About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Nerdy and Geeky Gifts Guide - Winter 2016 Edition

Whether you’re into Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogswatch or some other holiday, December is a big month for gift giving, and you need to do right by your nerdy friends. Sure, you could spring for a Loot Crate subscription, copies of Pokémon Sun and Moon, or an NES Classic (if you can find one), but those are the gifts you’ll find on any lame “Top 7 Geek Gifts” list thrown together by a news outlet with nary a nerd or geek on their staff.

You’re here because you want to show that you’ve dug deeper than Buzzfeed and the Toronto Star. You're here because you want to show you care!

So, here it is. The extra thoughtful Nerdy and Geeky Gifts Guide for 2016. Winter Edition!

Items in this list range from super affordable to fairly expensive, so you should be able to find something appropriate. I try to locate gifts suitable for nerdy and geeky people of all walks of life, but I’ve also tried to sort things a little bit to make it easier for you. I do not own all of these items, but I try to avoid suggesting things that get bad reviews. I won’t recommend something that I wouldn’t buy for my own friends.

You will notice a lot of coloring books on this gift list. They are trendy right now, but I also like the idea of a nerdy gift that isn’t technology based. Coloring books help you unplug and relax while enjoying something creative that you feel a connection with. This list doesn’t even scratch the coloring book surface, so if the nerd you have in mind is part of a particular fandom, try searching for “coloring book” and the fandom name in Amazon. Remember to get colored pencils or crayons while you’re shopping. 

Full disclosure: I am not selling any of these items myself, but if you use one of my links I get an affiliate reward, which helps pay for The Nerd Manual. But even if you don’t buy one of these items, I hope the list gives you some ideas for gifts that your nerd friends will love!

For Star Trek fans:
The wand company started out making replica wands, which are still fun, but they put a ton of effort into this replica communicator (pictured above) from the original Star Trek series, even sourcing an original prop from the show to start with! It’s not just a super accurate model, it’s a Bluetooth device that pairs with your smart phone so you can…you know…use it to communicate.  

Speaking of the original series Star Trek, old school fans can color their own adventures with The Original Series Adult Coloring Book, but if the nerds you know are a little younger, maybe they’d prefer The Next Generation Adult Coloring Book.  

Mega Bloks are known for doing highly detailed--if somewhat cartoony--replica pieces, and their Star Trek Bridge is a delightful set that includes highly poseable Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Sulu figures just waiting to go boldly in search of new worlds. 

For Star Wars Lovers:
The Hasbro Black Series is a line of highly detailed Star Wars toys that range in price from a few dollars for die-cast vehicles like Poe Dameron’s X-wing to more expensive (but still reasonably priced) replica light sabers

Roommates have easy-to-remove decals for your walls that depict pretty much all the Star Wars movies and TV shows including The Force Awakens and Rebels, as well as large decals of individual characters like Rey, Luke, and C3P0. They also have amazing large murals like this one of the Millennium Falcon

I haven't forgotten the Star Wars coloring books. There are tons of them, but I’m partial to Art of Coloring Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation.

For Video Gamers:
Recreate the Super Mario Bros Mushroom Kingdom, or design your own levels on your fridge with these colorful 8-bit-style magnets.  

Want to surprise your gamer friend? No one expects a Mass Effect coloring book

From arcade cabinets and home cartridges, to advertising and instruction manuals, Art of Atari collects 40 years of artwork from one of the most iconic companies in electronic gaming.

For Pokémon Aficionados:
Help your nerd friend collect all the Pokémon gym badges in real life!  

It’s cold this time of year, so keep your head warm with a Charizard or Pikachu hat. While you’re at it, keep your legs warm with these Pokéball leggings, which go great with either of the hats above.

For Doctor Whovians:
Follow the Doctor on his Travels in Time while you unwind and de-stress with this Doctor Who coloring book.

And what better place to keep your coloring equipment than a TARDIS backpack that actually looks like a TARDIS. It even has a key! Note: it’s kind of small…or is it?

