Everything else

A Helpful Holiday Gift Guide

Try not to keep all this stuff for yourself.

We know. It’s that time of year—Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/some poor soul’s destined-to-be-overlooked December birthday—and you haven’t had a second to consider what to get anyone, because it was September approximately five minutes ago. Or maybe you don’t know what to ask for yourself. Relax! This post is the first in a series we’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks full of ideas for gifts that are store-bought, DIY’ed, thrifted, and/or curated by Rodarte. For the shopping-inclined, here are some options in a few different categories:


Two-Tone Loser Mittens ($15)
Sub Pop Records’ iconic Loser logo (which has made an appearance here on Rookie) has finally made its way to the cozy zone of winter wear. Behold, the Loser Mittens. Nothing says “cool and weather-appropriate” quite like these babies, and everyone will want to be your friend, unless they don’t get the joke. Then you can say “talk to the MITT-HAND,” and retreat back into your cave. —Dylan

Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad ($12)
Have a music nerd in your life? This classic book focuses on some of the most influential indie and alternative rock bands from 1981 to 1991, from Black Flag to Nirvana to Beat Happening. There’s something in this book for everyone, except maybe your grandma. Unless she’s punk as fuck, in which case, when can I meet her? —Hazel

A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector by Various Artists (from $5)
Thank DOGS this compilation exists, because I don’t want to give up good music just for the sake of festive music! I can only take so much Warm Soft Jazz Holiday Hits on Whatever.9 FM! You may know of Phil Spector’s legendary wall-of-sound recording technique: it’s what gave some of my favorite groups, such as the Crystals and the Ronettes, their signature reverberating pop. (You may also know of Spector’s personal terribleness, which we’re overlooking FOR THE MOMENT for the sake of these artists’ music.) Spector described the sound as “little symphonies for the kids,” which makes me feel like I’m six and opening up a present from under the tree and, OH, what comes out but Darlene Love in echoe-y euphony! This is a quality compilation of holiday songs, including the best version of the best Christmas song ever: Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” which will give you an immediate crush on someone/anyone/life in general. (I’m very aware of what I’m about to say, but I rank this up there with Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”) Hey, maybe this is a good gift for your crush, given all that? —Dylan

Television’s Marquee Moon T-shirt (and others) from Night Channels ($18)
Night Channels has a great selection of music tees that you probably won’t be able to find anywhere else. For your shoegazer friend, get ’em a My Bloody Valentine shirt. For the Wes Anderson lover in your life, grab a Nico shirt. Now please, dear lawd, someone get me this Strawberry Switchblade T-shirt so I can be a switchblade sistah! —Hazel

DIY Guitar Pick Punch ($25)
Uh, so cool. With this custom-punching device, you have a few options: give the puncher itself as the gift that never stops making more little gifts, or keep it for yourself and create unique, cheap, and tiny presents for all your strumming buddies! You can can use it on almost any material, so you can make a full range of picks appropriate for guitar or bass. —Dylan

Wishing You a Rave Christmas by the Raveonettes ($9)
I love this shoegaze-y album by this ice-cold cool duo. This is one of my favorite Christmas albums, but be warned: it’s so sad! Give it to any music lover who’s looking for a seasonal album that’s a little unorthodox and low on rin-tin-tingling. It has major “staring out the window watching the snow fall as I sip a cup of hot cocoa” vibes. —Hazel




Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar Set ($49)
I mean, if you have 50 bucks to blow on your favorite friend, or even yourself, do it. OCC’s Lip Tars are the best because they’re as long-lasting as a lip stain, but pigmented like a lipstick, and not sticky like gloss. They go on true to color, so what you see is what you get, and this is a great set of wearable shades of red, pink, and beige. If you’re in the market for something more unusual, like purple or gold, I suggest buying an individual $16 tube. These are my favorite lip products, and I’m so glad they’re at Sephora now. (Also, word of advice: if the product separates in the tube, just shake it up and it’ll be fine.) —Arabelle

Spoiled Nail Polish ($2)
Nail polish might sound a little obvious, but it’s also affordable, and what sets this line apart are its rad colors and truly bizarre names, such as The Parking Meteor Expired, Shrimp on the Barbie, Are Mermaids Real?, Pearly White Teeth, and Pumping Gas (so glamorous!). Look for it at CVS and on eBay. Pick the wildest one, stick a bow on it, and you’ve got a totally satisfactory two-dollar present! —Maggie

