.
Visit their official websites, and support a great local retailer.
Film Memberships: And of course don’t forget to support local Philly film and make a film lover you know happy by giving them a either a membership at the iHouse or the Philadelphia Film Society. – Dan (@danthefan)
Local Indie Comic Books: Whether you are looking for intimate stories (Christian Patchell’s “I Put the Can in Cancer”), reflections upon childhood heroes (Chicago transplant Annie Mok’s downright huggable Jim Henson tribute “Stitching Together”) or ruminations on religion/death (Box Brown’s “Everything Dies”), these offerings from people in your neighborhood are full of the types of insight and great art.
Value priced between $5-10, all of these comics make perfect stocking stuffers whose insights will stick with you long after the buzz of spiked egg nog has worn off. – Chris Cummins (@bionicbigfoots).
Locally Developed Video Games: Our buddies Cipher Prime put out some amazing titles. Splice. Auditorium. Pulse. Fractal. Take your pick!
Browse through their website, and go ahead and gift a few to your friends.
Jewelry by Allison Huesgen: I think the first time I stumbled upon Allison Huesgen’s jewelry was at a West Philly craft fair in 2009—I saw her table covered in colorful chrysanthemum stud earrings and basically sprinted across the room. Bijoux By Allison is a line of unique and (ridiculously) affordable earrings, necklaces, and hair accessories featuring floral resin cabochons and vintage Czech glass gems. Particularly awesome pick: the Bijoux Luxe antiqued locket ring adorned with your choice of mum or flower bouquet charm for $13.
Doctor Sweet Tooth Bath Products: Indulgent bath products make great stocking stuffers, and Doctor Sweet Tooth kills it. Lotion bars, sugar cube scrubs, and bath bombs to rival Lush are made to order in the scent of your choice: red velvet cake, Play-Doh, absinthe, plus countless others including some traditional scents and pure essential oils.
Zack Zylkin’s Upcycled Typewriters: They function as computer keyboards or iPad docks and retail for $700-$800, but he also offers two great DIY kits for $54-$74. If someone on your list is a combination typewriter geek/tech freak, this would make an amazing gift. Visit his shop on Etsy.
BlueToad Journals of Tremundo: Moleskine is fine and all, but why drop extra cash on a name when we have a brilliant handbound book seller right here in Philadelphia? BlueToad Journals of Tremundo makes stunning blank journals that are basically wrapped in art. Check them out on Etsy.
Or, if all else fails, get them a share from Little Baby’s Ice Cream’s first annual Deep Winter C.S.I.C.S.S. (Community Supported Ice Cream Subscription Service) and ensure they’ll never be wanting for pints during the colder months. You should probably sign yourself up too. You know, just to be safe. – Michelle (@ixshelle)