Wealth of Geeks Holiday Gift Guide

While some folks shop year-round for the best gifts for their friends and family's birthdays and Christmases, at least 10% of shoppers wait until the last week before the big day to shop. This year, experts are predicting 158-million people will be celebrating the erstwhile holiday. December 24th is unofficially known as “Last-Minute Shopper’s Day.”

Especially with Amazon Prime next-day shipping, it's almost never too late to shop for gifts. So here are some of our top picks for interesting geeky gifts – many of which you can still pick up in the eleventh hour. Or perhaps plan ahead for the next birthday.

The Magic of Christmas by Robin Parrish

Image Credit: Robin Parrish

We'll start with this fun little read, written for YA readers, but well-told enough to appeal to adults. Parrish is the author of the Dominion trilogy and the Mythworks stories, and always weaves an excellent story that touches on themes of faith, science and science fiction, supernatural and fantasy. This short read is no exception, redefining many of the classic images of the season. St. Nicholas and the North Pole are our last defense against fantastical creatures. A blend of O. Henry's stories and Doctor Who Christmas specials, The Magic of Christmas gives you a taste of Parrish's storytelling – and I highly recommend his longer novels as well. Grab this easy read on Kindle or paperback.

Worldwide Experience Gifts – Ultimate Tinggly Voucher

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Image Credit: Tinggly.com

Writer Ben Rice thought this sounded like a great idea, especially for the more recent generations who prefer experiences over physical souveneirs. Tinggly is an experience gift box. The recipient chooses from one of the hundreds of thrilling experiences and delicious treats in over 100 countries around the world.

Tinggly hand-picked each of the hundreds of amazing experiences included in Ultimate collection gift box to ensure a diverse and comprehensive range of adventures, thrills, experiences and luxurious treats for everyone. From pampering spas and sunset dinner cruises to adrenaline-pumping bungee jumps and balloon rides, there’s something to suit all tastes.

Cinema in Flux – by Santa Barbara International Film Festival Executive Director Roger Durling

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Image Credit: SBIFF

This incredible coffee table book was created as a way to fundraise for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Theaters were shut down during one of the most difficult times in both the festival's and cinema's history, so SBIFF's Executive Director Roger Durling wrote the book to inspire, transport, and educate readers – all the while using cinema to give people hope during a time when so many had to re-evaluate life as we knew it.

Star Wars Electric Salt and Pepper Mill Grinder

Image Credit: Uncanny Brands

Our reporter Mary Helen Gillespie offered this as her suggestion. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a scruffy nerf herder just wanted his roasted porg to have an elevated flavor. So, he whipped out these electric salt and pepper mill grinders. The lightsaber hilt design of each grinder is a Jedi favorite, especially those partial to red and blue kyber crystals.

Star Wars fans will pine to have this culinary tool in their kitchen, which they’ll use while wearing their Darth Vader chest plate apron. Each grinder is fully electric and capable of pulverizing salt and pepper into a usable granule. Whether feeding a table of Wookies or hosting the Emperor for brunch, these grinders are essential.

Lone Wolf and Cub Blu-Ray

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Image Credit: Criterion Collection

If you're a fan of the adventures of The Mandalorian and Grogu, why not check out the, er, sources of inspiration for Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. This series of popular Japanese films originated as a manga by Kazuo Koike. Lone Wolf and Cub follows the shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), as he wanders the countryside — along with his infant son Daigoro. Seeking vengeance for his wife's death, he somehow always finds himself helping people – like a certain man in a beskar helmet we all know and love.

Beautiful Mind 90 Day Journal – Victoria Connell/Motherhood Life Balance

Beautiful Mind 90 day Journal
Image Courtesy of Motherhood Life Balance.

There's no better way to start the new year than with being more mindful and in the moment. Our minds create our reality, and with this book, you will be able to practice your daily gratitudes; I am affirmations and write out your to-do list every day. The Beautiful Mind journal helps you start each day with the right mindset and create a plan that allows you to feel happier and determined, all while getting things done. Following the 90 day program will leave you happier, more determined, and open to the wonders this life has to offer. It's also available in digital form!


Image Credit: Cinelinx.

One of my all-time favorite games (and I have an entire 6′ shelving unit packed solid with board and party games) is, sadly, sold out at this time. Although if you're desperate, you can download and print out a playable version from their website for free. The folks at Cinelinx are movie lovers and this game was designed by and for them. Imagine a mash-up of Mexican train dominoes and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and you'll get the idea.

Players start with the base model with 320 Cards including Actors, Directors, Movie Titles, Scenes, Quotes and Genres from the 80's to today. There are a few special Director's Cut Cards that alter the play in exciting ways too. There are also several genre-specific expansion packs – Horror, 80s, Blockbusters, Super Heroes, and Red Band (R rated). Now, if you're a fanatic like me, I got all of the expansions and the long box during their last Kickstarter campaign – giving me over 500 cards. I highly recommend this for your friends who worry they got MoviePass shut down or use up all their AMC A-List tickets every week.

Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration

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Image Credit: Atari Interactive

Okay, this one… Let's just say some of the guys at Boss Level Gamer give me a hard time for not being a video game fanatic. Or, I should say, a current video game fanatic. I still have the Atari 2600 that my dad brought home in the late 70s and a stack of cartridges almost as tall as me. Now you can experience the same thrill I had of defeating Space Invaders when they're milimeters from your gun turret, with 8 bit graphics – on XBox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch.

