It’s that time of year again. Where the spirit of giving sneaks up behind you and throttles you unexpectedly.
There are so many reminders of what’s wonderful and magical about being a human during the holidays that you can’t help but be infected with the desire to give things to the people that you care about. Or at least I can’t.
The cold, wet, dark winter weather requires that I use “retail therapy” as my coping mechanism. And giving the stuff away allows me to escape the guilt.
Isn’t giving people something that surprises and delights them the absolute best?
It is. It’s the best.
I’ve been scouring the interwebs looking for the gifts that might make your derby friends squeal with happiness AND ALSO BE USEFUL. Because, let’s face, we all already have enough random crap in our bags.
Here are some ideas, posited early enough that you can actually DO something about it.
#1) FUCKING ROLLERCON, DUDE.
Right now is the time to buy your tickets to RollerCon on the cheap (I’ve got mine already and I heard MVP passes might already be sold out…) and book your hotel room at the Westgate which I recommend above all other accommodation ideas.
This is basically the gift of reminding people WHY they love roller derby in the first place. RollerCon is loud, flashy, overwhelming, and pure magic. Send them to hot, desert town USA July 25-29.
Not only is it the time to solidify your end-of-July Vegas plans, but it’s a great time of the year to grab reduced price tickets to upcoming camps, tournaments, and other derby events:
- Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester, UK (Feb 1-4)
- The Big O in Eugene, OR (May 4-6)
- Euro Derby Con in Barcelona, SP (July 19-22)
- And a million others!
Even if your favorite event isn’t on this list, chances are good that tickets will drop soon in the holiday hustle so keep an eye out. Giving the gift of experiences — and hey, you can go too — is a pretty good look.
#2) A SUBSCRIPTION BOX.
To be honest, the idea to put ‘subscription box’ on this list has nothing to do with roller derby.
My mom gifted a Koala Crate box to #autotot early this month. It is amazing. If your derby bestie has kids and never knows what to do with them, THIS BOX is it. I cannot wait for the next box to come in the mail. I was always very judgy about subscription boxes for no reason other than that I’m sometimes a terrible person, but this one changed my mind.
Which means I’ve been recently looking for boxes that I can subscribe to that might offer me some good stuff for training, derbying, and fitnessing. (I’m not sure those are verbs, but whatever.) I haven’t tried any of these boxes myself, but have heard good things about them.
There’s the obvious roller derby specific choice of the Bout Betties Box that has a few different subscription options. My teammate always shows up wearing something from her Bout Betties box and inevitably gets a ton of compliments.
The Barbella Box is more CrossFit driven but if you’re into training outside of just strapping on skates, there’s likely some great stuff in it. This box is put together FOR women, from companies that are fun BY women which I think is pretty awesome. And the brands that partner with it are fantastic. (I particularly love FLEO Shorts.)
If the person you’re gifting to loves food, check out the Clean.Fit Box. A box full of protein-heavy, macro-friendly snacks. Because who doesn’t like getting food in the mail?
The best part is that it’s a gift you can get more than once. Every time a box shows up in the mail, it’s new and exciting. It’s like getting an entirely new gift.
#3 ACTUALLY GOOD WORKOUT CLOTHING.
There aren’t a lot of athletic endeavors that require your workout clothing to stay up, move with you, twist, turn, and avoid stinking quite like roller derby does. And there’s also the velcro to contend with. Ooof, velcro snags.
Stock your friends’ (or your own) closet with derby friendly gear that can do all those things. The following I’ve tried personally and love the fuck out of:
- Capris from Superfit Hero. High waisted, compression, pocket-y goodness.
- Mighty Mini Shorts from Pivotstar. Also high-waisted and compression with the exact amount of length to be short without rolling up your thighs. I also love the lazy pants, but mostly for being lazy.
- Or the Iron Octopus Fitness crop top that pays homage to the most roller derby-esque quote on Friends. See it in action below.
My uniform top is courtesy of Frogmouth, so I feel like I can also recommend any of their scrimmage vests. But, if you want to make a customized gift for your derby bestie, this one takes the cake.
#4) NO TOE-STOP NOVEMBER ALL YEAR.
Not that I suggest you NEVER use your toe stops, but that practice without them from time to time might help your game. This is some upper-level shit, though. Before you give the gift of jam plugs make certain that the person you’re giving them to is ready to go toe stop-less without getting hurt.
Protect your skates. Get some jam plugs.
#5) CUTESY SHIT
Every year, I’m going to have this as a category in the (non) Definitive Gift Guide. Because buying stuff like this is fun, getting stuff like this is fun, and using them to decorate your gear makes it even more YOUR gear. Not anyone else’s.
Plus, relatively budget-friendly!
- Bite Me Boutique — t-shirts, patches, vinyl decals, #napsbeforelaps
- Bruised Skate Noose — the noose itself and skate straps in awesome colors
- RollerStuff — glitter, sequins, rhinestones, skate monsters, highly decorative fancies
- Jammer Candy — stickers (I need the one below, but it’s sold out!), pins, notebooks, tanks
- Strong Athletic — tops, hats, fanny packs (YES!), stickers, USA Roller Derby merch
- My Bout Book — track ALL THE THINGS with this notebook. I love notebooks.
- Chick in Bowls — lots of aggressive skate stuff, tees, hats, patches, pins, stickers, GIFT CARDS
Send pictures of your newly decorated helmets, skate bags, water bottles, and bodies.
#6) THE GIFT OF STRENGTH.
I’m not about to go through a whole list without recommending that you help your derby brethren get stronger, more powerful, and more agile than they already are. If you want to help them crush their season, give them the gift of training.
- Roller Derby Athletics — now there’s an app for that!
- TrebleMaker 909 — mental toughness and physical training DIY products
- Flat Mat Yoga — still the best place to untwist your derby self
- Fitness Gone Rogue — focus on your core and build your skate skills
Or just start moving more, going to the gym, and finding a personal trainer in your area. It all helps!
My favorites this year were:
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling & John Tiffany
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- Antagonists, Advocates, and Allies by Catrice Jackson
- Sovereign by Erin Brown
- Game Changers by Molly Schiott
You should tell me your favorites, too.
DID I MISS ANYTHING?
Probably. If you have more ideas, let me know. And check out The (non) Definitive Gift Guide for Roller Derby 2016 for some of the things that I recommended last year.
If you’re interested in more exclusive content, access to my FREE resource library, and the slightly weird workings of my inner mind, you can sign up for the Iron Octopus Fitness email list HERE. Wherein I harass you weekly with all things intelligent cross training, mindset, and…other.