Once again, the holidays have crashed in like an accidently-released Rathtar on a docked spaceship. If you’re anything like me, you’re excitedly looking forward to unwrapping an action figure or two on Christmas morn’. While a non-geek may have a bit of difficulty shopping for our kind, the whole geek-to-geek exchange seems pretty straightforward. Find their fandom, get them a thing from said fandom, and throw some paper and sticky stuff on that business. Boom. Christmas’d.
But, try though we might, occasionally we need to shop for someone on our list outside the mythic realms of Geekery. Sometimes, you need to shop for a Normal.
First things first, know that it’s not your fault. Normals exist, and sometimes they’re actually decent people. The kind of people deserving of a present or two during this festive time. So, dear geek, strap on your adventuring gear, because it’s time to look for a good present… …that isn’t a replica of NCC-1701 dogfighting with a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
Step 1: Roll a Perception check
As any good dice-jockey will tell you, knowing that you’re about to enter combat before you actually enter combat is best. And, in the fray of gift-buying, knowing about your opponent- er… recipient has its advantages.
Does your Normal favor a particular armorer (clothing store)? Do they take their Short Rests at a noted clearing (spa or nail salon)? Whom do they favor in gladiatorial combat (sports team)? Knowing these key facts about your Normal will help to point you in the direction of the perfect gift.
Also, if you have the appropriately amicable relationship with your Normal, it may be worth doing a stealth check for sizes of things. Still, fit can vary widely, so save those Writs of Return (receipts).
Step B: Assemble your questing party
It’s dangerous to go alone. Take friends.
Having a bit of perspective is a very useful thing to have when out shopping for your Normal, to make sure you stay on target for the perfect gift. Yes, that giant Pikachu hat may be Hi-Larious to you, but is it really what your Normal would want (hint: it isn’t. That’s what you want, most likely)? Invite a buddy or two along to give you feedback on your choices. Better yet, invite one of your Normal’s friends, if you are close enough to ask them to come. They may have insight your circle wouldn’t.
Plus, if you’re attempting to not arouse suspicion of your gift-giving intentions, socializing can be an excellent cover. Just don’t flat-out lie to your Normal, even if it’s with the best intentions. It will always lead to complications. So, say you’re going to see a geeky movie (again) with friends, and do that. Then go shopping.
Step the Third: Use your Class to your Advantage
To be a geek is to unabashedly love something. That’s all it is. As I’ve said before, Normals are just Geeks without the flair. So come at it as though you’re buying a gift for a Geek from a different fandom.
For example, let’s say your Normal is in the Makeup fandom. Great. Their collectibles can easily be identified by brand name. So, get a friend or two, and brave your local Sephora Comic Shop. The wizards working there have an intimate knowledge of their fandom’s universe, so feel free to utilize them. As with any collectibles shop, there is often a Limited Edition version. See what it might be. Purchase your loot, and be on your way.
Step IV: Hit a Crit.
If your Normal is important enough for you to be shopping for them, consider sharing your Geekery. It can be a bit intimidating to vulnerably share of yourself like this, but it can really be worth it. Just don’t go over the top shoving your fandom in their face. Allow them to decide if they like it for themselves, and don’t be heartbroken if it’s just not their thing. Superhero fan? Maybe a copy of their origin story. Disney geek? Your favorite film with some snacks ready to go. If the fandom is important to you, and you are important to the Normal, they will see how you put yourself into the gift, and be grateful.
So go with confidence in to your shopping adventures this holiday season, and you will be guaranteed success! Remember, labels like “Geek” or “Normal” are just descriptors (and frankly, who’s normal anyhow?). This holiday season, we are all just people. Beautiful, wonderful, complicated people. Liking different things doesn’t matter so much, as long as we continue to like each other.
Merry Christmas, everyone.