From the first release of Pong, Atari invented and then ruled the video game console space – until they didn't. This allows you to relive the classic – and not so classic – games the company put out over the last 5 decades. In addition, the Anniversary Collection has lots of behind the scenes stuff and timelines to teach the new generation about our sacred video gaming history. You'll still have to come by my place, though, if you want to try out the fabled ET game – it's not included in the 103 games in this set.

Required Film School Reading

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For the serious, serious film aficionado (note the double use of serious), I have three solid suggestions. They are definitely more textbook than light reading – even some film school students eschew them. But for a truly deep dive, here we go:

Now known more as the writer-director of Oscar Nominated First Reformed, Card Counter and Master Gardner, Schrader also penned or did rewrites on Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, and American Gigolo. But before he became a 70s screenwriting phenom, Schrader grew up in a Reformed Christian home and had not seen a single film ever til he went to college. His circumstances dictated Schraders' own transcendental filmmaking style, which he illuminates in this text on his most influential directors – Yasajiro Ozu, Robert Bresson, and Carl Dreyer. It's a tightly packed 192 pages of film analysis that's essential reading at many film schools.

Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino

Most of us know the story – Tarantino got his film school education working at the video store and has filled his own films with style and personal touches influenced by a myriad of cinema and cultural styles. Now, he expands on the sound bites from hundreds of interviews he's given with an in-depth analysis of the key American films of the 70s that most influenced him and moviemaking in general. A mixture of film criticism, film theory, and Tarantino's reminiscing about his personal history, it's also very readable, penned in the filmmaker's trademark vernacular.

The Female Gaze: Essential Movies Made by Women by Alicia Malone

There's a reason the start of the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame begins not with any star, but with four – a statue of the “four silver ladies” – Dolores Del Rio, Dorothy Dandridge, Mae West, and Anna May Wong. It may be hard to imagine now, in the post #MeToo days, that when filmmaking started, there were several women at the forefront who were just as important as Carl Laemmle, the Warner Bros., and Walt Disney. Malone's book takes a deep dive into the brilliantly talented and accomplished women directors, both world-renowned and obscure, who have shaped the film industry over generations.

Gocube Puzzle

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Image Credit: GoCube

It was almost inevitable. Since its invention in 1974, the Rubik's Cube has seen hundreds of knock-offs, different shapes and expanded versions. Now the physical cube puzzle game comes into the 21st century with GoCube. Not only can you work the physical cube, but you can sync with your smart phone to let you know how close you are to solving it, as well as play additional digital puzzle games. Not only can the bluetooth connection give you tips, it will literally teach you how to solve the cube, and enhance your skills in problem-solving, spatial awareness, memorization skills, and hand-eye coordination.

The Iron Giant: Signature Ultimate Collector’s Edition Movie

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Image Credit: Warner Home Video

Whether you saw this film in theaters or just know about it from friends and influencers, The Iron Giant is a classic not to be missed. And while you can score a blu-ray copy for under $10, why not splurge on the full-fledged gift set. Directed by Brian Bird before he did The Incredibles, and severely under-marketed, leading to low box office, this film remains a hidden gem for many. This tale of an unlikely friendship between an alien robot from outer space and a rebellious boy, his bedraggled mom, a paranoid government agent and a sympathetic beatnik all started with Bird asking the question – what if a gun became self-aware and decided it wanted to be more than a weapon?

Add in the voice talents of Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Christopher MacDonald, Eli Marienthal, and Harry Connick, Jr., and you have a great film. This Ultimate set comes with a collectible Iron Giant figurine, a letter from Brad Bird, a behind-the-scenes book and art cards, along with on-screen commentaries and featurettes.

Folding Book Lamp

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Image Credit: XIUDI

This is one of the items on my wish list. LED technology has gotten a lot cooler in the years since it was first introduced. From party lights to TV studio set-ups, and of course, Alexa- and Google-controlled bulbs, it seems there are no limits to what we can create. This item takes it a step further – a folding book lamp, that looks – and operates – like a book. This creative and functional piece of decor has eight different color settings and an automatic gradient mode. But the best part is the functionality – fan the “pages” open like a book, set it on its side, or fold the wooden covers together to sit on the table. And it runs for 3-4 hours without being plugged in. Get this one for the book lover in your life who falls asleep while reading – it's like a sleep timer for your book!


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Image Credit: Libellud

Take a cooperative strategy game, throw in several escape room elements, and a dash of Imposter (or Werewolf), and you have Obscurio. It's a family image-based communication game, with a secret role. One player is the Grimoire who guides the team toward the exit with clues. Everyone else is a Wizard, bent on deciphering the clues and avoiding illusions to escape the Sorceror's Library. There's only one catch – one of you is a Traitor looking to lead the other players astray. But that's not the hard part – the clues and images that “help” you escape are very detail-oriented. You'll want at least one member of your team that's good at scanning and decoding detailed imagery – and hope they're not the bad guy. Great for 2-8 players.

Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set

Image Credit: Kodansha Comics

You may remember the genre-defining movie from the late 80s (that they continue to threaten a live-action remake of), but did you know the most expensive animated film ever made was based on a series of Manga comics first published in 1982? Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal work, Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo in 2019, 30 years after a monstrous psychokinetic power known only as Akira launched World War III and obliterated the original Japanese city. Tetsuo and Kaneda's lives change forever when Tetsuo begins exhibiting paranormal abilities – putting him in the crosshairs of government officials and assassins who will stop at nothing to ensure he doesn't evolve into another Akira. It's a little pricey, but you get 2500 pages of a newer, more specific translation in six beautifully bound hardcovers, plus the Akira Club art book and an exclusive iron-on patch.

Now what are you waiting for? Time's running out – make your list and get to the store now!

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.