Hearts and Stars Hair Products ($20-$40)
My hair is literally obsessed with Hearts and Stars shampoo and conditioner. After using this line exclusively for the past month, I really don’t know how I can go back to regular shampoo. They don’t test on animals and do use natural ingredients like tea tree, eucalyptus, sage, and hemp oils. At $20 a bottle, the shampoo pricier than your regular drugstore brand, but if you know someone who is sensitive to regular hair-care products (there are no parabens or sulfates, which can cause skin irritation), and is a fan of super-cute packaging (Lolita-style heart-shaped sunglasses on the bottle!), this stuff would make a great gift to your favorite person and their luxurious mane. Even more good news: they just came out with a body wash, and you can get all three for $39. —Marie

Portland Black Lipstick Company ($9)
This is the more affordable alternative to the OCC set above. I have four of their lipsticks, and I really like them! They’re moisturing and come in a variety of unusual colors. I’m most fond of Artificial Amethyst and Indigo Bridge, as I think the colors with a metallic sheen are the best. Plus, the Victorian-style branding makes for an aesthetically pleasing gift. You could buy a few and wrap them in black ribbon to give to your friends. I’d even include a little note on some vintage or fashionably burned paper to add to the presentation. —Arabelle



Twournal ($15-$135)
This website will create a bound book of all of your tweets—or at least your most recent 3,200 tweets (the cost varies accordingly). It’s an amazing gift for friends who are obsessed with Twitter. Or if you’re the one who’s obsessed, maybe you want to give the gift of your thoughts (140 characters at a time) to others for posterity. One caveat: if you’re doing this for someone else using their tweets, you’ll need their login information. —Emily G.

Remote-Controlled Sea Life ($30)
So here’s the scenario: there’s someone you really want to impress this holiday season. Perhaps you’re in love with this person, and you really want to wow them. BUT you don’t want to freak them out by getting something too personal or mushy. Obviously, you need a FLOATING SHARK. It’s a 57-inch, helium-filled, remote-controlled shark balloon that can float around the house. It’s cool, it’s hilarious, your crush will go insane. And so will your cat. (Batteries and helium not included.) —Maggie

Kill Screen magazine subscription ($40)
This beautiful magazine looks at video games and how they fit into pop culture and our daily lives with themed quarterly issues (Sound, Change, Maturity). In addition to insider-y interviews, you’ll find essays on death, society, love, fear—all written by serious gaming enthusiasts, so whether you count yourself among them or know someone who does, consider adding it to the shopping list. —Emily G.

Roku ($50-$100)
It seems we are of the generation without TVs—not in a pretentious “I’d rather read a book” way. We watch tons of television, we just do it on our computers/phones/iPads. But you can still use TV sets for cool sculptures and oscillating synthesizers, and I’ve found that there’s one viewing experience that really does require the bigger screen, and that’s horror movies. There’s a great horror selection on Netflix Instant, but it’s just not as scary to watch on a computer screen. Solution: the Roku! A Roku is a simple little device that can bring Netflix and Hulu and Pandora to your TV, which doesn’t have to be a fancy HD jam or anything. It’s great for anyone who doesn’t want/can’t afford to pay for a bunch of cable stations they’ll never watch, and also for your parents, who can’t fathom watching a movie on a computer (“But that’s for my electronic mail!”) —Maggie

Borderlands 2 ($60)
If you only buy one game this holiday season, it is my opinion that it should be Borderlands 2. This first-person shooter doesn’t have multiplayer online worlds like Call of Duty, but it features tons and tons of side quests that are each well-written and carefully thought out. Never has a game made me laugh, cringe, or gasp as much as this clever, fun as hell adventure. —Emily G.

Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 ($260)
Raise your hand if you have $300 to blow on Legos this Christmas! Yeah, I don’t either. But if I did, I would totally buy this amazing robot kit as a present to myself for being such a good girl this year. (I mean, I was fine, right?) You can build and program your own robot. Made of Legos. Maybe you can convince your parents it’s for a science project? Good luck! —Maggie



Adopt a Wolf ($15)
Sometimes you just have no idea what to get someone, but you’re still expected to scour the earth for some piece-of-crap gift that will probably end up in a landfill. So here’s an idea that will save you time, money, and literally the planet: adopt a wolf! Or a sea otter! Or a polar bear! Or an arctic fox! Or any number of adorable endangered animals that need our help. Go to the Defenders of Wildlife Adoption Center, and for $15 you can get your loved one a cool adoption kit, which includes a personal certificate, photo, and fact sheet. For an extra $10 you can also get them a cute plush toy of the animal they adopted. All the proceeds go to the Defenders of Wildlife protection programs! —Maggie

Panda Swag ($50)
Oh, that panda! That beauteous, iconic, World Wildlife Federation panda! Would you like it on an apron? Would you like it on a golf umbrella? Or perhaps a water canteen? There is so much cool panda stuff at the World Wildlife Federation online gift shop, it’s hard to decide. I am particularly fond of their Vintage Gear collection, bamboo tees, and eco-friendly watches. It’s kinda expensive (minimum donation of $50), but you’re helping to preserving wildlife habitats and endangered species, so you don’t have to feel too guilty. —Maggie

Fair-trade tea ($10-$15)
Tea makes a great present, because it’s hot and steamy and wintery, and also because you can match the tea flavor to your recipient’s personality for an extra touch of thoughtfulness. You’re so spicy, like cinnamon! You’re sweet, like a raspberry! You’re alluring, like jasmine! Basically whatever bullshit you can come up with. The gift of tea is also a great way to support sustainable, fair-trade practices. Numi and Republic of Tea are easy to find and offer fair-trade blends. For loose tea, check out Rishi Tea and Arbor Teas. —Maggie



Prize Kitty Wonderart Latch Hook Kit ($17)
Drop everything. I have found the source of all future creepy/awesome/crafty gifts for the rest of your LIFE. Latch-hook kits. Oh my god. Cheapish, terrible “art” for the serious kitsch-lover, these kits can be framed, hung, used as a rug, or sewn into a pillow. They’re easy as pie to make and they come in literally hundreds of options, from the noble rug-size deer in front of a mountain to the quietly devastating candy-colored rainbow unicorn. Imagine your crush stepping out of the shower and putting their dripping toes on one of these. Do you really love them? Now they won’t have to ask. —Krista

EZScreenPrint Complete Starter Kit ($104)
It’s pricy, but think of the rewards. This kit includes everything you need to start screen-printing T-shirts, tote bags, posters—whatever. I think this would be the perfect gift for someone in a band who wants to start making their own merch, or someone who is not in a band but just wants to start commemorating their existence. (Unrelated: keep an eye out for my line of “Gabby Rules!” T-shirts, coming soon to stores near you.) —Gabby

Speedball Composition Gold Leaf Kit ($10)
Yo, with this liiiiittle oh-so-affordable kit, you can COVER THINGS WITH REAL GOLD. For 10 bucks, you get the keys to a gilded kingdom. You can put gold on anything you can possibly think of, from plastic dinosaurs to journals to sunglasses to very, very fancy makeup-brush handles. You can pretend you’re a rock star/rapper and cover your toilet seat in gold! Good lord, what a stocking stuffer. I want this. —Krista

iPhone Cross Stitch Case ($25)
I love to embroider, but sometimes my friends make fun of me because they say it’s a really granny-oriented activity, and I’m like THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT, JERKS. Without your grandma, you would not exist! There would be no one to send you a birthday card with a check for five dollars. Embroidery knows no age, and the makers of this iPhone Cross Stitch Case seem to agree with me. I got one for my birthday, and I can’t wait to finish stitching my case to say “Beyoncé in Training.” Look who’s laughing now! —Gabby


  • DreamBoat December 6th, 2012 7:06 PM

    Now i want all of this stuff oh god <3
    and the John Waters/Divine buttons AHHH HYPERVENTILATING


  • Lynn W. December 6th, 2012 7:18 PM

    A further endorsement of Borderlands 2 – it’s really easy for new players to get the hang of this game, and there are literally bazillions of guns to choose from so you can easily find one that suits your style best! You can pick from 4 classes (5, if you install the appropriate add-ons), each with their own unique qualities for a different gaming experience. If you’re a fan of guns, shooting, and silly questing, this game is definitely worth your money. You can even play through the game a second time on one character, complete with all your skills and weapons! (It’s way more awesome than it sounds.) Overall, the story and all its elements are wonderful, the combat style is always exciting, and you get to fight tons of different enemies. And if you’re a return Borderlands player, you’ll enjoy the game even more!

