December 10, 2014
Well, it’s that time of year again… it’s time for the annual Georneys “What to Buy a Geologist for Christmas” (or Chanukah or Newtonmas, etc.) list! Do you have a geologist (or several) in your family? Then check out the list below for some holiday gift ideas. Also be sure to also check out the 2010 (Part I and Part II), 2011, 2012, and 2013 lists. I apologize that some of the pictures and links in the previous lists are now broken. The ideas are still good!
Gift #1: Set of Planetary Glasses
The planetary scientist in your family definitely needs this set of planetary glasses. Actually, these glasses are so awesome that I think all geologists need a set! The glasses are actually so popular that they are currently sold out, but you could order them for your geologist family member and promise delivery in February.
Gift #2: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey DVD
I really enjoyed watching the new Cosmos TV series, which was hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson and aired earlier this year. Why not buy this TV series for the geologist in your family? The DVD for this TV series is currently on sale at Amazon here. You can also buy the DVD for Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos TV series here.
Cost: $24.99 (on sale) or $49.98 (regular price)
Gift #3: Rosetta Stone Paperweight
Do you have a geoarchaeologist in the family? Then you should consider buying a Rosetta Stone themed gift from The British Museum. There are many choices in the museum shop here. You can buy a Rosetta Stone themed paperweight (shown above) or an iPad case or a bag or a puzzle or even a replica of the stone.
Cost: £6.99 for the paperweight
Gift #4: Periodic Table Blanket
For the geochemist in the family, a periodic table of the elements blanket makes a perfect gift!
Gift #5: A Gold Pan
The economic geologist in your family will love a gold pan for Christmas. I spent a couple of years working in gold exploration, and one thing I learned is that panning for gold in streams and on beaches is great fun! I also learned that you can never have too many gold pans. You can buy gold pans from many places, such as from the Garrett online shop.
Cost: About $10
Gift #6: A Geological Dictionary
Like all sciences, geology is full of terminology. Why not buy the geologist in your family a geological dictionary to help them remember all of the jargon? There are a few good geological dictionaries out there, such as this one.
Cost: About $15
Gift #7: A Microscope
Geologists can tell a great amount about rocks from outcrops and hand samples, but sometimes they need to take a close look at rocks and rock slices using a microscope. You can buy geological microscopes from several websites, such as UKGE, Microscope World, and Zeiss.
Cost: Variable from about $100 to several thousand dollars
Gift #8: A Telescope
Geology is a science that takes place on many scales. Sometimes geologists need to look closely at rocks using a microscope and other times they need to look out at very big space rocks using a telescope. Even if the geologist in your family is not a planetary scientist, they will probably appreciate the gift of a telescope. I know that I certainly enjoy looking at the moon using a telescope. If you can’t afford a telescope, then perhaps buy a pair of binoculars, which can be used for looking at the moon (a poor man’s telescope) and which can also be used during geological field work.
Cost: Variable from about $100 to many, many thousands of dollars
Gift #9: A Jar of Sand
Geologists love sand, which is just small bits of rock. So, if you want a gift for the geologist in your family, visit a beautiful beach (one with beautiful white sand or red sand or maybe even black sand) and collect some of the sand. Put the sand in a pretty jar and then write a note explaining where and when the sand was collected. The geologist in your family will enjoy this thoughtful (and affordable!) gift.
Cost: $5 to $15 for the jar. The sand is free!
Gift #10: A Donation to a Geological Charity
If the geologist in your family already has too many things (as many scientists do…) then why not consider making a donation to a geological charity in their name? You can donate money to a local geology department to support a student fund or you can donate to a geological park. For example, here in South Africa I would recommend donating to the West Coast Fossil Park in Langebaan in the Western Cape. This park, which is funded through donations and ticket sales, preserves a world class fossil site and runs wonderful educational tours and other activities.
Cost: Whatever you want! $25 could be a good donation amount.