It's that time of year again! Santa's making his list and checking it twice and so are we as we attempt to select gifts for our friends and family in anticipation of the holiday season. For those of you looking to purchase a gift for your movie-loving friend, we have a few shopping tips to keep in mind. Think you found the perfect gift for that friend who loves movies? Give this list a once-over before you complete your purchase!
I've been a movie fan all of my life and as such, I've become the girl who loves movies to many of my friends and family members. That means come holiday time, I will often receive movie-related gifts, which I always appreciate. But it can be tricky for a gift-giver to know what to get for a movie fan, regardless of how vast the gift options are. I can relate to this as both the recipient and a gift-giver. If I have a friend who loves the Dallas Cowboys, for example, my first inclination come Christmas might be to get them anything with the Dallas Cowboys logo on it. Of course, I run the risk of getting something they don't want or need, or already have. It's not all that different for movie fans.
You might think anything movie related would make a good gift, but that's not necessarily the case. So here's some hopefully helpful advice on how to shop for a movie fan. And because I won't presume to speak for all movie fans, I invite those of you who count yourselves among them to post comments with your own suggestions and advice to gift-givers looking for a great gift for their movie-fan friend.
A movie-themed board game! The perfect gift? Not necessarily.
I have a stack of these kinds of games (Scene It, Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture, etc) in a closet somewhere that have been given to me as gifts and played once or twice since (or not at all). As fun as these games can be and as much as I appreciate the sentiment, it's not always easy to find other people who enjoy them nearly as much or who are as evenly matched for the topic for the games to be any fun. So in the case of games like these, keep in mind that you're buying the recipient a board game. Unless you know they play these kinds of games and have movie fan family or friends that will be up for playing them too, you might consider something else as a gift option.
Is a movie reference book a good gift?
I used to get one of movie index books each year when I was a kid. It was my bible. Any time i couldn't place an actor or needed info on a movie, I referred to it. But in the age of the internet, where there are whole websites that offer movie details, while these books are still around, they're not especially useful or convenient as a reference guide by comparison. Of course, for movie lovers who hate the internet, they're not a bad idea, so there's always that exception.
The alternative to such a gift - if you're determined to get a movie fan a book - might be something like The New York Times Guide To The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, which in addition to serving as a movie index of some beloved movies, also includes the uncut, original reviews for the listed films. It was published in 2004, so it's becoming a bit dated and it's still more of a novelty item, but it's something that would be fun for a movie fan to thumb through. This might be a good idea for the movie fan you don't know that well.
Can I just get them a movie on DVD/Blu-ray?
Unless it's on their wishlist, assume they have it or they don't want it. Don't try to guess a person's taste or what might be in their movie collection. Unless you know for sure that they want it, you're running the risk of getting them a gift they already have or don't want. The exception for this is if the movie holds special meaning for you and them. Maybe it's some terrible movie you and they used to love growing up or made the mistake of seeing in the theater. If there's sentimental value and they don't own it already it gets a pass.
Instead of getting the movie fan a movie, consider a gift certificate to the movie theater (or online ticketing service) in their neighborhood. Unless they live in a major city with access to a lot of different theaters, be sure to do a bit of research before you buy a gift card so you know you're getting them something they can actually use conveniently. Find out what their theater of choice is (or if they use a ticket service online like Fandango or MovieTickets.com) and sponsor a trip to the movies. Gift certificates may seem impersonal but given the cost of going to the movies these days, I doubt any movie fan would complain about such a gift. And if you really want to dress it up, put together a movie gift basket that includes the gift cards, and some popcorn and candy.
What about a Netflix gift card?
A lot of people have Netflix already. The streaming and DVD subscription service is hugely popular, which is why a Netflix gift certificate might make a great gift idea for a movie fan. And the bonus to this idea is that the gift can be applied to an established account, which means if they already have Netflix, you're not giving them a gift they can't use. But, if that's the case, it does sort of turn your gift into you agreeing to pay their subscription for whatever the gift card is worth, which might take a little bit of the fun out of the present. So keep that in mind when you're looking at a Netflix gift card or some other subscription service option.
iTunes, Amazon or other a la carte options for gift certificates aren't a bad idea. As mentioned previously, gift cards may seem a little impersonal, but being a movie fan can get pretty pricy and we're never averse to having credits toward our favorite online (or actual) stores. Just make sure it's a store that's accessible to the person and they actually shop there. I wouldn't scoff at a Best Buy gift card, but given the cost of their DVDs, it's not the first place I'd go to buy movies. But for the person who doesn't shop online, Best Buy would be a safer alternative to something like iTunes or Amazon. You could go broader with a gift card to some place like Target or Walmart, but then you really are drifting into impersonal territory. But again, there's always the option to dress up a gift card with some popcorn and candy to give it a little extra movie decoration.
Movie apparel and home decor.
Not everyone wears their love for movies but when I fall in love with a movie t-shirt, it's usually something with an inside reference to the movie, rather than something that advertises the movie directly. Example, the Back to the Future logo t-shirt may be fun, but the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance t-shirt or the Delorean Dashboard tee is better. Obviously, this requires a bit of movie knowledge, but if you're not sure of what you're looking for/at, ask a friend for a second opinion or help finding that perfect t-shirt.
The same applies to posters and home decor in general. For a movie fan who decorates with posters, they might prefer something more artistic and different as opposed to the theatrical poster (of course, there's definitely something to be said for a great retro poster). And if you're not on a tight budget and the recipient isn't the type to tack unframed posters up on their walls, you might consider shelling out for the framed version.
At the risk of stating the obvious, knowledge of the person's movie tastes and preference for apparel and home decor is a must if you're looking to gift them something like this. Just because someone's a fan of the Harry Potter movies doesn't mean they necessarily want to wear a "Muggle" t-shirt or decorate their living room with a Hogwarts throw blanket. And then there are some of us who would be elated by such a gift, but if that's the case, there's a good chance you've seen us carrying a Gryffindor mug or some other tip that we wear our Potter love proudly. And that pretty much applies to just about every other fandom when it comes to novelty items. Know your recipient and shop accordingly!
In the end, it's the thought that counts. But these are just some tips to keep in mind while shopping. Those of you with other pieces of advice (or if you vehemently disagree with mine), feel free to post a comment below!