For many of us, this is the time of year for last-minute Christmas gifts. It’s also a time to uphold traditions. In keeping in the spirit of both giving and tradition, I give you the annual Buzzer gift ides for transit fans.
Even though there are only four days left until Jolly Old Saint Nick visits, it’s never too late for that perfect gift! Remember, there’s always Ukrainian Christmas. It starts on January 6 and runs until January 19. Think of the money you could save on gifts bought on Boxing Day! OK, on with the gifts:
Transit related toys
If you’re a parent and want to get your child a train set that’s not a Thomas the Tank Engine (disclaimer: I have nothing against the mighty train that keeps trying), I suggest going with the Brio Metro Railway Set. It does everything a train set does, but it’s a subway instead! I like this set as much as my kid does.
Speaking of Brio, they apparently just made the longest wooden railway in the world. I wouldn’t suggest buying 2,607.15 meters of track for a present though. In these challenging economic times, it wouldn’t be a prudent investment.
Wanna give an even more unique transit related gift? Type in “transit toys” into eBay, and up pops some fun stuff indeed! How about an old-school Philadelphia transit bus, or this antique converse rapid transit trolley for those with a bit more change in their pockets.
In another life, I used to live in Japan. There are some amazing sounds to be heard in public – including public transit. A colleague of mine sent me this from his Christmas wishlist. It’s a Yamanote Line piggy bank with some great sounds! Well, you can judge for yourself.
Transit maps are where it’s at
Continuing on the rapid transit and subway theme, Spacing Magazine has some pretty neat Metro Magnets for sale. You know those word magnets everyone has on their fridge? It’s like that, but the magnets are sections of subway/metro lines that you can make into any fictional or actual subway line configuration you like!
If you’re a fan of transit maps, especially subway lines, this Christmas is like the mother of all Christmases. It seems 2012 was the year of the transit map as art/commodity.
From the stylish minimal beauty of these versions of subways lines in poster form (more here) to gym bags with the New York City Subway map embossed on them, transit maps make the perfect gift this year!
Don’t want to wait until after X-Mas for that present? The Museum of Vancouver has some new merchandise that includes old-school trolley scrolls turned into rugs, wall hangings and pillows. Here’s a link to where you can find the items.
Another great local present to buy is from a North Shore student. Capilano College also has a yearly art sale from their illustration program and many of the items feature transit.
Who doesn’t like books about transit?
Teras Grescoe was not only a Vancouverite for much of his life (as well as a friend of the blog), he’s also written a fantastically informative and very readable book about how good public transit can make cities and communities function well. Think you know everything about pubic transit around the world? Take a read of Straphanger and get yourself a quick eduction that’s great for holiday Christmas party conversation.
For the transit planner (or armchair version) in your life, there’s one book you won’t want to be without this season. Human Transit, the book with the same name as the popular blog, is one of those invaluable resources you want to have when trying to explain how good transit planning works.
Jarrett Walker (also a friend of the blog), has done some great work for TransLink. He’s one of those people who can put complicated jargon and ideas into everyday language.
Some other suggestions
I could go on, or let our past work speak for itself. This is the fourth such list we’ve produced over the years. Lots of the suggestions for that perfect transit gift can be found in our 2009, 2010, and 2011 posts.
Do you have suggestions?
Did I mention that the holidays is also about sharing? Feel free to add your own suggestions for good transit gifts. You guys always surprise me!