With the holiday season upon us, AnimeCons TV has put together a list of gift suggestions for your friends and family members who may be regular convention attendees. You may even use this list as your own guide when people ask what you would like as a present for a holiday or birthday.
The most obvious idea is to buy a badge for a convention. A lot of conventions will let you purchase a badge for someone else and so this is a perfect time to do that. If you know someone who is planning to go to a convention but hasn't bought their badge yet, get a badge for yourself and someone else. Not only do they get a great gift, but you get a companion for the convention! You could even make up a certificate on your own to make the presentation more meaningful than just a printed e-mail receipt.
Gift cards are another obvious choice. A gas gift card, airline gift card, or hotel gift card would help cover some of the expenses of getting to and staying at the convention. You may also be able to find a gift card for a restaurant located near the convention so they can have a nice meal there. You can find gift cards for a wide variety of these places at your local supermarket.
It's important to keep hydrated at conventions and beverages at hotel and convention center prices can be priced rather high. A collapsible water bottle wouldn't take up much room in luggage, but could be filled up in a bathroom after arrival and carried around the convention.
What about luggage? A bag or suitcase could be a good gift if your friend's bags are wearing a bit thin or are never big enough to carry everything they need. Do they have too many large bags and need a smaller one? Maybe they could use a special kind of bag like one for suits or dresses to keep their cosplay nice while traveling.
In this digital age, everyone has a cell phone, but between photos, texting, apps, and social media, the battery can run down fast when you're at a convention. An external battery can be a very welcome gift for your high-tech friends. We recommend the Mophie for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone which can recharge most USB devices. It comes in a variety of sizes (and prices) which can recharge more often and larger devices.
Of course, how are they running down the batteries on these devices? Games! While waiting in line, who hasn't killed time with a game on their phone or handheld device? Gift cards for their phone's app store could be a good idea or maybe a game for their Nintendo DS or PS Vita. As an alternative to video games, you could try some analog favorites among con attendees such as Apples to Apples, Fluxx, Channel A, or Cards Against Humanity.
Our own Elizabeth recommends a luggage scale. You can use this to make sure your luggage isn't overweight before you get to the airport. (Check with your airline to see their limits.) This can save you overweight baggage fees or, at the very least, the embarrassment of having to re-pack your bags at the ticket counter. (Although some normal bathroom scales may also work for this purpose.)
Lanyards are an option for an inexpensive gift. Not every convention gives one out with badges, but you could provide a better option even for the ones that do. You might be able to find one with images from their favorite show or movie or video game or maybe one with a nice badge holder.
Cosplayer Gift Ideas
For cosplayers, not only is everything above still an option, but there are some other things they may enjoy...
The most obvious idea for them is a gift card to a fabric store, online wig shop, or cosmetic store. If they do a lot of props, they may enjoy a gift card from a home improvement store.
Art books can be handy reference for characters. They often have many detailed drawings of characters and can be incredibly useful when designing a costume.
Figures can also be helpful as a reference because they're in 3D and you can hold them and rotate them to any view you desire. When creating a costume, this is absolutely invaluable. Plus, the figure is a nice reminder of the character and the costume to keep on a shelf.
Garment bags are wonderful for cosplayers so that they can store the costume together, keep it safe, and make it harder to lose pieces. When traveling, all they have to do is grab the bag and go!
Comic Convention Attendees
Attendees to comic conventions are likely to be comic collectors in some way. Comic sleeves would help keep their individual comic issues in mint condition. There are also storage books which allow comics to be stored together safely.
If your friend regularly shops in artists' alley, they may like to have a portfolio of some kind to display their purchases. If there are any they're particularly proud of, maybe you could get them a frame for it. Often people plan to frame it "eventually" and you can help push that process forward.
Artists' Alley Sellers
In order to help your friends who sell in artists' alley look their best, you could get a nice tablecloth to cover their artists' alley table. (Most tables are 8'x2.5', but check with your local convention.) They may also like a large banner to hang in front of or behind their table. We've ordered our FanCons.com, AnimeCons.com, and AnimeCons TV banners through PSPrint.com.
Anime or Fan Music Video Creators
Once they've decided to start working on their hot new video project, they'll need a place to store their clips. Why not get an external hard drive? Really, who couldn't use more disk space?
People who wander conventions taking photos of cosplayers never have enough of two things: memory cards and batteries. Find out what kind of camera they use and you should easily be able to find more memory cards or batteries.
Staff, particularly those in management positions, often have many papers they have to keep organized and have to keep with them at the convention. Look for a nice portfolio to hold a notepad, miscellaneous papers, a schedule, pens, and other miscellaneous documents. Ideally, it should zip or snap shut so that things don't go flying if it gets dropped. If they use an iPad or other tablet, you may even be able to find one that could fit that as well!
Convention staff usually do a lot of walking. A LOT! A pedometer can be fun to track the amount of walking and compare with other staff members. It can even come in handy in the off season for regular fitness tracking.
Do you have ideas? Leave them in the forums...