7 geek gifts NOT to buy this Christmas

06 December 2013

Some people are impossible to buy presents for, and if you have a tech-loving geek in your life, then you’ll probably be thinking about them right now.

While the internet might seem jam-packed with things that you think your geek friends will love, it is a minefield of disappointment. Here are our top 7 tips for what NOT to buy a geek friend this Christmas.

For some great gift ideas, check out Appcessories: the perfect gift for an iPhone fan with everything

Shirts with slogans you don’t find funny

Geeks and T-shirts go together like strawberries and cream, right? A kitchy, witty T-shirt might be a great gift idea, but make sure the joke is funny. Your geeky friend might not be the snappiest dresser in town, but they won’t be seen dead in a T-shirt with a dumb slogan emblazoned across the front. If you don’t think it’s funny, nor will they.

Worse still are T-shirts with logos you do understand and that you know are eye-rollingly lame. If you see the words "Aye Carumba!" or "Don't have a cow" then you know you're in the wrong place.


Just as you shouldn’t make jokes about your friend’s mum, don’t make comment on their past-times by giving them a Snuggie. Seriously, the subtext of a gift of a wearable blanket is, “I know you are basement-dwelling shut-in and you should really try and get out more.” You might as well hand your friend a gym membership with a disapproving glance towards their mid-section.

Avoid cheap knock-offs

Geeks love techno-toys, but these toys can be prohibitively expensive. Sure you love your friend, but not $900-Galaxy-Note-3 love them, right? The solution is not to by the Samdong Fallacy Note 3, or any other cheap knock-off you find on eBay. The only things these cheap copies have in common with the real thing is a screen and a SIM-card slot.

Magazine subscriptions

Do you know what geeky people see when they read magazines? The internet from months ago.

A magazine subscription used to be an awesome present to buy someone: twelve-months of gifts that arrive in the mail. Nowadays, tech magazines are just old news with pretty pictures.

A much better idea is a Netflix or Spotify subscription. These are the new gifts that keep on giving all year long.

Star Trek if Star Wars

Like all sub-cultures, geekdom is split into many opposing factions. Hence, a gift of a Klingon costume to a Star Wars fan is like buying a soccer ball for someone who loves Rugby League. To you it might all be “football”, but to them it is a passion.

Of course, the same rules apply in reverse. No Star Wars for geeks who love Star Trek, or be prepare yourself for an hour-long verbal treatise on the subtle differences.

Video games

You might be seeing a pattern emerging in our advice. Before buying for a geek you need to know exactly what they like. With video games, this is a multi-layered obstacle course.

Firstly, you need to know which platform they play their games on: Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Wii, PC, Mac, Nintendo DS. Once you have that sorted, you have to figure out which games they like. Geeks don’t just like ‘games’, they like specific types of games. Finally, you have to make sure they haven’t played a game already.

All in all, buying a game is like buying someone a shirt. You can take a guess at a style they might like, but you also have to get the size right. Games are probably a category of gift best left alone.


Plants are an attractive, easy gift to give, but give one to a geeky friend and it’s murder. The number of plants I have owned and killed is shocking. At the end of the day, it is probably best left off your shopping list.

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