So it's Christmas, and you want to get that someone special something special. But proffering up a gift card or a copy of the latest AAA title in shrink-wrapped plastic just seems impersonal. You want to gift something with personal flare, something that really speaks volumes about the person who is receiving and how closely the person giving has been paying attention. T-shirts off ThinkGeek and thematic mugs won't cut it either, and so we turn to the last bastion of originality without having to get our own hands dirty with glue and glitter: artisan crafts.
Forgo those official brand and company stores for Etsy and DeviantArt, where people who make money off crafting and who actually enjoy doing it hawk their wares. Both sites give browsers the opportunity to search for and likely fine almost anything their little hearts can think of, from Triforce-branded flasks to full-blown Connor Kenway costumes complete with tomahawk and bow. Many of the site's sellers will accept commission on an as-requested basis, creating custom items for those who want to dictate how something looks without having to DIY.
The more high-rolling gift givers might find their custom gems floating on the waves of Internet popularity, websites like Reddit pushing items from little-known yet talented artists to its front pages. While these places are a good place to start, we've rounded up a few of the more interesting gaming-themed treats we've found that may pique the interest of that difficult-to-buy-for person on your list.
Because the Weighted Companion Cube was on backorder and you can't bear handing out an IOU for Christmas. So why not buy them something that will not only keep them warm but let them display their unabashed love for their favorite game? Etsy user GoFollowRabbits makes these one-size-fits all stretchy warmers from 100 percent cotton knit, special-made and covered with the familiar Portal cube design. They also come in Creeper and Triforce designs. Great success.
Mass Effect Tali plushie
Everyone knows someone who loves plushies, and everyone knows someone who loves Mass Effect. If they're a fan of both you can score double brownie points with this sassy Tali plushie from Deviantartist Daggerhime. She's also made a Big Daddy plushie that is equal parts terrifying and impressive, and several variations on the Final Fantasy Moogle. Daggerhime accepts commissions for custom plushies through her Etsy store, so if there's a specific character you're looking to find, ping her your request for a quote.
FINAL FANTASY 13 engagement necklace
You watched the l'Cie struggle together, so emulating the actions of the game's unshakable couple is your idea of romance. Prop maker Joy Sutton recreated the lovers' engagement necklace from polymer clay, resin, and silver accented with Swarovski rhinestones. It's not as costly as the official version sold by Square Enix, and the joy of custom commissioning means you can get the perfect chain length for your lady (or guy). Sutton also takes commissions, so if Final Fantasy 13 isn't your cup of tea, Sutton has a specific interest in creating items from Skyrim as well as the Fallout, Mass Effect, Legend of Zelda, Deus Ex, Borderlands and Final Fantasy games.
custom n7 jacket
Catherine Jones of God Save the Queen Fashions is a cosplayer and accomplished seamstress, and in her collection of gaming gear this custom-made leather jacket is our favorite in the Citadel. The jacket is made of two-tone black and red leather with a red suede interior and hand-embroidered "N7" logo on the front. The first prototype of this jacket was auctioned off at Desert Bus, netting $7,177 for Child's Play charity. Jones also takes commissions for custom costumes.
SKyrim Helm of Yngol
A wearable helmet straight out of the land of Skyrim to put under your favorite Dragonborn's tree. Harrison Krix of Volpin Props makes weapon and armor replicas from series like Soul Calibur and Mass Effect, but this Skyrim helmet is something else. Krix is selling the casting for this item, made of raw and urethane resin and cast cold with aluminum powder, so buyers will have to paint and do a little sanding themselves. Check out this four-minute video showing how Krix made the helmet, from start to finish.
Assassin's creed 3 connor kenway costume
Because, why not? Because someone you know would look totally hot dressed as the latest assassin in his Revolutionary War garb. For a little over $300 you get the whole deal. All that's missing is the tomahawk and snarky attitude. Etsy user Jojo Mo makes her costumes based on customers' measurements, assuring a perfect fit. Is it a lady you're looking to buy for? Good news, she makes Aveline, too.