The 15 Best Gifts for the Pop Culture Obsessive
Books, records and assorted ephemera to get them through the pandemic
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.
Visit InsideHook’s Holiday 2020 gifting hub to find gift ideas for every person on your list this year. Also, who are we kidding? Find lots of ideas for yourself there, too.
This year, pop culture proved to be more vital than ever, as we all found ourselves stuck inside our homes indefinitely and constantly in need of a new TV show, a favorite old movie or a great record to occupy our minds — whether they were serving as merely a welcome distraction or actively helping us to grieve. And with no end in sight, it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with an entertainment-based gift idea this holiday season.
But what do you get for the pop culture obsessive on your list who already is hip to all the latest releases and subscribed to every streaming service under the sun? What do you get your film snob friend in a year when hardly any new movies were released? We’ve tried our best to round up some great options for you below; these 15 gifts are sure to delight any culturehound this year.
Prince Sign O The Times – Super Deluxe
The super deluxe Sign O The Times box set is an absolute treasure trove. The 8-CD (or 13-LP) set contains all the audio material Prince officially released in 1987, as well as a whopping 45 previously unreleased studio tracks from his vault; a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987 stop on the Sign O’ The Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands; a DVD featuring the complete, previously unreleased New Year’s Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park from December 31, 1987 that included the Purple One’s only onstage collaboration with jazz great Miles Davis; a 120-page hardcover book featuring unseen photos from the era and Prince’s handwritten lyrics to many of the songs; and liner notes from the likes of Dave Chappelle and Lenny Kravitz.
Latte Larry’s Mug from Curb Your Enthusiasm
As any Curb Your Enthusiasm fan will know, this is a coffee mug inspired by Larry’s season 10 “spite store,” and it’s prettayyyy, prettayyyyyy good.
Dead Style: A Long Strange Trip Into the Magical World of Tie-Dye by Mordechai Rubinstein
You don’t have to be a Deadhead to appreciate the band’s influence of the band, its fans and the surrounding hippie culture on current fashion trends, and Dead Style traces those connections while also providing us with plenty of photos of Grateful Dead attire (bootleg and otherwise) taken at a Dead & Company tour to feast our eyes upon.
Lou Reed New York (Deluxe Edition)
The new 3 CD/2 LP/DVD box set version of this classic Lou Reed album includes a hardcover book with liner notes by David Fricke, a remastered version of the album as well as previously unreleased live and studio tracks, plus a DVD that includes an audio-only interview with Reed and “The New York Album,” a concert video originally released on VHS in 1990 that hasn’t been released on DVD until now which features Reed performing the entire album live in Montreal at the Theatre St. Denis.
How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back by Jeff Tweedy
Perhaps the culture enthusiast on your list is looking to unlock their own creativity while they’re stuck in quarantine. Give them the gift of tips and tricks from one of the best, as Jeff Tweedy provides insights into the creative process with How to Write One Song. Even if they’re not a songwriter, they’ll find plenty to enjoy.
Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused by Melissa Maerz
This book is a must for any fan of Richard Linklater’s classic high-school film. Author Melissa Maerz has put together the definitive oral history of the 1993 movie, full of behind-the-scenes photos and revelations from nearly the entire cast (including Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams) as well as Linklater himself.
Custom Etched Tweets
This is a good one for your extremely online friend. Get them a wooden, etched version of their favorite dumb celebrity tweet (or, better yet, get them one of their own 240-character gems) to display on their desk.
Rose Apothecary Sweatshirt
Still riding high from Schitt’s Creek‘s big sweep at the Emmys? Show your allegiance to the hilarious Canadian comedy with this tasteful, black-and-white Rose Apothecary sweatshirt that David Rose would surely be proud to sell in his store.
Music Playing Cards
If you’re looking for a fun stocking stuffer for the music fan who has everything, these playing cards are a perfect choice. Each card features an illustration of a legendary musician, and each suit represents a different genre. (Hearts are Pop, Diamonds are Folk and Country, Clubs are Soul, Blues and R&B, and Spades are Rock. David Bowie and Bjork are the Jokers, naturally.)
The Replacements Pleased to Meet Me Deluxe Bundle
Rhino’s new box set celebrating this classic Replacements album from 1987 comes with everything a fan could possibly want: a deluxe edition of the album that includes previously unreleased demos, outtakes and rough mixes, a limited edition cassette featuring an interview with Paul Westerberg recorded prior to the release of Pleased to Meet Me, a bumper sticker, an iron-on patch, a Pleased to Meet Me paper placemat, a t-shirt and a tote bag to lug it all around in.
Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 – 1967)
This five-disc box set provides a fascinating look at Joni Mitchell’s evolution as a songwriter and performer by focusing on nearly six hours of home, live and radio recordings from the beginning of her career, including 29 original compositions that have never been released before with her vocals. Hearing them in chronological order as they’re presented allows the listener to pick up on the growth as Mitchell comes into her own, and the accompanying 40-page booklet — with liner notes by Cameron Crowe — provide additional insight.
NIVA Red Lightning T-Shirt
As the music fans in your life surely already know, independent music venues are in grave danger due to COVID-19. Why not give them a shirt that looks cool and benefits the National Independent Venue Association and their efforts to lobby Congress on behalf of the Save Our Stages Act?
Uncut Gems Merchandise Essential T-Shirt
There haven’t been very many movies released this year that found their way into the zeitgeist quite like Uncut Gems did towards the end of last year (besides Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems follow-up Hubie Halloween, of course), so why not help your culturehound friend relive one of the best movies of 2019 while they wait for the day they’re allowed to safely sit inside a theater again?
The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek sadly lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, but not before putting out this poignant, often-funny memoir. It features reflections on his childhood in Ontario, Canada, his 30+ years hosting Jeopardy! and his final months in quarantine spent coping with his illness and staring down his own mortality, all delivered with the grace we’ve come to expect from the TV legend.
12″ Screen Magnifier for Smartphone
Thanks to the pandemic, we’re all streaming movies and TV shows more than ever, and this screen magnifier comes in handy for when your laptop is unavailable for whatever reason and you’re forced to watch on your phone. It’s designed to fit most smartphones, and it doesn’t require a battery, so you can go ahead and binge that entire Mad Men season without worrying about finding an outlet.
Sign up for more daily deals and recommendations from InsideHook's, The Goods, delivered straight to your inbox.
Suggested for you