With all that traveling and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, it can be confusing keeping up with everything in the universe. Fortunately, there’s Whographica: an Infographic Guide to Space and Time, the perfect book to help you keep it all straight.

For Comic Book Readers:
Do you know a serious comic book lover who seems to know every character in comics history? Well even the most die hard collector will discover a few unfamiliar characters in The League of Regrettable Superheroes, a book about some of the strangest heroes to grace the printed page.

If you'd rather sit down with your nerd and color your own comics, there are hundreds of comic book coloring books, so you can find one to fit the tastes of pretty much any fan. Some of my favorites are Harley Quinn, Deadpool, WonderWoman, and The Flash. There’s a whole series of ColoringDC books, and another series of Color Your Own Marvel books--one for pretty much all of the big name heroes.

If you don’t want to put your comic book coloring gear in a TARDIS backpack, check out this retro-print Marvel Comic Backpack, or if you’d rather have a one shoulder bag they make an equally impressive retro-print Marvel messenger bag. Of course, putting your Harley Quinn coloring book in a Marvel bag might cause a rift in spacetime, so consider this Harley Quinn styled backpack as an option.

For Book Lovers:
Literati Club have a nice collection of literary themed items such as an amazingly decorated Poe’s “The Raven” umbrella, a Dracula literary scarf, and a Sherlock Holmes literary scarf (although Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t on it).

I found a delightful purse that looks like a large,leather-bound book  and comes in blue, red, or black, however I’m surprised there aren’t more items like this. Here’s my million-dollar suggestion to you crafty types out there: make some purses, bags, and backpacks that look like old books!

Generally Nerdy and Geeky Things (use your best judgment):
If there’s a fridge in your nerd’s life but no love for Mario, consider the sci-fi edition set of magnetic poetry.
Anki Overdrive Racing lets you race cars on a real track using an augmented reality app on your smart phone. You can configure the tracks in a multitude of ways and add on cars and track elements to customize your setup and race your friends.

Glow in the dark skull key covers in different colors help identify keys at night and make a better conversation starter than a shopper's card. (I feel like I’m leaving out the horror nerds because apart from the anatomy coloring book, this is pretty much the most horrific item on my list. I promise to do better next time!)

For studious nerds who need to de-stress, you might consider a field appropriate coloring book such as ChemicalStructures or Anatomy.

Q Workshop makes a full complement of luxury gaming dice and genre appropriate bags in which to carry them. Prices range from a very affordable Celtic knot drawstring bag to a lavish, metal set of Dwarven themed gaming dice.

If you know a tinkerer or programmer, they might enjoy programming the Raspberry Pi starter kit. It’s a very small computer that they can program to do pretty much anything from streaming movies to playing retro arcade games. Mr. Robot used a Raspberry Pi to hack a data storage facility, but I don't condone using any of these gifts for illegal activities.

OK, here are my last coloring book suggestions, but they’re sure to be a hit with Game of Thrones or Firefly fans. The Serenity coloring book is not surprisingly the #1 best seller in adult coloring books.

If you know someone who regularly misplaces things, the Tile Mate Anything Finder pairs with your smartphone and attaches to pretty much anything. If you lose it, just tap the app to make the tile ring. If you misplace your phone, just squeeze a tile to make the phone ring. You can even tap into a global community to help you find your lost things.

Teenage Engineering has a line of Pocket Operator synthesizer/sequencers that are inexpensive, portable, and perfect for anyone who’s interested in experimenting with electronic music. The PO-12 drum machine fits in your pocket but contains 16 drum sounds, a 16-step sequencer with chainable patterns, and 16 effects. The whole Pocket Operator line can sync to one another so you can set up an entire synth band.  

That’s all I've got for now. I hope I've given you some ideas, or at least a starting place. Leave me a comment if you are looking for some specific suggestions I haven’t covered and I’ll try to help.

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