12 Gifts for the 'Star Wars' Fan

LittleBits
LittleBits

Two years prior to the release of Star Wars in 1977, George Lucas thought it might be interesting if his space opera resulted in a Wookiee coffee mug or an R2-D2 cookie jar. Some 40 years later, merchandise from the film series has become an entire industry unto itself, with an almost unaccountable number of products. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by options, take a look at 12 gifts sure to please the Force fan in your life.

1. LITTLEBITS DROID INVENTOR KIT; $100

A look at the LittleBits Star Wars Droid kit parts
LittleBits

This is the Droid gift you’re looking for. This engineering kit is suitable for ages 8 and up and features a variety of motors, parts, stickers, and other accessories to help users build their own unique robotic companion. Once assembled, the Droid can sense and avoid obstacles, locomote when humans “use the Force” by swiping their hand, or record secret messages to deliver to accomplices.

Find It: LittleBits

2. STAR WARS ELITE SERIES DIE CAST ACTION FIGURES; $20

A Star Wars die cast action figure of Captain Phasma
Amazon

Action figures have always been a hallmark of the Star Wars product universe, and these 6.5-inch to 7.5-inch die cast figures are a worthy addition to the line-up. Instead of being strictly plastic, each has been struck with molded metal parts to make for a durable, hefty figure that’s more statue than plaything. (But don't worry: They're still poseable.)

Find It: Amazon

3. STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE DEATH STAR HOLOGRAM LIMITED EDITION VINYL SET; $135

A Star Wars soundtrack album sleeve
Amazon

Vinyl may not be as popular as it was when the original Star Wars was released, but the analog format still has enough fans to make this a must-have. The eye-popping reissue of the classic John Williams score features a 3-D hologram on one of the records that projects a Death Star image when played. No special equipment other than a turntable and an overhead light source is needed.

Find It: Amazon

4. STAR WARS BB-8 BLANKET SCARF; $40

A model sports a Star Wars BB-8 blanket scarf
ThinkGeek

For chilly winter mornings, nothing’s better than a cozy blanket-scarf hybrid—nothing, that is, unless it’s one emblazoned with the distinctive profile of 2015’s breakout Droid, BB-8. The spherical charmer appears on this acrylic throw that measures 80 inches by 24 inches.

Find It: ThinkGeek

5. STATE BAGS LIMITED EDITION STAR WARS COLLECTION; $80 AND UP

A Star Wars Darth Vader backpack from State Bags
STATE Bags

Love Star Wars? Love trendy backpacks? STATE Bags is prepared to make you an offer you can’t refuse. These unique, understated totes use patterns and color schemes to broadcast your love of Jedi culture without going overboard. Choose between Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2, or a Stormtrooper assembly.

Find It: STATE Bags

6. STAR WARS CROSS STITCH; $20

The cover of a Star Wars cross stitch instructional book
ThinkGeek

Rebellious arts and crafts fans will find a lot to love about this book detailing 12 Star Wars cross stitch patterns with varying degrees of difficulty. In addition to logos for the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, and Boba Fett’s helmet, you can also needle BB-8 and the Death Star.

Find It: ThinkGeek

7. MONOPOLY: STAR WARS 40TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION; $25

A look at the Stars Wars 40th anniversary edition of Monopoly
Amazon

Classic Monopoly game pieces and squares have been swapped out for Star Wars-centric themes in honor of the original film’s 40th anniversary. Move your X-wing flight helmet or Millennium Falcon around the board and draw Force cards that could decide your fate. But be warned: Not even mastery of space wizardry can keep you from going bankrupt.

Find It: Amazon

8. STAR WARS BLACK SERIES POE DAMERON ELECTRONIC X-WING PILOT HELMET; $77

A Star Wars Poe Dameron X-wing helmet replica
Amazon

You don’t need to be hotshot X-wing pilot Poe Dameron to wear his flight gear. This movie-accurate helmet features a retractable visor, sound effects from the films, and some beep-blop Droid chatter from co-pilot BB-8.

Find It: Amazon

9. STAR WARS EPISODE VIII FIGHTER SHIPS 4 PIECE GLASS SET; $15

A set of four Star Wars ship glasses
ThinkGeek

Collectible glasses were all the rage in the ‘80s, and now they’re making a comeback. This set of four 10-ounce drinking glasses features famous ships from the series, including the Millennium Falcon, a TIE Fighter, and an X-wing. Strange blue milk not included.

