Teenagers are hard enough to buy for in the first place (the last thing you want on Christmas morning is that all-too-familiar heavy sigh / eye roll combination), but if your kid has specialized into being a goth, what’s a mainstream parent or grandparent to do? Fear not; goth has been around long enough now that there are actually stores that cater specifically to the style. Also, there are plenty of ‘regular’ stores you may not have thought of that stock useful components of the goth style. Your black-clad existentialist will surely appreciate cards from any of these stores. Who knows, he or she might even smile!
1. Hot Topic. You might not know about this store, but your goth kid surely does. This is the vaguely scary-looking place in the mall that always plays the ‘creative’ music and appears to be some sort of neon-adorned cave. Hot Topic is the goth mecca, at least if you live in the suburbs. Your goth kid can satisfy his or her t-shirt needs, whether it be bands you’ve never heard of, twisted cartoon characters like Happy Bunny, or even superheroes; Hot Topic also carries spike-laden jewelry and accessories, temporary tattoos, stickers, cards, and some pretty cool goth clothes, including vampire chic (yes, there is such a thing). If you were trying to figure out where your son got those floppy black pants with all the straps and buckles, not to mention the fishnet shirt, now you know!
2. Spencer’s Gifts. Your mall might not have a Hot Topic, but I can’t remember ever seeing a mall with no Spencer’s, so worry not-Spencer’s will step in to the goth breach with its selection of black tee shirts, creepy posters and assorted to-die-for goth bedroom accessories like black lights, “static balls” (those clear spheres with the purple lightning inside), and lava lamps. Spencer has a lot of adult-themed products, however, so this might not be appropriate for younger Goths. On the other hand, if they’ve run free at the mall at any time in the past, it’s pretty much guaranteed they’ve already seen the fuzzy handcuffs and whatnot.
3. Waldenbooks, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million or other book store. Believe or not, your goth kid is probably very much into the reading. Goth girls will go crazy for the Twilight series (no doubt they have already seen the movie many times). There also plenty of other books that might interest a goth, from other vampire or magic lore to Marilyn Manson’s autobiography (with Neil Strauss), The Long Hard Road out of Hell. Bookstores also carry plenty of fan magazines any goth would love, as well as some fairly avant garde literary and art magazines, like Juxtapoz.
4. FYE or other music store. Book stores, above, usually have a music section, but to add variety (or if your kid can’t stand the ever-present waft of mocha lattes coming from the coffee bar), give a gift card from an actual music store. There isn’t a teenager alive, goth or not, who will not find something they can’t live without in a music store. That gift card will most likely be incinerated in one visit, and frankly, how much better can you do?
5. Lowe’s or Home Depot. This may seem counterintuitive-how is your teen, who can barely drag himself out of bed, going to be interested in home improvement? Frankly, you will be amazed at the industriousness on display once you have given the okay for Little Dead Boy or Vampirella to decorate his or her own room. He or she can get jet black or hellfire red paint, dropcloths, brushes or rollers, and masking tape here, not to mention lots of chrome hardware and a rather impressive selection of chain, some of which may end up on your delighted goth kid.
So you see, it isn’t all that hard to shop for your goth teens. The secret is to let them shop for themselves, making it truly a Merry Christmas, indeed (or at least as merry as Little Dead Boy gets).