Cool Stuff for TV Fans

Cool Stuff for TV Fans

I love TV merch and swag, those specialty items that celebrate a show or character. Merch makes a tribal vocabulary tangible, and wearing or using it is a fun way to show the world that you are a Gladiator, or that you are in with the Downton In Crowd. Products related to a shared favorite pop culture show make great gifts for the same reason: on the 12th day of Christmas, you can tell your RuPaul-loving true love Shantay, You Stay, and she just might.

You can usually find merch on a show's website, as most shows now have stores that feature T-shirts and mugs, at the minimum. Looking a little deeper can lead you to other items that might honor a show by licensing an iconic image or by establishing some sort of thematic tie-in, like a Tardis cookie jar or a bauble from the Once Upon a Time line at Virgin Saints & Angels.

Fan-generated art and creations are also available for some popular shows and characters, but these usually aren't licensed, so use your personal discretion about what is parody or celebration, and what might be infringement.

Beyond official products or fan-generated art, I also like to give creative gifts that are related to a show but aren't necessarily merch. For example, I watch American Horror Story on Skype with a friend, because it's so much more fun to cringe and scream with company. So I just send her a nice jar of clay-based face mask, and I added a tag that named it "Louisiana Healing Swamp Mud." You could do same with a gift certificate for a facial, and a true fan would get the connection, just like Scandal fans know that a Whirley Pop boxed with a large wine goblet might be the best gift ever. Think about the in-jokes and special details of your favorite show and characters, and take if from there.

I described another gift I made for a fellow Orange Is the New Black fan in this guide, as well as some other gift ideas pulled from my shopping and wish lists for this year. Take a look!

DOWNTON ABBEY

gift idea

A Downton fan who drinks would love to stock their cellar (or rack on top of the fridge) with these to have ready to pour when the series returns in January. Available on their site or at some retailers. Good enough for Thomas to steal!

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PARKS & RECREATION

gift idea

How fast can you cross-stitch? Because this pattern, available from HeadStichInCharge at Etsy, is wonderful.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

gift idea

OITNB is super quoteable. I love this cross-stitch pattern and the prints from PopArtPress like the one above, and there are many other sellers as well.

Making a gift featuring a show's quotes or hashtags are a great DIY project, too. For a friend's gift this year, I designed a 5x7 print featuring the "I Threw My Pie For You" quote from OITNB, printed it for two bucks at a copy shop, framed it in a vintage frame, and wrapped it along with a pair of drugstore shower shoes and a Twix bar.

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MODERN FAMILY / PROJECT RUNWAY

gift idea

This gift works for Modern Family fans, Project Runway aficionados, charitable givers and dapper do-good dressers everywhere. Jesse Tyler Ferguson is the co-founder of Tie the Knot, and he appeared on Project Runway this year with a tie-in to Tie the Knot. You select from a special collection of snappy seasonal ties from The Tie Bar, and funding is raised for marriage equality organizations. That's all enough to make your gift recipient squee like Cam.

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THE ROOTS / LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON

gift idea

Okay, someone needs this amazing sweatshirt for New Year's Eve.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

gift idea

College football was pretty insane this year. If a fan is on your list, grab this championship shirt before the Auburn v. FSU game. My sons will love this!

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THIS AMERICAN LIFE / NPR

gift idea

I'm a huge fan of this show. The episode about doppelgangers? Unforgettable. If the print or T-shirt celebrating that time they talked for an hour about bung is too much, these NPR tattoos are so cool. They are Terry-Gross cool, that's how cool they are. Or how about some NPR reusable utensils?!

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TV CHARM

gift idea

Like too many programs to pick one? This TV charm is on my personal list because it's fabulous, and I may get it for myself if I'm lucky enough to score any giftcards this year. Bonus: half of the profits benefit the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

 If none of these ideas are right for you, for get TV and go with a gift card to your friend's favorite theater for a popcorn-for-dinner date. The big screen never fails! Tell us your ideas in the comments.

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