As we enter Thanksgiving week, two seasonal topics tend to enter many minds: turkey and shopping. And while Turkey Day is generally celebrated at home with friends and family, the days that follow bring consumers out to stores and online in droves, searching for great deals and unique Christmas gifts.
The day after Thanksgiving is best known as “Black Friday,” where retailers begin their holiday profit season by marking down big ticket items to draw thousands of shoppers. This year Disney Store is joining in, preferring to call it “Magical Friday,” offering midnight openings and special discounts at more than 130 of their stores across the United States. The following Monday, Nov. 29, is called “Cyber Monday,” with many major online retailers, including DisneyStore.com, offering additional deals online.
This year Disney has released their own “Most Wanted Holiday Toys” list for the 2010 Christmas shopping season, but they’re obviously biased in their selection, listing only the newest products for current properties they’re interested in promoting.
So here I bring you my own Top 10 Disney gift ideas for this holiday season. Use it if you’re buying presents for a Disney fan or if you just need a few items to add to your own Christmas list for Santa. Some items are new, some are old (and consequently linked to eBay searches), but almost every Disney fan will find something on this list that they’ll be happy to open on Christmas morning.
Oh and keep in mind that this list is based off of my own collection and preferences. If you’re shopping for a small child, this may not be the list for you. But if you are looking for that special gift for a certain Disney geek you know and love, read on…
Top 10 Christmas presents for Disney fans
10. Original Disney movie posters
All Disney fans love Disney movies and there are few better ways to show off excitement for a particular movie than to proudly display its movie poster. For the best quality, be sure to look for 27″x40″ double-sided original theatrical posters. An eBay search results in an amazing variety of these stunning posters, from new films like TRON: Legacy and Tangled to classics like The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and even The Rocketeer. There’s a poster for every Disney fan and you can often get them as low as $10-20.
9. Disney pins
I know what you’re thinking: Oh no. Yes, Disney pin collecting is highly addictive and, worse yet, can be quite expensive. But Disney pins also make fantastic Christmas stocking stuffers. There are literally thousands of designs to choose from, as the search linked here will reveal. In fact, at the time of writing this, an eBay search for “Disney pin” yields 100,228 results! So where do you begin? (Or more importantly, where do you stop?) Well, try this: Pick out just a few pins that will be special to the Disney fan you’re giving them to. If they have a favorite character, ride, or movie, chances are really good that Disney has made at least a few pins featuring it. And if you’re concerned about giving a pin that the recipient already has, don’t. They can always trade it later if it’s a duplicate. No Disney fan will complain about unwrapping a few pins on Christmas.
8. 2010 Disney movie tie-ins
Buying for Disney fans can be tough, as it’s nearly impossible to know what they already own as part of their collections. But it’s a good bet that they don’t already own all of the products inspired by the newest and most popular Disney titles. I’m talking about Tangled (Amazon, eBay), TRON: Legacy (Amazon, eBay), Toy Story 3 (Amazon, eBay), and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (Amazon, eBay). Use the links here to browse the amazing variety of products released for all of these films and don’t shy away from the more obscure action figures, sculptures, and artwork. Hardcore Disney fans may have already bought all of the mass-produced items found in your local big box store, but they may not have had time to look for some of the more unique items. Some of my personal favorites are the Toy Story LEGO kits, Mad Hatter figure, and Tron Deluxe Identity Disc.
7. Disney Imagineering books
Any fan of Disney’s theme parks will enjoy one of the many books written over the years by Walt Disney Imagineers – the folks who design the parks. One of the most recent of such books is called Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real. Another great series are the Imagineering Field Guides, one for each of Disney’s parks. They’re all great reads with enough behind-the-scenes photos for any Disney fan to geek out over.
6. Uncommon Disney DVDs
If you were to search any online store for “Disney DVD“, you’d likely turn up somewhere around 10,000 results and be nowhere closer to finding a great Christmas gift. But there are some gems to be found among the less common Disney DVDs. Stray away from Hollywood movies, as most Disney fans already own those. Instead, go for uncommon releases like Walt & El Grupo, Waking Sleeping Beauty, and The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, all scheduled for release at the end of this month – just in time for Christmas. Another popular set is the first-time release of the Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories and Magic Behind the Scenes Travel Channel specials. Use these DVDs as a good starting point and let Amazon or other similar online stores recommend similar titles as well.