Find It: Think Geek

10. STAR WARS HAN SOLO AND TAUNTAUN POP! FIGURE SET: A SMUGGLERS BOUNTY EXCLUSIVE; $97

A Funko Han Solo and Tauntaun collectible figure set
Amazon

One of the most disgusting-yet-cool sequences in all of Star Wars is the sequence in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo braves the frigid climate of Hoth in order to rescue his friend Luke Skywalker. Cutting open his Tauntaun allows him to keep Luke warm enough until help arrives. While you won’t be able to disembowel this Funko version, Han still looks as slick as ever in his winter gear while riding his doomed companion.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO STAR WARS EPISODE VIII FIRST ORDER HEAVY ASSAULT WALKER BUILDING KIT; $150

A LEGO Star Wars Assault Walker set
Amazon

The Resistance will be having problems with this massive Assault Walker, a 13-inch-tall kit that seems ready to demolish anything in its path. Once completed, the Walker sports a missile-firing head, movable legs, and First Order mini-figures to man the operation.

Find It: Amazon

12. SYMMETRY SERIES STAR WARS IPHONE CASES; $45 AND UP

Hold the phone: Help your favorite fan answer the call of the Force (or the dark side) with these slim and durable iPhone cases from Otterbox. Choose from five different designs, featuring BB-8, a stormtropper, Darth Vader, the Resistance, and Ahch-To.

Find It: Otterbox

7 Ways to Take Advantage of the Bullet Journal Method

iStock.com/Neustockimages
iStock.com/Neustockimages

If you haven't heard of the bullet journal, it's the productivity method du jour—one that combines the features of a planner, calendar, to-do list, diary, and more. It's not a specific product (although the founder of the method, Ryder Carroll, has created a special notebook for it) as much as a way of creating a journaling system that works for you.

Proponents say the method helps you focus your time and your goals, in part through periodic "migration" sessions that force you to review how you've been spending your days. And yes, it's popular on Instagram—because many bullet journalers have filled their notebooks with colorful flair. (But that part is entirely optional.)

While core components of the bullet journal system like monthly spreads and daily logs are great, many bullet journalers like to add other features that fit their own life. After all, the beauty of the method is the customization and flexibility. We've rounded up a few ideas for new and not-so-new bullet journalers alike to try.

1. Track—and fuel—your creative projects.

Let's say that, like most people, you have a day job. But at night, you're writing the next Great American Novel—or at least some short stories. You might get an idea related to one of those projects on your morning commute or while taking a walk in the park at lunch. There's no time to pull out the manuscript, and if you email yourself the idea it might get lost in a jumble of newsletters and other alerts.

Instead, just start a new page for the project in your journal, note it in your index, and scribble away. You can come back to it later, and fill in other, non-sequential pages in the journal as the mood strikes. Your journal probably isn't the best place to write whole stories, but it's perfect if you just had a mini-breakthrough you want to take down, or even as a way to keep track of potential prompts and inspiration.

2. Improve your habits.

Habit trackers are some of the most popular add-ons to the regular bullet journal time-oriented spreads. You can make yours cute—tracking the number of glasses of water you drink a day by coloring in a big glass, say—or more minimalist, perhaps by listing the habits you want to build (yoga, waking up early) on the left next to a chart of days and coloring in the days you manage to do the habit. You can also create a page just to log you often you do one particular thing—drinking alcohol, for example. Some people even use their bullet journals to track food and digestive symptoms, either by creating a section for a food journal or just noting in their daily log when they eat a certain food and how it makes them feel.

3. Save money.

You can create a custom spread for your monthly budget, track all your expenses, or just track your purchases in a particular category (say, eating out) if there's a particular type of spending you're trying to curb. The design can be as crafty as you like—whether you're coloring in bricks that represent each $50 saved toward a house or just filling in columns noting every time you make a purchase. The key is that, as with health habits, writing something down can serve as a powerful motivator and/or deterrent, since you know you'll have to come face-to-face with yourself at the end of the month.

