2010 gift guides: revenge of the nerds!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but NERDS. ARE. BACK. Actually, we nerds have always been here, I’ll have you know. It just so happens that right now we are basking in the warm glow of acceptance. As someone who still has cafeteria-stress dreams, I can’t be thankful enough . . . although this news is like, 14 years overdue. The damage was done.

So guess what? Chances are pretty good that you are a nerd, you love a nerd or a nerd loves you. Compute those crazy stats in your head and then hopefully you’ll want to browse through this guide for great gift ideas. I tried to find some lovely things that would suit various nerd vices, so fantasy, sci-fi, techie and scholarly gifts abound, all passed through the filter of good design.

Who knows? If everyone gives a nerdy (chic!) gift this year, maybe the whole world will soon become one big Redshirt-loving, Quidditch-playing, LARP-ing geeky lovefest :) Happy Holidays, Nerds! — Kate

Image above: 1. Sectional Globe, $60; 2. Vintage Wire Sculpture Kit, $16; 3. Poppy Recycled Cotton Socks, $19; 4. Molecule Set, $80; 5. Luddite Parakeet Pipe Pillow, $70; 6. Black Amphibolite Specimen, $35; 7. Moby Dick Fleece Sweatshirt, $38; 8. Cricket Bowtie, $65; 9. Herman Miller Walnut Top Set, $149

Image above, left: Geometry Post-Its, $8; right: Bone China Skeleton Plates, $187

Image above: 1. Chocolate Pie Chart, $20; 2. Pop Quiz Backpack (in Mauve), $65; 3. Ceramic Chemistry Flask (small), $30; 4. Stripe Earmuffs, $65; 5. Vintage Plaid Thermos, $8; 6. Pocket Ringbooks, $15; 7. Four Eyes USB Drive, $32; 8. Unicorn Cashmere Wool Throw, $392; 9. Orange Prize Ribbon, $10; 10. Pictorial Webster’s, $35

CLICK HERE for the rest of the gift guide after the jump!

Image above: 1. Kiel Mead Birdie Light, $50; 2. Illuminated Remote Control Moon, $45; 3. Themis Mobile, $27; 4. Aloha Print Necktie, $83; 5. Clocky (in Coco), $39; 6. Wildflowers Calendar, $40; 7. BlueiQ Miniature Ecosystem, $90; 8. Small Diamond Bowl (in Mango), $120

Image above, left: Periodic System Wall Stickers, $90; right: Topographical Card Set, $16


Is it weird that none of the AC’s guys gifts yesterday seemed like my boyfriend, but ALL of these do?


I’d nearly forgotten about Out of Print – they’ve added a bunch of new stuff since I’d last visited!

I’m also a big fan of ThinkGeek for nerdy gifts. My husband and I ordered a couple gifts from there this year, plus we own the doormat that says “Welcome” in binary code, and I think there might be a “talking” TARDIS cookie jar in our future… :-)

Anna @ D16

Maureen, I was just thinking the EXACT same thing!! This is the stuff my husband wants (okay, and me too).

But we’re both nerds. :)


I’m with Anna and Maureen… I’m the guy who wants all of the things on this list!!! Great compilation! That Hindsvik etsy shop is full of cool stuff!


Had a love-at-first-sight moment with the above Moby Dick sweatshirt so I rushed over to Out of Print. Much to my delight, they ALSO have an equally amazing Catcher in the Rye sweatshirt, which I just bought. Thanks for the killer gift guide!

Aidan Liggins

These gift ideas are great! I love to see the ‘nerdy’ style is making a comback. I think that designs and products with a nerdy or scientific link are going to be big this coming year! I’ll just have to dig my Harry Potter glasses out.


I wish I were rich so I could buy those skeleton plates ($187) for my orthopoedist.


aw, I love your nerd examples, especially Liz and Buster! Swooning over those skeleton dishes and mobile!


You forgot to mention the all important tidbit that nerds rule the world!! I think that’s my vintage plaid thermos from 6th grade!!

Olives and Daisies

love the skeleton plates, but a little pricy! But such cute ideas and I love the design sponge gift guides – they are full of good ideas, you should do a pet lover’s gift guide!

Emily Fitzhugh

Oh I love your gift guides. My two favorites are those wonderfully colorful socks and the Molecule set. I keep seeing it in photos but didn’t know where it came from. Thank you!!


was looking over the stuff and kept saying to myself how much I liked this and that (esp the molecule set & geometry post-its) when it occurred to me that you had the word NERD titled in the post….spot on. thanks. it’s totally me.


this is nerd-tastic!!!
bow tie, mobile, ear muffs(!)
truly nerdoriffic.


Fab choices! I actually own the light-up moon. It shows the different moon phases, and when it’s not in use, looks like a cool art installation on the wall above my writing desk.

P.S. This week I just had the realization that there’s a fine line between hipster and nerd! I’ve never been more proud to be a nerd in my life.


Uh oh, just found out…I’m a huge NERD! Loved it all and even have a few of the items. One of the best round-ups for sure!


seriously out of the box, way to go for the holidays, love it!! i’ve been looking for nerd chic frames but haven’t found a great one yet, any tips?


I have that moon and it’s wonderful! Remote control and it runs through the phases! Can you name all them??


Although I am glad that “nerd” style is in…as a recently former BioChem student and current Biochemist seeing a molecule set for $80 makes me want to shoot someone in the face. Espeically since the likelihood of the person buying that grossly over priced item knowing what the different colors represent is slim. If you want one, visit a university studen store or Amazon and get it for $15-30. seriously


so happy to see the thermos on there. i have one almost exactly like it that i use every freakin day!