It’s been a few years since we’ve posted a LEGO holiday gift guide, so we’re a bit overdue for a refresh. While the LEGO builder in your life will always appreciate more brick to add to their infinitely expanding collection, thoughtful gift-givers might want to consider these other LEGO-related options, including many under $20.
Custom LEGO minifigs & custom building kits
We’re big fans of Citizen Brick, Brickmania, BrickArms, and Chris McVeigh here at TBB. Each of these companies and individuals creates unique, innovative LEGO-themed products that LEGO is unlikely to ever produce themselves but that fit seamlessly with our existing LEGO collections.
Case in point, LEGO will probably never make The X-Files or Breaking Bad minifigures, but our friends at Citizen Brick have produced “Eks Files” and “Lab Partners” minifigs that match the quality of official LEGO minifigs. With custom pad printing on nearly every element, CB minifigs generally run about $15 each.
(Full disclosure: We love Citizen Brick so much we recently asked them to become one of our first sponsors — so you’ll also be helping out TBB by supporting the great people of CB.)
We’ve been reviewing custom LEGO kits from Brickmania for several years now. Their team has expanded to include several new designers, in addition to head honcho Dan Siskind. The larger team hasn’t sacrificed creativity or quality, though, and I continue to be especially impressed with the aircraft designed by Cody Osell — Brickmania isn’t just about tanks anymore! I recently built Dan’s WW2 Japanese Nakajima Ki-84 “Hayate” fighter, and it’s utterly gorgeous in dark green with a custom-printed Imperial Japanese Army pilot.
Brickmania kits range in price from miniature kits at $20 to minifig-scale planes and tanks at several hundred dollars. Both Citizen Brick and Brickmania also sell high-quality custom accessories from BrickArms.
If you’re into nostalgia, technology, or just an artisanal building experience, you can’t go wrong with custom LEGO kits from Chris McVeigh. We reviewed his My First Computer: DOS Edition and shared his computer Christmas tree ornament recently, but we can’t speak highly enough about Chris’s ingenious designs, beautiful packaging, and very reasonable prices.
Chris also provides all of his instructions online for free, including a new set of ornaments every year, so be sure to check out his website for more.
Do you like LEGO keychains but hate how quickly they get beat up as they bang around in your pocket against your keys? Talented LEGO builder Bram Lambrecht has applied his mechanical engineering skills to machine an aluminum 2×4 brick that will effectively never wear out. He recently showed me the one he’s had in his pocket for the last 10+ years, and it still connects to “real” (ABS) LEGO bricks. Bram’s keychain retails for only $14.99, and can be customized with engraved text and images.
Our friend Mary at cutebricks has been designing LEGO jewelry for several years, and we love her subtle designs and understated elegance. You often have to look twice to see that a piece of jewelry incorporates a piece of LEGO. Whether you’re looking for a simple pair of 1×1 round stud earrings, 2×2 plate cuff-links, or a full-on LEGO octopus to wear on a chain around your neck, cutebricks has got you covered. cutebricks jewelry items range from just $6 to $24.
Every year, publishers like DK, No Starch Press, and Barron’s release dozens of new LEGO books. Here at The Brothers Brick, we’re proud to say that several of our contributors have written some of the books published this year.
TBB Managing Editor Chris Malloy and Editor-in-Chief Andrew Becraft (yours truly) wrote the new Ultimate LEGO Star Wars book, which is currently available for $24.99 ($15 off the MSRP of $40) from Amazon.com. TBB Senior Editor Rod Gillies has also been working with DK, on their popular “Build Your Own Adventure” series. Rod has been responsible for designing many of the inspirational models for the series, including LEGO Star Wars: Build Your Own Adventure ($15.65 from Amazon).
Rod Gillies also worked with TBB Senior Editor Caylin Malloy on LEGO: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know. This book includes 240 pages of trivia spanning the entire history of LEGO ($13.49 from Amazon).
Despite protestations to the contrary, LEGO builders can’t be building all the time — they have to work in order to earn money to pay for more brick, and they might occasionally want to read a book. So for that LEGO-obsessed person you’re shopping for, we hope these ideas spark some ideas.