Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mulliga's Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4: $20 & Under Stocking Stuffers

The Hanukkah and Christmas seasons are upon us, so I thought it'd be fun to feature some great gift ideas for the geek, gamer, or gun guru in your life.

It's the last weekend to shop before Christmas, which is right about the time when people realize they forgot to get something for visiting acquaintances and distant relatives. In case you need a not-so-expensive present quickly, all of the following items are Mulliga-approved and should be available for purchase at your local big box center (bring your CCW):

Spyfall - This card game works spectacularly well at parties and family gatherings. The rules are simple: one player has the "spy" card, while all the other players have cards with the same wacky location (a casino, a submarine, etc.). The cards are secret, so the players take turns asking and answering questions designed to sort out who's who. The non-spy players try to signal to each other that they know the secret location; at the same time, the spy tries to figure out what location everyone is in while bluffing through the Q&A to avoid blowing cover.

Spot It! - Sometimes our family's parties include younger children or people who speak limited English. A fast-paced visual card game like Spot It! is perfect for such occasions, since all you do is match one of the many zany images on your card with one of the many zany images on the center card. If you call out a match before anyone else, you take the center card, and a new one is drawn. The player with the most matches at the end is the winner.

The Pocket Shot Jr. - Regrettably, there are some households where "gun" is a dirty word. If you know a kid whose parents would freak out over a Daisy Red Ryder, a good alternative gift is the Pocket Shot Jr. The Junior is a down-sized version of the original Pocket Shot slingshot, but it works in exactly the same way: drop a pellet in the pouch, pull it back, and let it go.  It's cheap ($10), small, and comes with plenty of harmless plastic ball ammunition. Just grab an empty cardboard box, paint a target on it, and watch kids get interested in marksmanship.

Lego Classic Sets - For quite some time, the ne plus ultra of geek gifts has been a themed Lego set - Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, Lord of the Rings, and the like. Unfortunately, those licenses ain't cheap, so even a basic Lego X-Wing costs the better part of a C-note nowadays. But that doesn't mean your loved one must go Lego-less! If you want to give those plastic bricks to someone without breaking the bank, try looking the "Classic" line. The brightly colored sets might not have a fancy IP attached to them, but they're only a fraction of the cost - just tell your recipient to use their imagination.


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