  • caro nation December 6th, 2012 7:18 PM


    Hazel I love you

    Also, Roku is pretty much the best thing

  • rebasaurusbex December 6th, 2012 7:20 PM

    flying shark will bring you more joy than you have ever experienced before. 1:18 -https://vimeo.com/41848466

  • HollinsCollins December 6th, 2012 7:25 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks the comic-ey look for Borderlands is oh-so cool?

    Um. Sorry. Random.

    ON A MORE RELATED NOTE..this stuff is just plain awesome and It’d be like a BOON to get any of it XD

  • magpie librarian December 6th, 2012 7:38 PM

    Some of those Blitzkrieg buttons have swastikas on them. I’m sure someone will come in here and explain that it’s somehow OK, but it’s not.

    • Dylan December 7th, 2012 12:20 AM

      Hey there. Thanks for pointing that out – I actually hadn’t seen those buttons on the site till I read your comment and looked again. I totally agree with you. There are a lot of punk buttons on there, and there are pockets of that culture that have been appropriating Nazi symbolism for shock value for decades, but that doesn’t make it OK. It’s shitty to see it in their store when there’s so much other rad stuff, IMHO.

    • Lea December 7th, 2012 1:15 AM

      Thank you so much for pointing it out! I was really shocked but I was scared to come off as a killjoy bitch.
      Please people, wearing nazi symbols is not cool and never will be. (Nor will wearing Mao or Stalin)

      • Tavi December 7th, 2012 2:53 AM

        In light of your comments, we’ve removed their buttons from this list. We wouldn’t have included them to begin with if we’d known before, and we certainly weren’t expecting any of the sites we were talking about to also sell such offensive stuff. I hope it’s clear that we meant to endorse the fun pop culture buttons, not the nazi ones.
        Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

      • magpie librarian December 7th, 2012 3:16 PM

        Being a feminist killjoy bitch is the funnest ever. OK maybe not. But I try to think of: 1. Am I pointing it out because it really bothers me OR 2. Am I just being mean and knitpicky and ruining someone’s hard work. I chose 1 on this one.

        Tavi and all: Thanks for being so nice about this. On other sites, people would tell me to go to hell or stop being “butthurt” or sensitive. And that’s why Rookie rocks.

        I was conflicted. Some of the buttons were REALLY fun and cute, but then I saw the Swastikas and freaked out.

        May I suggest buttons from this Etsy seller? I just got a bunch and I *love* them: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ModernGirlBlitz?ref=pr_shop_more

  • Claire December 6th, 2012 8:07 PM

    Roku is life-changing. I don’t think I’ve watched real TV in, like, a year.

  • Tapsicle December 6th, 2012 9:19 PM

    I suspect they may not have checked out ALL the styles available before posting. I hope so anyway. I think the company are trying to be provocative/ironic, but ew.

  • eyelet December 6th, 2012 9:21 PM

    Now I need a FLOATING SHARK.

    …but I wouldn’t mind Panda Swag either.

  • Ana December 6th, 2012 9:31 PM

    This is great! I was kind of depressed at the fact that i might have to give my sister another lame t-shirt but this totally helped! Looks like someone is getting their own screen printing kit this Christmas :)

  • katrinaexplainsitall December 6th, 2012 9:50 PM

    This is so perfect for right now! My friends and I are having a Secret Santa and my person really likes penguins, so I’m giving her the Adopt A Penguin gift n___n


  • spudzine December 6th, 2012 10:30 PM

    OMG these seem like the best gifts ever!!!


  • umi December 6th, 2012 10:54 PM

    the roku is life

  • solverde December 6th, 2012 11:00 PM

    Panda swag! Gold leaf kit! If I had the gold leaf, everything would be gold. I’d have gold-leafed cereal for breakfast. And I somehow read tech as teeth and spent 3 minutes wondering why there was a section on teeth presents.

