Data Gift Guide

Nov 26, 2012

Now that we’re done giving thanks for all the intangibles like love, friends, family, and drunkenness, it’s time to turn our attention to the physical objects we don’t have yet. It’s the most wonderful time of year! Here are gift ideas for your data geek friends and family. A few of these take a while to make, so be sure to order them now so that you get them in time for Christmas.

Nausicaa Distribution

Nausicaa Distribution on Etsy started with pillows shaped as statistical distributions, but has expanded their offerings to a wide variety of statistical gifts, including posters, t-shirts, and coffee cozies.

Woodcut Maps

Choose your location, select your materials, and you get a beautiful woodcut map. It’s personal, meaningful, and hand-crafted. Order by December 10 to get it by Christmas.


With Meshu, capture the places that are personal to you and make it into jewelry: pendants, cufflinks, and earrings. Be sure to try out the newly released radial layout, which gives you a unique design from a single location. If you want an acrylic meshu, be sure to order by November 30.

xkcd Correlation t-shirt

As I’m sure you know, xkcd has a line of merchandise. The correlation t-shirt is one that any statistician will love.

The Signal and the Noise

I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of Nate Silver’s book, but The Signal and the Noise is flying off the shelves right now. It’s in my reading queue.

Information Graphics

Information Graphics is a honker of a book with lots of large images. It’s a big book with big pages, which suits the graphics well. The accompanying text is maybe not so great with multiple languages next to each other, but it’s a fine coffee table book.

Pop Chart Lab

Pop Chart Lab has a wide variety of pop culture posters and t-shirts on beer, coffee, video games, and others.

Typographic Maps

The guys at Axis Maps combine typography and cartography for a collection of city-specific maps. They have regular prints and letterpress prints, if you’re feeling fancy.


HistoryShots has been around for years. They have a variety of vintage and recent information graphic posters. They recently released one on the history of film, which covers 2,000 films over the past century.


For those looking to get into hardware, the Arduino Starter kit plus Arduino Cookbook might be a fun one. Link it to a data source and you’re off to the races.


Once overeating season is over, we get to subject ourselves to resolutions and dissatisfaction with our health and fitness. The Fitbit helps you track your steps and sleep. There’s also a WiFi scale for those who also want to subject themselves to weight tracking.

Got anymore gift suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments. (Normally, I’d suggest Visualize This, but I’ve never been one for gifts of practicality.)



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