Squinchy Holidays: Gifts for Your Weird Art Friend (Chosen by a Weird Art Friend)


By Clay McDermott


We are getting into the holiday thick. I just saw snow for the first time, stores are already trying to put their own spin on the same five songs, and odds are that quite a few of you have not found presents for loved ones. I know I still haven’t finished shopping. What can we buy that both satisfies our need for wonderful consumerism, but also can be given to our friends who pretend they don’t want you to do exactly that? What do you buy for your weird art friend?


Under $20 (for friends):

Literary Starbucks: Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor  $8.48

Speaking from personal experience as an arty English major, there is a lot of overlap between art, English, and Starbucks. Capitalize on it with this book. After all, with a book full of actual information, you run the risk of your recipient knowing the stories contained within already. Odds are they won’t know that Hamlet likes mocha.

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk $11.08

This book is wild. I mean that as the highest possible praise. Every single one of its 448 pages is filled with absolute debauchery and madness. At the same time, it also tells a fascinating tale of art in what seem like hopeless times. The punk stars who rolled in broken glass onstage rubbed shoulders with revolutionaries and visionaries. At heart, this is a book about why we just keep on doing art. Also, it’s funny. I liked that too.

Milk and Vine: Inspirational Quotes From Classic Vines $5.99

Vines were the medium of a generation. We have to accept that. Those seven seconds defined who we are, were, and will be. How many hours have been watched of Vine since it was born? I actually don’t want to know. I’m about half of that airtime probably. This book, spoofing Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, basically just transcribes vines and formats them like poetry. It’s fantastic.

Art Socks

I want these. I’ll be totally honest. What a power move, to walk into a meeting with The Scream peeking over the tops of your Doc Martens. Give that power to a friend, and give them these socks. Also Mona Lisa socks are fantastic, and I never knew just how much they were until now.

$20-50 (for best friends or siblings you haven’t called in a while):

Boogie Board Jot $21.13

What’s better than doodling? Doodling in neon. This thingamajig is fantastic for doodlers and wannabe doodlers (I’m in the latter group.) When you get sick of your glorious neon opus, you just press a button and start again. Nobody ever has to see your twenty mock-up doodles! There are many colors offered, and different styles of board for sale as well. I suggest the one that obviously looks like it was made for small children. Seems like it can hit that oh so important irony quota.

The Original Buddha Board $34.95

In a similar vein to the entry above, this is a no-stress drawing tool. This one looks like watercolor though, and that’s right out of a whole new ballgame. While the write up by the company is a little much, there is something calming about just painting with water and watching the lines you make slowly evaporate. You can also turn the brush onto your own person without getting messy. It’s ideal!

$50-100 (for salvaging relationships):

Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera $79.99

Generations of photographers have been printing out their photos right there on the spot. Give the person you love the ability to join the ranks of people with lots of small photos posted in patterns on their walls. The camera itself also looks pretty fashionable, so even when you run out of film, you can pretend to be really really cool.

DBPOWER T20 1500 Lumens LCD Mini Projector $99.99

I feel like a portable projector speaks for itself in terms of potential. Underground film screenings, art shows, vine viewing sessions, and really fun shadow puppet shows are what you give the person you give this gift. It’s pretty pricey, but if you accidentally killed someone’s dreams of being a grindhouse director, this is how you can say “I’m sorry for not crashing your car.”


To cap off a veritable consumerist cavort, I want to remind everyone that presents are only worth as much as the sentiment that comes with them. Make a fun card for your friend. Make a treasure hunt for them to find the present. Tell them you care about them. Write thank you cards. Enjoy the season, and remember that art is about people. The people in your life deserve to feel as cared for as your art.

GuideRachel Kubrick