Danielle Dorky lists her top literature- and music-inspired gifts to give to dorky family members and loved ones this holiday season.
It should come as no surprise that, as a self-proclaimed bibliophile and music nerd, I have a special weakness for ordinary items spun with a dorky twist. Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means we’re already knee-deep in the holiday season, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect to begin perusing for presents.
So with that in mind, I’ve created a holiday gift guide that is sure to impress even the choosiest of dorks, with items ranging from a sainted bell hooks candle to vinyl record clocks. I’ve done my best to highlight small businesses on this list, and would encourage you, whether it’s via this list or other means, to search out and shop small this holiday season.
1. Sainted Writers Candles
Just about every writer and bookworm has an author they revere, for whom even a Pulitzer Prize doesn’t seem enough recognition. The Sainted Writers Etsy shop makes “Prayer candles for writers, by a writer,” and includes notable figures such as James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Neil Gaiman, and more. Don’t see your preferred poet on the list? Michelle, the shop owner, is happy to discuss custom requests. Write by the candlelight of Chuck Palahniuk or Margaret Atwood, and know that in doing so you’re helping another writer realize their dream!
2. The Vinyl Eaters Record Clocks
By now, we’ve all seen the overpriced and easily imitable vinyl record bowls, but what about upcycled vinyl record clocks that recreate album covers and iconic pop culture scenes? The Vinyl Eaters Etsy shop does just that, paying homage to historic album covers such as Abbey Road by The Beatles and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. But the dorky doesn’t stop there, they also have records with silhouettes of the Bob’s Burgers crew, The Simpsons, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
3. From the Page Soy Literature-Inspired Candles
If you’re a candle enthusiast looking for a stronger scent to write by, look no further than From the Page Etsy shop. Take a whiff of their soy candles with literature-inspired scents like “Dobby’s Socks” and “Daenerys’ Dragons.” The candles will run you $10 a pop, but the shop also offers lip balms at $3.50 each for the more frugal shopper. With adorable packaging and the option to bundle and mix-and-match scents, you can easily grab gifts for all the dorks in your life!
4. Punk Author Coaster Sets
Price: Normally $20, currently $14 on sale
If the prim and proper images of Jane Austen never seemed to you to truly encapture the badassness of her writings, take a look at Out of Print’s Punk Author Coaster set, which outfits some of literature’s biggest names in spike collars, black eyeliner, and anarchist drabs. The set features Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Austen, and Franz Kafka all looking appropriately angst-ridden and ready to blend in at any Black Flag concert.
5. Ticket Stub Diary
It’s not uncommon for me, when rifling through my bedside dresser, to pull out old ticket stubs and programs, no doubt stuffed in there with the intention to preserve and almost immediately forgotten. The ticket stub diary is the perfect gift for the avid concert goer, allowing them to keep their tickets in pristine condition while also keeping record of their awesome concert adventures. It can also be used for storing plane tickets, movie tickets, and any assortment of your most memorable ticketed events.
6. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
I’m not going to lie, I strategically added this gem to the list with the hope that one of my reader pals might think to swipe it for me. I love a custom cocktail as much as the next gal, and adding that dorky component only makes imbibing it that much sweeter. In addition to literary context, the book also provides fun drinking games, whimsical illustrations, and bar bites to prepare with your cocktails. Bring it to your next book club meeting as a subject-appropriate distraction!
7. Wasted and Wounded Musician Eye Test Charts
If you’re looking to add some character to your walls, look no further than Wasted and Wounded Etsy shop’s eye test charts, which feature the popular singles, member names, and common epithets of your favorite musicians and bands like David Bowie, James Brown, and The Velvet Underground. A little on the pricey side, but in addition to testing your vision, this signature piece is guaranteed to garner praise at all your post-holiday parties.
8. Existential Coloring Book
This 24-page coloring book, which includes activities ranging from existential connect-the-dots to drawing in Jean-Paul Sartre’s thoughts, is meant for the chronic overthinker or philosophy enthusiast. Filled with dark quotes from popular philosophers and nonsensical animal-people to color in, this is the perfect gift for your Scroogey, anti-holiday friend who secretly still wants a gift.
What dorky items are you coveting this season and which ones on this guide will make your wish list? Do tell!