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November 25, 2010

SideQuesting’s 30 Under $30 Holiday Gift Guide

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Written by: Dalibor Dimovski
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With the holiday shopping season upon us, and the throngs of shoppers tripping over themselves to buy the latest gifts, websites and blogs prepare shopping lists of recommendations.  Gaming sites generally put together a who’s who list of the best games of the year, possibly broken down by platform or genre, but rarely anything that the site’s visitors (read: already core gamers) don’t already own.

At SideQuesting, we’re trying something a little different.  Gamers aren’t one-minded purchasers; we’re generally very open to culture, technology, and trends.  We know that the gamers on your list may have already played the majority of the games we’d list anyways, so the better value would be to show some other products that might appeal to them.  Having no advertisers to cater to (unless you’re reading this and interested, Cisco, Microsoft, Comcast, or Coke!) some of the SQ staff have come together to give you our personal, non-gaming recommendations.

The list that follows includes gadgets, gear, fashion, and objects that we desire, all priced at under $30 to go easy on your budgets.

Without further ado, break out the debit cards and let’s get to saving the economy!

Mike McGarrigle


The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol 1. ($20)

I just want to see what kind of dirt he had on people 100 years ago!

Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp ($25)

I’ve had one of these for years. It is by far the handiest things I have ever owned. This and a Leatherman is something everyone should have in their car. Just think if MacGyver had these back in the day.

Nerf N-Strike Recon Cs-6 ($22)

Nerf has probably caused more damage in my house then anything else. Sure the darts are foam, but let’s be real here: that John Woo style dive behind the couch never goes as planned. Next thing you know pictures are falling off the walls and the cat’s no where to be found. All the replacement picture frames aside, it never stops being fun… Ever!

Yaniv Pereyaslavsky

Zagg invisibleShield iPad Screen Protector ($16)

Because you’ll probably scratch up your iPad as soon as you open the box.

Skullcandy DUB In-Ear Headphones ($13)
Very bass-y Dubstep specific headphones!

iHomework for iPad ($2)
Senior year, early University applications, life sucking. Hopefully Santa can deliver some free time for my holidays.

Nathan Andrews

Buckyballs ($29.99)

216 rare-earth magnet spheres. Build whatever you desire.

Moon [Blu Ray, DVD] ($16)

The best movie I saw this year. Sam Rockwell is truly brilliant, and the overall atmosphere of this movie is just plain mesmerizing. Reminds me a lot of Gattaca or 2001.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ($10)

The classic Jane Austen novel updated to fit a more modern, zombie-obsessed audience. At times hilariously subtle, and at others completely over the top. I can’t wait for the movie adaptation!

Dali Dimovski

Ex Machina: Book 1 Deluxe Edition ($20)

A terrific take on the life of a superhero after he retires… and becomes elected Mayor of New York.  Brian K Vaughan is a master story-teller of graphic novels, and the art is atmospheric and engaging.

Automoblox Mini Hot Rod HR2 ($17)

Part Duplo, part Hot Wheels, Automoblox are awesome car models that you put together yourself.  High-quality wood and plastic, tires, rims, and excellent details make this Hot Rod even hotter.  A great little piece to put on your shelf at the cubicle.

Moleskin Large Graph Paper Notebook ($13)

I’m always scribbling something, whether sketches, notes, or possible article topics.  It’s important I have a good notebook with me.  Moleskin’s classic hard-cover notebook has graph paper inside, which is kinda of like ruled paper but with a little more freedom.  Why, I dunno.  It just works, alright?

Aaron Kirchhoff

8oz Stainless Steel Hip Flask w/ Funnel ($7)

Never pay 3x the price of your meal for a modest buzz ever again!

Zune Premium Headphones v2 ($29.95)

They sound great, are more comfortable than most earbuds.  Mine have endured the constant wear and tear of more than 2 years of daily use.

MBMBAM Pack Your Bags and Move Away Tee ($19)

Because if you don’t buy one, the terrorists win.

Doug Lang

Sennheiser CX 300 Headphones ($28)

The Sennheiser CX 300 offer solid sound quality, significant isolation from outside sounds, and an ultralightweight design.

elago Mobile Nano MicroSDHC Flash Memory Card Reader ($9)

This thing is crazy tiny, great to stick in the side of a notebook for some extra storage using micro SD, or even the front of the Xbox 360 for extra storage.

SanDisk 16 GB Class 2 microSDHC ($21)

Goes great with the reader above, with 16 gigs for under 30 bucks. These are getting very affordable!

Eric Smith

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World [Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy] ($25)

A movie that just about everyone will enjoy, good for kids and adults.

Risk ($25)

Everyone loves Risk. It’s a good way to hang out with friends and/or family that doesn’t require electricity.

How to Boil Water ($17)

Most people have bad eating habits because of their lack of cooking ability. Fix that with easy beginner recipes that have good outcomes.

John Parie

The Walking Dead Book 1 [ Hardcover] ($27)

What more can I say … I love this series.

Self Stirring Mug ($19)

I’m a coffee and tea addict.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife ($27)

I carry mine with me everywhere. No geek should go without one.

Jon Kehoe

MIU Connoisseur Corkscrew ($18)

A fancy corkscrew to open that fine bottle of wine & spread some holiday cheer.  It has all the wine-opening utility of a powerdrill but none of the corky bits.

Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Anthology ($24)

While it’s not the BluRay set, if it was 1985 it would be on Betamax. GASP!

Marvel Zombies Vol 1 ($11)

Robert Kirkman’s “other” zombie book. Sillier but just as much flesh-eating. Yum!

And from our friends on Twitter…

The Art of Tron Legacy ($27)

We can’t wait for the movie to be released, so this art book is the perfect compendium for anyone excited for it!  It features concept work, set designs, and illustrations from the film’s art direction team.  Delectable!

PowerTech Chem 120 ($28)

Who doesn’t like causing mayhem with strange chemicals?  Well, we do!  This kit provides a ton of little experiments sure to keep us occupied for weeks.  Edutainment!

Schylling Chrome Planet Robot ($19)

In preparation for our eventual robot overlords, SideQuesting is starting off by recommending this 1950′s themed wind-up bot from Schylling.  Not only is he 10 3/4″ tall and walks, but he has SPARKS shooting behind his mask!  Score!



About the Author

Dalibor Dimovski
Dali is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of SideQuesting, as well as the co-Founder of CarDesignFetish and the founder of MakLink. Dali is also a car designer, deejay, and introductory beer-brewer.




  • ItsPirrip

    great guide. I need a new headphone :) Skullcandy DUB In-Ear Headphones ($13) <- good deal!!