Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes to find out exactly what to get that serious cook, or golf dad, or picky teen girl in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or, at least, a very helpful starting point. Today, ten self-proclaimed nerds (from a MacArthur genius to a comics historian) on the gifts they want for the holidays.
“Like everyone else, I always have too many tabs open in my browser, but I also have too many books open on my desk. One of these bamboo book stands would make my year. In fact, I think I need four (and a bigger desk).” — Mignon Fogarty, creator of Grammar Girl and founder of Quick and Dirty Tips
“When it’s winter (and to be honest, when the air conditioner is blasting in the summer), I always wish my office chair could feel like my heated seat in my car. Also, I think I have my best ideas when I’m warm and relaxed (my colleague used children’s washable bath crayons to write on the shower wall for this reason). So a big holiday wish would be for a heated office chair like this one.” — Betsy Levy Paluck, 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow
“I want this awesome Game of Thrones cutting board, because I’m trying to cook at home more, and winter is coming, obviously!” — Stephanie Durkacz, scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“In celebration of Jack Kirby’s centennial, the new edition of the Fourth World omnibus would be something amazing to have and display. The Fourth World omnibus is the largest single collection of Kirby’s Fourth World epic to ever be compiled together in one place. It’s all been published before, but broken up into volumes that are hard to track down and mostly out of print, so the chance to have it all in one giant tome is something I’d absolutely love to take advantage of. I’m a comics historian and journalist, so my interest in Kirby’s work runs deep, and the idea of getting to display it as a thousand-plus page hardcover is really exciting.” — Meg Downey, superhero fan who writes about superheroes and comics history at CBR.com and DCComics.com
“What If, from the creator of XKCD Randall Munroe — a webcomic geared toward physicists, computer scientists, and mathematicians — tries to answer ridiculous hypothetical questions with wit and accurate scientific information. I love this guy’s webcomics, and there’s nothing more nerdy than arguing over stupidly impossible hypothetical questions with real ire and intensity.” — Jeff Maltas, Ph.D. candidate in biophysics at the University of Michigan
“Also Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones and an Audible subscription: I work a job where I spend many hours alone in a science lab with no windows. Audible is an amazing way to pass the time while getting work done, and the Bose QC 35 are a miracle: top-of-the-line noise-canceling, wireless headphones and amazing sound fidelity.” — Jeff Maltas
“I want the DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal Starters Bundle. I’m on the go as press at a lot of events, both Comic-Cons and film festivals. Having light video equipment to film interviews and red carpets is very practical for me!” — Jamie Broadnax, founder and editor-in-chief of Black Girl Nerds