We all have that one friend that spends all their time in the library, so much so that you’ve almost called the police a few times worrying about their safety. They thrive on caffeine and her dedication to her classes inspires you in your own life. Their interests go way beyond a healthy knowledge of sci-fi and trivia. But you’re not going to get them another textbook for their birthday, so what’s the other option?
Check out these 15 nerd gifts Sheldon Cooper would approve of.
Sometimes, vodka is the best medicine to cure your college woes. With an exam on the horizon and one night to go crazy, the doctor ordered alcohol as pain reliever. This geeky flask shows you’re not just a basic party girl.
2. Disney cups
Coffee and tea taste better when you drink it out of a cute mug. When you cram all night for your upcoming chem exam or you’ve caught the latest disease outbreak in the freshman dorm and need some tea to soothe your throat, Disney mugs will make it better. “My boyfriend got me stackable Disney mugs for Christmas. I’m a huge ‘disnerd’ and the mugs are adorable. I drink a lot of tea so they’re the perfect gift,” said University of Maryland sophomore Lauren Anikis. Be proud of your Disney obsession.
Sure, the average nerd owns the Harry Potter series. But do they have the special cover art version? “My grandma bought me a set of all seven Harry Potter books with the original United States cover art when I was a kid. I’ve read them so many times that two of them actually ripped in half because the spine was so worn, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them,” said UMD sophomore Sara Sopher. The nerd you love will keep this gift while muttering “It’s Wingardium LeviOsa, not LevioSA!” for life.
Maybe you’ll actually workout if your class clothes can transition to the gym without a trip home. This “mind over matter” tank will take you right from your honors engineering classes to the weight room. The double meaning of the saying makes for the perfect transition from a difficult exam to a tough day in the gym. You can actually feel confident wearing this saying on a tank, unlike cheesy t-shirt sayings from Forever 21.
If your love burns stronger than Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s, you and your significant other might be worthy of wearing these nerdy rings. They read, “My Sun and Stars,” and “Moon of my Life.”. But be careful: You don’t want your partner to think you’re popping the question when you just want to get your nerd on.
Wear the entire existence on your legs. The galaxy print is totally in and even your trendiest nerd will love to put these on. Go from classes to a rave and have your next existential crisis from just looking down at the entire universe on your lower half.
Board games scream nerd. Every geek loves a rowdy game night. This game will have every player yelling in frustration and excitement when an exploding kitten appears in the center. Three to six friends can play. Players fight to stay in the game as long as possible before running into that dastardly card. If you don’t have any cards to protect yourself from the cat bomb, you’re out. Watch out—your competitive friend will tear you apart in this game.
Your fried rice suddenly becomes an outer space battle with light saber chopsticks. Don’t mind the people staring while you act out an epic saga with your new gift. Only fellow nerds will understand. Eating Chinese food has never come close to matching the excitement of actually watching the Star Wars saga—until now.
Is Spock answering the phone or you? People won’t be able to tell with this creative iPhone case, which disguises your ear with a pointy one instead. This phone case surprises strangers and friends and makes for a great conversation starter. However, people might be confused when they first see a phone lying on a table in the library with a giant photo of an ear.
For kids, a fresh package means lots of bubble wrap to stomp on. Or was that just me? Either way, a bubble wrap calendar makes living worthwhile, because each day you survive means another satisfying bubble pop. Not to mention, the calendar looks aesthetically pleasing in the dorm room of any nerd. Rather than using boring Google Calendar or a simple wall calendar, guests will have fun walking in and popping the bubble of the day on your wall.
If you spend the day poring over the news, show you care about the state of the world through this T-shirt. This New Yorker t-shirt basically screams: “I read a sophisticated magazine.” But don’t worry: It shows you have a playful side too. Kitties and reading the news combines your smart side and your soft side.
12. Einstein Wallet
UMD Sophomore Jake Taub may be a super nerd, but the only (read: best) nerdy gift he owns is an Einstein wallet. Who better to trust with all your cash and cards than Einstein himself? The OG nerd is the perfect face to display on your wallet. “I got it from my dad and I like to have it as an expression of my personality, even if it’s not fashionable,” Taub said. Sometimes, you gotta sacrifice fashion to show people you know that E=MC^2.
Bulbasour doesn’t only exist in the Pokemon world. In real life, nerdy plant experts can replace Bulbasaur’s plant hump with potted succulents. What better way to display your plants than a tribute to a favorite character from childhood? These nerdy figures can make any dorm room look unique.
Photos of friends and family in your room can cheer you up no matter how stressful your day was. If you’re obsessed with your pet dog, go above and beyond and personalize a calendar with dog photos. “I have a personalized calendar with pictures of my dogs according to the theme of the month. Like, the winter months are snowy pictures, February is buzzy with a Valentines Day balloon,” said UMD sophomore Tilly Comblatt. Not only is doing a photoshoot with your dog hilarious, the calendar will make you laugh daily.
Your dorm room might not resemble the glitzy halls filled with chandelier and gold silverware that set the stage for Gatsby’s infamous 20’s parties, but you can at least dream about them under your Gatsby duvet cover. While some used SparkNotes for this classic high school read, others, like you, found the deeper meaning. Falling asleep never felt so easy before Gatsby tucked you in.
