The holidays are supposed to be fun. They’re supposed to be a time when we meet up with friends and family, stuff our faces with abandon, and exchange fun tokens of love in the form of gifts. But that gift part? Not always as fun and easy as it should be, because some people are super hard to buy for. You search and you search, and you worry about spending too much on something the recipient will hate. Luckily, this isn’t the case when you’re shopping for a TV fan. There are tons of interesting, affordable, and accessible choices for every kind of TV viewer in your life, no matter what their M.O. Do they watch exclusively on the web? Are they die-hard loyalists to certain shows? Are they smart phone addicts? I’ve got gifts for everyone. Read on to find out my personal faves, how much they’ll cost you, and where you can nab ’em.
GIFT GUIDE: For TV Lovers
For the TV lover who watches exclusively on the web: Google Chromecast, $35
For the people who watch TV almost exclusively through services like Netflix and Hulu, the experience of watching your favourite shows on a tiny computer monitor or laptop screen can sometimes be a little lackluster. Thus enters technology like Google Chromecast, which allows you to stream content from your mobile devices to any HDTV screen using WiFi. Just use the free apps of your favourite online TV sources (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, YouTube, or the Google Play Store), and go to town! Great for when you want to watch content with other people, ’cause it’s a whole lot more comfortable than everyone huddling around the tablet.
For the TV lover who loves to binge: Snacks, prices vary
This is for the person in your life who can frequently be found holed up in bed with a laptop and a full Netflix queue for hours (or days?) on end. It’s completely customizable. Go nuts with a trip to the bulk food store, or keep it streamlined with a couple boxes of Junior Mints. Just take into account your budget and the binger’s tastes. Oh, and nothing too crunchy – you don’t want to drown out all that brilliant dialogue on “90210”.
For the TV lover who still hasn’t gotten into this whole SVOD thing yet: Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription, $8/month each
Even for the person who’s loyal to their cable box, SVOD services can be a treasure trove of infinite enjoyment, and at $8 per month, a few months’ subscription makes a pretty cheap gift. Every TV viewer will find something they like in these sites’ libraries, so it’s also a pretty foolproof gift. To sweeten the deal and make it even more personal, set the account up for the recipient and fill their queue with selections you think they’ll enjoy – some old favourites as well as some new stuff – to encourage newbies to actually dive in and start bingin’.
For the TV lover who’s a manly man: Offerman Woodshop Meat Paddle, $47-$55
He’s home every week to watch his favourite shows, but the rest of the time he’s out in the woods, felling trees and roasting fresh fish. This man is a force to be reckoned with. This man needs a meat paddle crafted by one of his peers – the inimitable Nick Offerman of “Parks and Rec” fame. Dude is actually a highly skilled woodworker, and he makes some beautiful pieces, like these meat paddles (also known as cutting boards). They’re pricey, but they’re each a little piece of TV lore. Plus, the craftsmanship is top notch, which is something any true manly man (or outdoorsy lady) will appreciate.
For the TV lover who’s fiercely loyal to their favourite shows: Season passes from iTunes, prices vary by show
If you’ve got a friend with an obsession for a specific show, a season pass on iTunes can be a great gift. That way, they’re guaranteed to have new episodes download automatically each week at a discounted price. To purchase, just search for any currently airing show in the iTunes store and go from there. Not sure what shows your giftee is watching this season? An iTunes gift card is an easy win.
For the TV lover who likes to read: Entertainment Weekly subscription, $25 for 1 year, $34 for 2 years
For the TV viewer in your life who likes to keep up with what’s happening in the business, read interviews with celebs, and make paper collages with the faces of their favourite stars, a subscription to Entertainment Weekly is a good bet. It’s one of the most respected entertainment publications in the U.S., and the subscription gives you access to both the print and digital editions. Yes, you can read a lot on their site for free, but there are always extras in the full issue that you can’t get elsewhere. And what about those paper collages..?
For the TV lover who’s always glued to their smart phone: TV apps, $0.99-$4.99
There are a ton of apps out there that every TV lover will appreciate, so you can pretty much take your pick. TV Show Tracker ($1.99) lets you easily keep tabs on when your favourite shows are airing each week, so you never miss an episode. The EyeTV app ($4.99) allows you to remotely control your EyeTV capture device to do all sorts of cool stuff when you’re not near your computer. Ultimate TV Trivia ($0.99) is an extremely fun procrastination tool that no one should have to live without. Basically, apps are a way you can buy someone a lot of convenience or enjoyment for very little money. Not sure which apps someone would get the most use out of? An iTunes or Google Play gift card will allow them to pick their own.
For the TV lover who has requested that you not buy them anything: Playlists of free or borrowed content, free!
Some people like to get into the spirit of the holidays, but don’t buy so much into the commercial aspect. Fair enough! But gift giving is fun, so don’t hold back completely. Instead, stick with something free (and super thoughtful) by making them a playlist of content they can either access for free online (free shows on Hulu, free web series on YouTube, free video podcasts on iTunes) or you lend them from your own media collection (DVDs or digital downloads). Queue it all up for them so it’s easy to enjoy on their own, or invite them over for a TV night at your place. Either way, you’re offering them immense enjoyment for absolutely nothing but an investment of your own time – who could say no to that?
I hope you found something on this list to please the TV fanatic in your life. If I missed anything super awesome, help a sister out by sharing in the comments! Aren’t the holidays magical?
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.