Geek Holidays: A Gift-Free Guide

Believe it or not, I don’t actually exchange many presents for Christmas. When I was growing up and we didn’t have much money, having a gift extravaganza at Christmas made sense: if a little kid wants something you say “Christmas is coming,” and if they still even want it by Christmas you take it seriously. Similarly, you might pick things up on sale year-round and save them, so on Christmas morning the kids are rolling in presents.

Here’s the thing, though: now, my family is giant. I have ten million siblings to begin with; now some are married, some have children. The list of people to buy for became ridiculous – the very definition of holiday stress. Now, my adult siblings and I throw our names into a hat and get one person to buy for – something small. And for me, that’s pretty much it.

Does this mean I am lacking in Christmas spirit? Absolutely not! Here are a few of the ways you, too, can geek out over the holiday season without emphasizing gifts.

Go Full Clark Griswold

Whether you’re shooting for a “Gingerbread apartment” look, or you’d like planes to know they have a place to land that’s full of holiday cheer, nothing cheers up a place faster than some blinding LEDs, C9s or bubble lights! Hey, these midwinter celebrations are a way to remind us that the days will eventually get longer and we’ll see the sun again, right? I say, who needs a SAD lamp when you’ve got fairy lights!

Geek-theme Your Tree

I think there’s someone in every family who has a tree’s worth of Star Wars ornaments – one of my sisters claimed that distinction when I was still in high school. Instead of being guilted into a more traditional look, why not fully embrace what makes you happy? Ooh, I wonder if they make Doctor Who ornaments… my tree needs a TARDIS!

And who says your theming is limited to the tree itself? One of my favorite youtube videos is this person who took the idea of the train set below the tree and turned it into a spectacular trip to Disney World.

Gingerbread Like a Boss

Who says crafts are just for little kids? Try getting a bunch of your friends together for a holiday get-together wherein you put architects, confectioners, and maybe even the Mythbusters crew to shame. I wonder what Winterfell would look like in gingerbread?

Here We Go A-Wassailing

…Or, as some might like to call it, a pub crawl with singing. Seriously, this pagan tradition can be molded to your sensibilities in any number of ways, from caroling for your neighbors to a rowdy marathon of Rock Band. Just remember that the more mulled wine or eggnog you consume, the less angelic you may sound…

Movie Marathon

We’ve all got our favorite holiday movies, whether or not they were intended to be holiday viewing. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings movies have become as much a part of the holidays for some as the Muppets Christmas Carol or Scrooged. I personally like to watch the Thin Man movies while I decorate my tree (the first one happens at Christmas, anyway). And what about Die Hard or Lethal Weapon? Whether on your own or with a group, watching your favorite holiday films can recharge your spirits far better than that miserable Christmas Shoes song.

What about you? What are some of your favorite geek holiday traditions?

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