4. Plan your meals.

Nothing combines health and finance goals quite like planning your meals. You can make your meal plan a section of your weekly spread: Carroll, the bullet journal's creator, likes to set up a list of meals on the left page of his notebook and a shopping list of ingredients on the right. Dividing the items by categories (like meat, produce, and pantry staples) can speed things up at the store, too. It's great to do this at home so you can check the fridge and see what you're missing. Then, when you're done shopping, note how much you spent at the bottom of the list. You can track that to develop insights about your grocery budget.

Over time, you can also create lists to help you with meal planning, perhaps "Favorite Weeknight Dinners," "Easy Work Lunches," etc. Some people also like to create a master grocery list of frequently bought items they can consult whenever they're at the store, just in case they forget to write staples down on their weekly shopping list.

5. Remember the good things.

In our flurry of to-do lists, project deadlines, and meal plans, it can be easy to forget about the things that brighten our days, whether it's an especially funny joke from a colleague or a milestone in a child's development. Create a "memories" page (don't forget to log it in your index!) where you record the great stuff that happens, and pull it out to reflect whenever you're having a gray day. Some bullet journalers like to put pages like this toward the back of their journals to separate them out from the time-oriented spreads. A memories page is also a great opportunity to bust out some thematic artwork.

6. Track your reading lists.

Another great way to encourage better habits is through a reading log. Like a memory log, many people like to put this toward the back of their journal, although ultimately the placement is totally up to you. You can keep track of all the books you read this year, perhaps with notes on what you thought of them—a definite resource when you're drawing up those year-end best-of lists to share with other reading pals!

7. Pair it with an app.

While the bullet journal is touted as "the analog method for the digital age," most of us don't want to go full-on analog. There's now an official companion app that will help you organize and search your old bullet journals, help you learn the method, offer prompts, and serve as a log for when you're away from your journal. It's designed as an addition to the journal, not a replacement, so you still need to put in that time with pen (or pencil, or watercolor brush) and paper.

Bullet journals also pair well with apps like Evernote—for example, you can use Evernote on your smartphone to snap photos of text you scrawl down to save digitally for later use. (Maybe those on-the-fly notes on your novel go into an Evernote notebook that you consult when you have a bit more time, for example.) That's a good option for longer-term projects that might span a couple notebooks.

Many people also use both bullet journals and an online calendar, using the latter for fixed events like birthdays and doctors appointments and the former as more of a way to time-block the day and focus on goals. After all, the beauty of the bullet journal is that unlike digital space, the paper in your notebook is finite—which helps you realize that so is your time and energy. That makes it easier to plan accordingly.

This Ingenious Hanger Makes Hanging Pants a Breeze, No Clips or Folds Required

Hurdle Hanger
Hurdle Hanger

Get ready to clean out your closet. No, we don’t mean going all Marie Kondo on your clothes. There’s a new type of clothes hanger that promises to change the way you store your clothes, taking the headache out of hanging up your pants.

The Hurdle Hanger, which has currently raised more than $33,000 on Kickstarter, calls itself the “one-second pants hanger.” Rather than relying on cumbersome clips or requiring bulky folding techniques, the hanger design employs one very simple change: It hooks into the belt loops of your pants.

The angular hanger is open on one side so that you can slide the bar through the belt loops of your pants, letting you secure your pants in one smooth motion rather than struggling with the pant clips that will just wrinkle your waistband anyway.

A person slides the Hurdle Hanger through the belt loops of a pants to hang them.
Hurdle Hanger

Just slide the hanger bar through the belt loop (or loops) farthest from you, then hang the belt loop closest to you from the hook. There is another hook midway across the bar that secures the middle belt loop, keeping your pants from drooping while they hang. In another subtle touch, you can use the same hook to hang smaller items, like belts or hats, off the side.

The Hurdle Hanger is an example of smart design at its finest—the kind of idea that, when you see it in action, makes you think, “Wait, how did no one think of this before?” It takes a once-cumbersome task and makes it seamless, eliminating at least some of the burden that may be keeping you from accomplishing the chore of hanging up your clothes. No more messing with clips or trying to shove pants through the cramped hole in the hanger to fold them over.

There are already open-end pants hangers that make it easier to slide a folded pair of slacks into your closet, but the belt loop hooks take the Hurdle Hanger to another level. You might even get inspired enough to start hanging your jeans.

A 10-pack of hangers is $20 on Kickstarter—though anything that makes you actively excited to organize your closet is priceless.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER