The Coolest Pop Culture Christmas Gift Guide Ever


If you’ve been wracking your brains trying to come up with unique gifts that don’t suck (especially if the person you’re getting it for is over the age of 50 or so), Damper 3 has you covered. We jumped into our virtual 1977 Plymouth Volare and took a trip down Digital Memory Lane, stopping at every niche store possible to collect the absolutely coolest nostalgia gifts from television and movie history. And this is just the start: we hope to add to this list over the next couple of weeks as we come across other really cool pop culture gift ideas. Feel free to send us your ideas as well!


The following list reaches all the way back to the mid-1960s, with the Get Smart Shoe Phone Coffee Cup. (It’s been scientifically proven that the items that contain the highest levels of nostalgia are coffee cups and t-shirts). From there, we made stops in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s to bring you some of the coolest stuff we could find that won’t cost you too much, but will certainly elicit an approving “Huh!” from the person who receives it. Or keep it for yourself and give them a gift card. You deserve it.


Please note, we neither own most of these gifts (yet), nor do we get any money if you buy them. We can’t even vouch for how well these items are stocked, unfortunately, as we do not have a relationship with any of the vendors at all. So if you do happen to buy one (or more), please let us know. We’ll be insanely jealous of and happy for you at the same time.


Get Smart Shoe Phone Coffee Cup

Our first gift is callback (har!) to the most famous mobile phone in tv history: Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. We’ll be honest: we wanted to find a good shoe phone replica for this list, but evidently, in this regard, capitalism has failed us. But the next best thing is a coffee cup! This one is cool, in that it depicts a technical blueprint of the shoe. So, setting aside the disappointment of not having an actual replica, Max can sum up our feelings on this one-of-a-kind coffee cup:

Night Stalker t-shirt

Okay, we admit this one is a little more niche than most of the other items on this list. However, if the person you buy this for knows who Carl Kolchak is, they’re going to love this shirt. The Night Stalker is the show that inspired Chris Carter to create the X-Files. In fact, Darren McGavin, the actor who played Kolchak, did a guest appearance on the X-files (Season 5, Episode 15 “Travelers”).  In the Night Stalker, Kolchak is a news reporter who works for a fictional Chicago newspaper, Independent News Service. The look on his face that is captured on the shirt is classic Kolchak.


Rockford Files Coffee Mug

The 1970s and 1980s produced a metric butt-load of cool detectives and private investigators, but none are as cool as Jim Rockford. The late James Garner’s rugged, world weary but indisputably good-hearted Rockford. This coffee mug has a replica of the iconic The Rockford Agency yellow pages ad we see in the first episode. A cool thing to note: James Garner was a big proponent of animal rescue, and his daughter continues this work today. Proceeds from items like this coffee mug go to the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund. 

 Big Foot/Bionic Man t-shirt

The Six Million Dollar Man inspired a generation of children to run in slow motion while making a mechanical “tchu-tchu-tchu” sounds, or “whooooooooooo” sounds as they jumped. Lee Majors’ iconic Steve Austin was an all-American hero, and if you lived in the midst of it, you wanted to own all the action figures, play sets, and lunch boxes so as to better relive his silver screen adventures. This t-shirt is pretty dang cool, dramatically depicting Seve Austin and one of his most famous foes/allies, Big Foot (if you’ve never seen the show, trust us, this is cool). 


 Happy Hoth-idays Star Wars Ugly Sweater

There is absolutely no way to have a list of nostalgia gifts from the 1970s without having at least one Star Wars item (in fact, we’re pretty sure it’s required by law). And since it IS Christmas, an ugly-yet-awesome Christmas sweater will be the pride and joy of any real Star Wars fan. Trust us on this. Plus, if the receiver of this gift is old enough to have watched the original Star Wars movie at the drive in, we guarantee they will insist on wearing this sweater on Christmas Day.


Vintage Star Wars metal lunch box

If you were an elementary school age child from 1977-1980, Federal Law mandated that you had either this lunch box, or a Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman lunch box. Which was fine, because these things were awesome. The incredible X-Wing vs Tie Fighter painting on it captured imaginations almost 45 years ago, and hard core fans will treasure this gift, guaranteed.


Greatest American Hero t-shirt

The Greatest American Hero only ran for three seasons in the early 1980s, but it was a blast. The show featured Ralph Hinkely (who was briefly renamed to Ralph Hanley after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life), a good natured teacher who is given a special suit that grants him super powers that he just doesn’t know how to use. As fun as the show was, it also featured the song “Believe it or not,” which reached number 2 on the Billboard Top 100 songs in 1981. (This gift intro is just packed with interesting trivia, amiright?). Anyway, this t-shirt bears the “Suit’s” unique symbol as worn by the Greatest American Hero, and is frankly a classy alternative to the innumerable Captain America shield t-shirts everyone else is wearing. 

Nakatomi Plaza - Security - Black Morale Patch

A subtle but neat bit of pop culture, this patch is the perfect gift for the person who will fight you if you try and say that the 1988 movie Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie. And we mean, fight you.


Obviously, The Simpsons merchandise flooded the market in the 1990s, engulfing the Western World in everything from t-shirts to key chains to video and board games, and thousands of other items. But we can’t not have a nod to the Simpsons. If you grew up watching them, you’ve incorporated exclamations like “d’oh!” or a slow, sinister “excellent” into your vocabulary to the point it’s second nature. The show has influenced a generation, so we looked for something fun and different. This collection of 3” characters is just the thing. Note, you don’t pick which one you order, and what you get is a surprise.


The Shades Jigsaw puzzle

Our final gift is perhaps a little less mainstream than, say, the Simpsons, but like with the Night Stalker, if you are familiar with Terry Pratchett, then you’ll love this. The Shades, the seedy, dark, rogue-filled part of the great city of Ankh-Morpork, comes to life in this incredibly painted scene. Check out the rest of the store for other Discworld-related gifts, but be wary of the shipping is in England, after all.

That's it for now. Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Damper 3



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