10 More Gifts for Nerds that Will Make You the Watson to Their Sherlock
Written by Lawrence Scales
Many “nerds” also consider themselves artists. Being in a community means supporting that community. For a lot of people, that means financially, too. Support the artists on Etsy for a gift that shows you care about their living and your friend’s interests. “I love the types of unique pieces you can find by small artist on sites like Etsy,” senior Holly Zimmerman said. “I love those types of things that not only show someone understands what I enjoy and get excited about, but they go to some lengths to understand it themselves and find something really unique.” On specific gifts she wanted, Holly brought up a necklace that she’s seen on the site for one of her favorite shows, BBC’s Sherlock. “I once found this amazing Sherlock necklace that someone handmade… It was the apple that Moriarty carved ‘I O U’ into.”
Think Legos are just for kids? Some of us like building with plastic blocks no matter our age. “[I want] superhero-themed Legos. They have my favorite characters and often iconic scenes. Legos just appeal to a lot of people’s nostalgia,” said student Kevin Tran. “To be honest Legos would be a lot easier for friends and family to get me instead of the many ‘What comic book should I buy you?’ or ‘Do you want pop figures?’” Think of Legos as the gift that keep on giving. The nerd in your life will look forward to you giving a new part of a set or franchise. Some Lego builders will keep their collection behind glass and others will store for safekeeping to give to their future kids.
Like time travel in a cup, coffee seems to get you through your morning at warp speed. The Doctor Who superfan in your life clearly needs a mug that shows the famous time machine phasing in and out of space as the mug gets hot. Many a nerdy YouTube show sports a fandom mug on their desks, and a home of culture consumers is hard to find without one. Regardless of your friend’s latest fandom, they’ll always need a mug for coffee or tea.
I have them, you have them, that weird guy at your job who smells like a Lady Footlocker has them. I’m talking about figurines! Well, maybe you don’t own one, but your nerdy friend may want one to add to their horde. My mantra is and will remain: I’ve succeeded in life when I find a job that lets me keep figurines on my desk. “I really want the Camp Camp and [these] Gorillaz figures,” said Moore College of Art & Design senior Ollie Caracio said. “I want the Gorillaz figures to complete my collection but they’re so expensive. Then I like David and Max from Camp Camp even though they aren’t that great quality.” This serves as a word of warning for you, gift giver: Beware of scams. There are a number of reliable websites to get good quality and fairly priced figures at, but in the end, your best bet is the local comic book shop or specialty store.
Tea and organic food finally came back in vogue at the same time. Know a Star Trek fan? Try a tea infuser shaped like the Enterprise. Or for something a little darker, there’s this tea infuser shaped like skull and bones. If you carry too many loose tea leaves in the house and want to swap that crummy tea bag for something fancier, pick up one of these for yourself too.
DnD, or Dungeons and Dragons for those not in the know, isn’t just a weird tabletop game the kids on Stranger Things play. The game remains hugely popular despite your parents growing up with it, and saw a recent surge of popularity with podcasts like The Adventure Zone. Every player needs this players manual or player’s handbook; it contains stats, information about the fantasy races of the D&D world and information on dice rolls. You can’t really play a game without one. For broke tabletop players, a fancy hardcover edition of one of these babies would make their day and their bookshelf. And with online options, buying it doesn’t have to break your wallet either. You can also buy player’s manuals at most gaming stores or comic shops.
Your favorite STEM major, emphasis on the S, finds time to pull their nose out of the latest article about some biology discovery to pour themselves a cool drink. Protect their apartment surfaces with a set of coasters that they’ll actually remember to use. Check out these awesome ones with a slice of the human heart modeled in each. When stacked, they form a complete heart. “I love anything that looks like a real heart. Must be red and I can identify all of the arteries and veins coming out of the heart,” biochem student Thinh Nguyen said. “It’s because I love the heart a lot and I’m interested in medicine.” What better reason do you need?
Step one: find out which show or movie series your friend adores. Step two: purchase an HD set of DVDs online or in the DVD section of the Walmart (yes, big chain stores still sell DVDs). Step three: success. Whether it’s awful B movies, like the Sharknado series—which you can find in packs, or online—Battlestar Galactica, Charmed, this entire set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or every James Bond movie. A box set or set of Blu Rays is as nice for collecting as it is for watching. No Netflix account needed.
Comics are like potato chips; you can’t eat just one chip and you can’t just read one comic in a good sitting. Anthologies condense your favorite works of one genre, publisher or author into one book. I recently got one for free at a giving library made up of first volumes for books from the same publishers, with stories like Ghost and The Walking Dead. Your favorite nerd will fly through the pages and easily find ore to put on their wishlist. Pick one up at the comic shop or simply head to any book store that has a “graphic novel” section.
“It’s hard to rationalize spending money on myself, but I’ll absolutely spend $7 on a used hardcover copy of a book I really like,” said Stahl. This rings true for a lot of nerds: sure, you’ll spend $100 on that glass glow light saber at the convention, or $40 on that coveted figure. But when it’s time to ask for gifts, you often feel at a loss. Nerds love to read and they will find a great new novel when a gift card gives them an excuse to spend at Barnes and Nobles. They consistently sell quality comic books, novels and even fun nerdy gifts like planners and series memorabilia like Harry Potter wands. When all else fails, you can never go wrong with a gift card to the right place.
**Updated on July 26, 2018 by Lawrence Scales to include 10 more gifts