5. Disney Parks shirts
Like Disney pins, T-shirts are a great way for a Disney fan to show off what they like the most in the world of Disney. Many of the most popular attractions have at one time or another inspired a T-shirt design. Currently, Disney Parks shirts available on DisneyStore.com are fairly limited, though there are nice shirts for Space Mountain and World of Color. But if you don’t mind doing a little online digging, eBay can once again be your friend. A search for “Disney theme park shirt” may not result in what you’re after, but a more specific search like “Haunted Mansion shirt” likely will. But not everything on eBay is brand new, so make sure to check the condition the T-shirt is in before you buy it. New and “like new” are almost always a winner. Anything less could leave you with a T-shirt with holes, stains, or a nasty odor.
4. Club 33 swag
This is a bit of an obscure gift idea, but still one that a big fan of Disneyland will enjoy. Club 33, as any Disneyland fan knows, is a “secret” club for members and their guests, “hidden” in plain sight behind an almost unmarked door in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, recognizable only by the oval “33” sign next to it. The wait list to become a member of Club 33 is literally years long – and that’s if you can actually put your name on it. They rarely accept new names. And guests who do eventually get selected must pay a hefty annual membership fee (several thousand dollars) to stay in the club. The perk is being a part of Disneyland history and having access to one of the most exclusive clubs around. Within Club 33’s halls sits a relatively small display case filled with an assortment of purchasable goodies, including Mickey ears, shirts, and pins. These items regularly show up on eBay for 2-3 times what you pay to get them inside Club 33. But since you likely won’t be gifting a Club 33 membership any time soon (and most Disney fans won’t have a chance to dine inside the club any time soon), buying a few of these slightly overpriced items on eBay and giving them as a Christmas present to a Disney fan is the next best thing.
3. Disney Afternoon original animation cel
For this Christmas present idea, we head back to the world of eBay. It is, after all, where most of my holiday shopping is done each year. Disney fans who are around my age (29), give or take 5 years, will likely have fond memories of the Disney Afternoon, a block of programming from years ago on the Disney Channel (and other affiliates) that showcased classic Disney cartoons like Duck Tales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Tale Spin, Gummi Bears, and Darkwing Duck. Despite the fact that 15-20 years have gone by since these shows went off the air, many of the tens of thousands of animation cels survived and are now on eBay. Many of these cels were hand-painted and actually used in the production of the shows and since 24 of them were needed to make a single second of screen time, there are always plenty to choose from. Prices can depend on how well-preserved they are, if they’re framed, or if they’re autographed by artists or voice actors. But many sell for as little as $15-20, making them a great Christmas gift. Use the individual links above to search for each of these shows on eBay and then search for your own, adding “animation cel” or just “cel” to the name of a favorite cartoon. You may be surprised by what you find.
2. Foreign Disney park items
So you’re buying for a Disney fan who seems to have everything. It’s someone who has countlessly visited Walt Disney World and Disneyland, watched every Disney movie, and appears to already own every Disney collectible in existence. Fear not. Disney currently has eleven theme parks worldwide and just six of those are in the United States. That leaves five parks to scour for Christmas presents. But I doubt you’ll be flying to Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, or Hong Kong Disneyland just to buy gifts. So once again, eBay is your friend. Products sold in foreign Disney parks are completely different from those found in the United States, so it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a great gift. Try clicking each of the park links above and just flip through the pages of results. You never know what gem you’ll come across. And if you’re more adventurous, and possibly know a foreign language, you can also try ebay.co.uk, ebay.fr, sekaimon.com (eBay Japan), and ebay.com.hk. Just watch out for overseas shipping costs!
1. Disney Gift Card
So you made it through nine Disney Christmas present suggestions and still haven’t found just what you want to buy. Well a Disney Gift Card is just the thing. Some people think gift cards make poor gifts, showing little care or thought on the gift giver’s behalf. I think they’re fantastic. A Disney Gift Card says, “I know you’re a Disney fan, but I have no idea what you want, so here’s some money to buy… whatever that is.” I can’t imagine any Disney fan being disappointed about receiving money to blow on their next trip to a Disney theme park or at DisneyStore.com. But if you absolutely feel the need to give a big (in size) gift, take a cue from my mom and stick the gift card in a large box, then wrap that and hand it over. It makes unwrapping a card even more fun. Disney Gift Cards are available on Amazon or in a variety of designs at DisneyStore.com.
There you have it. These are my suggestions for making a Disney fan happy on Christmas. But I’m sure you have a few of your own, so post in the comments below with any Disney-related gifts you’d like to receive! Your comments will only help to enhance this list for any lost friends, parents, or other relatives who know they want to buy a Disney present, but don’t know where to begin.