Last Minute Retro Gift Ideas
By James Grahame
It's getting down to the wire, so here are a few "Argh! I left it until the last second" Christmas gift ideas with a Retro flavour.
Seiko 5 Wristwatch - Forget batteries and back-lit displays and get a mechanical watch with 21 jewel automatic mechanism and clear back. They're beautiful, practical and affordable. Priced from $60
Korg Monotron - A handheld analog synthesizer for under $60. The Monotron features the same resonant filter circuit as the classic Korg MS-10, along with a tiny membrane keyboard and built-in speaker.
A Decent Budget Turntable - The Audio Technica AT-LP120 isn't the cheapest turntable on the market, but it's one of the best you're going to get for under $250. Includes a digital USB port along with standard stereo RCA jacks, 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm playback speeds with quartz-controlled variable playback. The Spin-Clean record washer is a great way to clean your vintage vinyl, too.
Monty Python - Watch as Monty Python is brought to life on-screen in a six part mini-series that examines the past, present and future of this deranged bunch. Monty Python: Almost The Truth is a 3 disc set on Blu-ray or DVD.
A Cool Camera - The Blackbird, Fly is a rather funky Twin Lens Reflex camera. Unlike most TLRs which require hard to find medium-format film, the Blackbird, Fly uses standard 35mm rolls. There are three image masks which let you choose between standard 35mm (24 x 36mm), square (24 x24mm) and large format (36 x 36mm, extending past the sprocket holes) frames.
Vintage Cartoons - How about Voltron - Defender of the Universe - Collection One or maybe Thundercats: The Complete Seasons 1 and 2? If your tastes lean more toward the golden age of cartoons (as mine do), you can't go wrong with the Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection. My kid absolutely adores it.
Classic Sci-Fi - 150 episodes from the Golden Age of television. Includes radar Men From The Moon, Flash Gordon, Johnny Jupiter and Tales of Tomorrow. The complete 12 disc set is only $11.
A Book About Airstreams - David Winick is a master craftsman who used to build movie sets. He started rebuilding Airstreams as a hobby, but things soon developed into a full-time business. If you're buying for a fan of mid-century design, this book will be well received. Airstreams Custom Interiors is a full color 144 page hardcover masterpiece.
Yoda - A Star Wars-themed backpack that's guaranteed to draw attention wherever you go. The Yoda Back Buddy measures 24" x 12" x 4" with a single zippered pouch that's large enough for DVDs, books and game systems.
Super Mario - Yes, I know Super Mario 3D Land is brand new. That doesn't stop it from being awesome. If you haven't tried the Nintendo 3DS, you're in for a pleasant surprise. The build quality is excellent and games like this one (and Zelda, Mario Kart and Pilotwings) have pushed it to the top of millions of Christmas lists this year. Ignore the naysayers - the 3D effect is outstanding. It's almost as if there's a tiny little world behind the screen.
A Digital Rangefinder Camera - At first glance, the Fujifilm X10 camera looks like it was made by Swiss gnomes in the mid-1960s. However, there's nothing old fashioned inside. This 12 MP camera features a stunning f2.0-f2.8 4x zoom lens, 2/3-inch CMOS image sensor, 2.8-inch LCD display and a multitude of shooting modes. Yes, it's $625. But it's worth every penny.
Retro Style Headphones - Panasonic has gone seriously old school with a range of affordable stereo monitor headphones aimed at part-time DJs and home enthusiasts. The best news is that they carry a street price of under $50 and the general consensus is that they offer excellent sound and comfort for the price. Available in black (the cheapest) and retro shades or cream, blue, refrigerator white and green (the coolest).
A Clever Board Game - Carcassonne is an award winning tile-laying strategy game that takes only minutes to learn, but days to master. Fun for kids 10+ and adults. There are lots of expansion packs available, too. If you already own it, consider one of the great Gigamic puzzle strategy games.
Last, but not least - Our Retro Thing Atari-style joysticks make brilliant stocking stuffers. Amazon.com still has a few dozen in Rogue Red or Blizzard Blue. We only made 500 of each color, and each is hand assembled in the USA by a genuine Retro Thing elf. Choose 2-day delivery to get them by the 24th.