  • Allyssa December 7th, 2012 12:02 AM

    On my dads visit for Thanksgiving, he bought himself that floating shark for Christmas. So clearly it is a gift for all ages.

  • BoomBoomBoom December 7th, 2012 12:17 AM

    OMG, Spoiled Nail Polish! I went all extreme couponer this week and just wanted to share with anyone who likes paying almost no money for pretty decent nail color…Right now at CVS, there’s a sale on the Spoiled Nail Pail (literally a metal pail with 7 different polishes, 2 top coats, 2 toe separators, and 1 nail file…Google it!). It’s regularly $9.99, but on sale for $6.99. These are regular sized polishes that retail for $1.99 each! To get the deal, you need a CVS Extra Care card…so, sign up for it if you don’t already have one. Sooo, you pay $6.99, and end up getting another $3 in Extra Bucks that’ll print out on your receipt. If you have a card + extra bucks already, sweet! I scored this plus two other Spoiled polishes using a coupon, and $3 in extra bucks, and i only paid NINE CENTS out of pocket! Winner!


  • Dylan December 7th, 2012 12:23 AM

    Maggie, you slay me for rill.

  • rachelsea December 7th, 2012 1:24 AM

    OH MY GOD speaking of gift ideas, the store where I work just started carrying Rookie Yearbook One!!! Now I have a real-life tool for initiating people into the Rookie universe.

  • crapbag December 7th, 2012 1:54 AM

    Oh dang I really want that goldy gold kit so I can go King Midas on everything I own and just be generally swaggy. I went on the website and the only review they had was obviously written by a pimp who said “i used this product to accent a walking stick i made and it turned out beautifully”. Which naturally made me want this kit even more.

  • Alice123 December 7th, 2012 4:00 AM

    Oh, I work with teaching kids about Lego mindstorm robots – like giving them tiny programming challenges and stuff. THE BEST GIFT FOR ANY SISTER OR BROTHER (or mum or dad)! :D

  • teenfurby December 7th, 2012 4:52 AM

    really fun and cute ideas :~)


  • teenidle December 7th, 2012 5:41 AM


    That fantasticly giant piece of literature introduced me to The Replacements and I mean that automatically secures it at the top of my list of favorite band books forever.


  • Mary the freak December 7th, 2012 8:30 AM

    Okay so THAT’S MY WISHLIST. I would never get over losing such an amazing thing.


  • julalondon December 7th, 2012 9:09 AM

    I love love love all of this. Especially the floating shark, i mean I NEED ONE THIS IS AMAZING. I love that you guys put so many different things on here, ’cause normally in magazines you only get the ordinary “parfume/chocolate/boringshit”-stuff…And when my auntie asked me about my wishes for Christmas i sent her the amazon-link of the Rookie Yearbook..=)

  • pinkcandyflossl December 7th, 2012 11:37 AM

    I want a remote control ballon shark and a screen printing set! If I had one, I would screen print EVERYTHING.


  • Stephanie December 7th, 2012 1:08 PM

    ZOMG!!!!!!! I want the flying shark for my cats and the guitar pick maker for my niece and the portland black lipstick for me… This basically is the perfect gift list!!! Thanks for putting it together guys!

  • ijustreallylikebands December 7th, 2012 1:41 PM

    Ahh these are all so perfect! The only thing is, I’d end up keeping anything I bought for someone else ^.^


  • wansha December 7th, 2012 3:53 PM

    Unfortunately, Composition Gold is a mixture of brass, copper and zinc. So getting real gold leaf would be pricier, I assume.

  • insteadofanelephant December 10th, 2012 5:28 PM

    HAHA the tagline is killing me. the gold leaf thing sounds like something i might consider! i need to get some hair dye.

    blog: instead of an elephant
    Creative Director: Thread Magazine

  • lizziemcguir3 December 13th, 2012 7:45 PM

    I bought the floating shark for myself and it totally rocks!

  • Kaetlebugg December 19th, 2012 8:40 PM

    but why is the Rave christmas album $9 when 4 of the songs add up to $4? Is it really the extra $5 just for the extra song?