The gift-givingest time of the year is just around the corner, and unless you are a crazy overachiever with ample free time, you have some items yet to buy. But if someone on your list is a Disney lover, you are in luck; your shopping is about to get a lot easier. Welcome to the Deep Forest Outpost Disney Gift Shopping Primer.
One usage note: This primer is for adult gifts. Disney gifts for kids and teens are pretty easy. Infants and toddlers get something soft and fluffy with Mickey Mouse on it, older children get a toy from the latest hit movie, and teens get a t-shirt.
It’s only as adults that we start judging people based on their gifts. Kids may not like what you give them, but they won’t think you are a jerk when they unwrap it. That impulse seems to kick in around the time you are legally able to vote in the United States, which can’t be a coincidence.
Read below and decide which message you want to deliver this Holiday season. Let’s dive in!
How to say: Warm regards this Holiday season to you, my casual acquaintance:
Co-worker/neighbor gift giving can be trickier than you might expect. It is true that expectations are low, so anything halfway interesting will be a big win. However, a wise gift giver also doesn’t want to go overboard. That makes for awkward interactions by the copy machine or in the produce section.
As long as you keep it inexpensive, though, there are a lot of options. One good technique here is the “knick-knack and note.” You find something small (and probably intended for children) and use your creative muscles to turn it into a clever gift. For example, you might buy a Goofy head notepad and include a note that reads: “No ideas are too Goofy to write down.” Or a tin of Star Wars BAND-AIDs® and the note might be: “Use these for your nicks and scratches, you should.” If you are going for more edgy and less cutesy, you could give a Mickey Mouse Foaming Soap and a note advising that: “Hantavirus is spread by mouse poop. Keep it clean this Holiday season!”
The bottom line here is that if you can dream it, you can do it. I’m pretty sure Walt Disney was talking about Holiday gifts when he said that.
How to say: I value your close friendship at this festive time of year:
When shopping for your Disney loving family and friends, you need to have information on their specific interests. For example, most people who know me as a fan are aware that I am a yuge fan of Scrooge McDuck. Yuuuuge. So, I would be delighted to unwrap this Scrooge t-shirt at the Holiday party.
With that intel, though, your options are many. Online shopping makes it incredibly easy to find just the right item. Say your friend happens to like Disney movies and Disney home decor, and has a special affinity for Buzz Lightyear. A thirty second search on DisneyStore.com reveals a puzzle and two different mugs as potential gifts for (whimsical) adults.
One more tip here: if you are shopping for a friend who is a Disney lover, but don’t know any of their interests, then default to one of the following: Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, or one of the domestic Disney Parks (Disneyland and Walt Disney World). That won’t be as personal, but will definitely get you some “thought that counts” credit.
How to say: I love you:
Finding just the right thing for your significant other is the most challenging Holiday gift of them all. Which is crazy, because the odds are you know their free-time interests as well as you would for anyone else in your life. But the stakes are higher, too. Screw up this gift and you run a much greater risk of hurting his/her feelings.
Which is why I am not going to recommend anything specific for this category. No doofus blogger can tell you what your special someone will like for a gift. Unless you are thinking of something wildly extravagant like his and hers engagement rings, this is just something each person has to figure out for themselves.
I will pass on something Amy did for my birthday one year, though. She dove deep on the internet and found a bunch of Scrooge McDuck items, and then gave me one each day throughout the month. It was an amazing, perfect gift, combining two of my very favorite things: Uncle Scrooge and Disney collectibles.
How to say: I am setting an unrealistic standard for our relationship, but at least you will remember this for the rest of your life:
If dazzling someone is your goal, and you don’t have the patience to do Amy’s month of gifts thing above, then go straight for the jugular with the Disney Premier Passport. This pass gives holders a year of admission to BOTH Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. The prohibitive cost means few fans will ever actually own one, and every Disney parks fanatic has dreamed about it.
How to say: I know you love Disney, but I am willfully ignorant about the whole thing:
If you have no room in your (probably shriveled and blackened) heart for Disney, and have no clue what your friend/family member/loved one likes about it — then it’s best to not guess. Take my word for it: Disney lovers can be very granular in their interests. Just cut your losses and get them a gift card. Everyone likes picking out their own presents, after all.
How to say: I am also a deep Disney lover, my gift-exchanging friend:
This last category is not always the easiest to fill (certainly not easier than a gift card), but it is the most fun. It goes without saying that you need to know your fellow Disney lover’s specific interests to pull this off. But assuming you have had many conversations about that subject, then you might just enjoy the shopping as much as the giving. What could be better than nerding out to find the coolest Disney items?
A good place to start are the online shopping titans of Amazon and eBay. Be careful, though, because browsing unlimited listings of interesting Disney merchandise will cause you to tumble down a very deep rabbit hole.
If you are struggling to generate ideas on your own, check out nerd-culture shops like IWOOT (I Want One Of Those) or ThinkGeek, where you can find thoughtful presents for a vintage Disney animated movie fan or a Star Wars fan who loves fancy coffee, for example.
The rule of thumb for this entire category is: if YOU think it’s cool, then your Disney loving friend will probably also think it is cool. Happy gifting!