Image: notecards from “True Comics” collection at the MSU Library
Are you having a difficult time finding unique gifts for your Spartan fan this holiday season? Wondering what to get your parent, loved one, or friend who can’t fit one more piece of Spartan apparel in their dresser or closet? Look no further than MSU’s campus for some different gift ideas.
You know the Bookstore in the International Center offers Spartan apparel, text books and supplies, but did you know they also carry crystal wine stoppers and wine decanters, both with a block “S” etched into the crystal? A nice gift for your discerning Spartan fan, the decanter sells for $85 and the stopper for $45. Riedel wine glasses, stemmed or stemless, are available in boxed sets of two for $80.
On the more practical side, drivers will appreciate an “MSU Roadside Emergency Kit” to carry in their car. The backpack-like bag comes filled with tools like jumper cables for emergencies. The bag has a triangular shape with a neon orange reflective triangle on its surface that can be put out as a warning for oncoming traffic, with a Spartan Helmet in the middle of the reflective triangle. This kit sells for $55.95.
Moving over to the Spirit Shop in the Union, pregnant Spartan fans will be happy to receive the “Baby Fanatic Bowl Set” for feeding baby or the “Future Tailgater ‘Piece of Cake’.” The Baby Fanatic is a two-bowl set of bright lime green showing little Spartan kid football players and cheerleaders inside the bowls. It sells for $15.99. A matching fork and spoon set is available for $10.99. The “Piece of Cake” consists of a bib and booties, each with an appliqued Spartan Helmet, arranged inside a plastic cake container. It sells for $18.99.
The Pro Shop at Forest Akers has two locations, and boasts on its webpage that it “specializes in all things MSU” including “gifts you can’t find anywhere else.” A couple of really different things they offer according to Christine, who purchases the merchandise for the shops, are “logo golf bags and logo golf balls.” These items offer possibilities for the unlimited or more limited budget. Christine also tells me that they carry lots of apparel, picture frames, pens, desk items, and home décor items just like bookstores in town might, but she notes the difference is in “the brands we carry and the look of the items.”
You might also consider items from two online specialty shops catering not to the Spartan sports fan, but to those more focused on the academic side of things. The first is a specialty shop called “NSCL and Frib.” This stands for “National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory” and “Facility for Rare Isotope Beam." Here you can find T-shirts sporting phases like, “Got Beam?” or “I (heart) Rare Isotopes,” or “NSCL FRIB” spelled out in periodic table fashion. Each of these shirts sells for only $12.
The second specialty shop is “MSU Libraries” which has an assortment of cards and books. These items don’t carry the MSU logo or a block “S,” but all items originate from the Libraries’ Special Collections. For instance, you can find notecards which feature images from a vintage 1940s comic book series called “True Comics.” The description of the comic book series provided by the Library notes, “True comics attempted to upstage superheroes with real heroes.” A pack of four assorted cards sells for $8. Another set of notecards features “exquisite botanical paintings from a unique 18th century manuscript.” An assorted four pack also sells for $8.
The MSU Libraries store also offers a number of cookbooks ranging from community cookbooks to rare cookbooks including one first published in 1891 considered to be “the earliest…soul food cookbook.” Also available is a guide on manners and etiquette called “Michigan State Manners” written by the Spartan Women’s League. The description of the book informs us that, “[f]or decades, the Spartan Women's League helped ease college students' entry to the world of adulthood with charmingly written guides to etiquette.” Michigan State Manners reproduces the 1939 and 1956 editions from originals held in the University Archives & Historical Collections. The cookbooks sell for $14.95 each and the manners book sells for $9.
Another bookish gift option is “The MSU Student Comic Art Anthology” which features comic art from students and recent grads of MSU. The book contains “laugh-out-loud weirdness, surreal adventures, slice-of-life strips from the student perspective, and a fairy-tale remix or two.” The book is printed at MSU and sells for $12.