Want to give the gift of K-Pop and K-Drama merch but don’t know where to start? In the words of NCT’s Mark Lee, “We Gotchu!”
There are a few caveats to this one: first, you have to know which group the receiver of your gift stans. You also have to make sure they don’t have it already, which 95 percent of the time they do if they’re a devoted fan of the group. You have to make sure you’re gifting the right group in the first place. (If your girlfriend likes EXO but you get her a BTS album, you might need a new girlfriend.)
It doesn’t hurt to ask, and maybe there are holes in their collection. (If they stan an SM group, maybe they have the comeback album but not the re-pack.) Ten years ago a physical album mattered to an individual fan more than they do today: nowadays physical albums are just bought for bulk-buying purposes (to help drive up sales, or maybe someone is just super determined to win an online fan sign).
The average K-pop fan probably cares about the inclusions, like photocards more (since you can just stream the songs on Spotify). So gifting a physical album is a pretty special gift, especially if they have individual member covers (make sure you gift the right member!).
Concert DVDs are also a good shout, as well as live albums because those things tend to be superfluous purchases (especially a live album). Sometimes a group will also come out with a Photobook Set, which I think makes for a great gift as well.
If you want to go all-out and buy an expensive photocard, note that some fans are very picky with the album inclusions they want, and it can be hard to get if you’re not well-versed in the world of Twitter shops (no one wants to be scammed, especially during Christmas). So this might be a case of you just swallowing your pride and handing them the cash to pay for something special.
Limited Edition Merch
Now having figured out what group your friend/partner/etc stans, you can research any of the companies the group has commercial deals with. A famous group with a lot of clout in South Korea likely has a cosmetics or a clothing deal with a brand.
NCT 127 has one with Nature Republic (available in the Philippines), or with Korean brand Slow Island, and there are regular releases of member-designed merch.
If you want to gift something truly special, like matching designer items to your loved one, there are Instagram accounts dedicated to labeling what K-pop idols are wearing in their videos or daily activities.
Have fun with your generous gift, or maybe buy yourself something too. BTS member Suga was styled in Warm & Wonderful’s Sheep sweater so you can match with him (or, Princess Diana, if that’s more your style).
With BTS currently having in-person concerts, and NCT 127 soon to follow, the advent of online concerts is probably ending. But most groups will probably continue doing them, so why not buy an online experience as a gift? EXO’s Kai is having a Beyond Live concert in celebration of his second solo album. This is something the Erigom (Kai’s solo fanbase name) in your life will appreciate.
Drama viewing platforms
Your giftee likely already has a Netflix account, but there are various dramas hosted on other, non-Netflix platforms. Give them the gift of a Viu or iQIYI account so they can watch other dramas and variety shows that aren’t available on Netflix.
For a personalized touch, customized stationery is a good go-to. @paperandprintbyunico makes greeting cards and thank-you notes that can be personalized with your favorite K-Pop or K-Drama actor.
A good option for an easy giveaway to your K-Pop-loving office mate is K-Pop stickers, of which many populate Shopee. The illustrated ones I think are more special because there was an effort to make them. These ones of BLACKPINK is quite cute.
Everyone loves a cute tote bag. @3brokechingus makes some funny K-Pop and K-Drama-themed ones with a variety of different fandoms and shows. I just ordered this D.O. one from my absolute favorite K-Drama, 100 Days My Prince (available on Netflix, so go watch it). The brand also dropped a set of greeting cards, so run, don’t walk and make your orders!