Room Escape Artist Holiday Gift Guide – 2022

Welcome to our 7th annual Holiday Gift Guide.

We take fun seriously… and feel the same about gift giving.

As always, we’re presenting a unique selection of gifts for the adventurous and thoughtful nerds in your life (or you, we don’t judge). This year the REA team shared their wonderful ideas for the gift guide too.

REA logo with a Santa hat atop. Text reads, " Holiday Gift Guide 2022"

Each year’s gift selection offers an assortment of games, puzzles, tools, and oddities. We don’t repeat gifts year to year, so you can always reference our past guides for more inspiration. We’ve put a lot of thought and love into each guide; they still hold up.

2022 Gift Guide

As always, we break this guide up into categories for your comfort and convenience.

Tabletop Escape Games

The Light In The Mist– PostCurious

$32 (PostCurious)

Tarot box, deck, and 5 beautiful cards fanned out.
Image via PostCurious

David Spira: “This is one of the coolest tabletop puzzle products on the market. Part puzzle, part story, and part tarot deck… you can take this in however you want. Read the story, enjoy the deck, or solve the puzzles… or do all three. No matter which path you choose, it’s a beautiful experience.” (Review)

Treasure Trove of Pirates Cove – Solve Our Shirts

$45-50 (Solve Our Shirts)

A woman in a brown leather coat opening it up and revealing the Pirate Cove t-shirt.

Lisa: “I’m amazed by how much gameplay CU Adventures can pack into a t-shirt. And it’s full of surprises. It feels like magic.” (Review)

Adrift – PostCurious

$49 (PostCurious)

An assortment of beautiful art and components from within Adrift.
Image via PostCurious

Lisa Spira: “We don’t normally do this, but PostCurious has two products in this year’s guide… because we loved them both. Adrift was beautiful, from the artwork to the artifacts to the puzzles. The gameplay was approachable, but not simplistic. It built up into increasingly interesting and compelling ahas.” (Review)

The Vandermist Dossier – Diorama Games

$52 (Diorama Games)

Vandermist Dossier box beside an assortment of interesting components, including a map, a newspaper and a strange spiral device.

Matthew Stein:The Vandermist Dossier felt like a work of magic. At first glance, the various documents and artifacts contained within felt authentic, narratively immersive, and — most importantly — not at all like puzzles. With this illusion of apparent normalcy established, the many layers of reveals which followed were all the more satisfying and effective.” (Review)

Children of Wyrmwoods – Escape Tales

$26 (Board & Dice) & save 25% with the promo code “roomescapeartist

Children of Wyrmwoods box art has a hand emerging from a bog

Peih-Gee Law: “Full disclosure: Escape Tales is sponsoring this season of Reality Escape Pod… but they did not pay for this placement. I just really love this game. It has so much depth and consequences. Children of Wyrmwoods has a D&D-meets-escape room feel and for its price, the value is insane. You get so much game for your money.”

The Crate Gotham Challenge: Holiday Edition

From $80 (Great Gotham Challenge)

A brown box tied off nicely in the snow.

Theresa Piazza: “At GGC we mostly create private events, so I’m thrilled that we’re bringing one to the public for the holidays! Although it’s a virtual puzzle race to a virtual finish line, it comes with a crate of puzzles, treats, and more. Tickets are on sale now for December 26th and December 31st. It’s the perfect holiday activity for your family or friends. I’ve worked with GGC to make this happen and I’m really excited about what we’ve created.”

Jigsaw Puzzles

1000 Piece – Night at The Movies Jigsaw Filled with 101 Riddles to Solve

$20 (Amazon)

Colorful Night At The Movies jigsaw puzzle, the box is partially open.

Peih-Gee Law: “The only thing I love more than a good jigsaw puzzle with cute artwork is when there’s additional fun to be had after you’ve completed the puzzle. This series of jigsaw puzzles is filled with funny, punny pop culture riddles. You can choose from different themes like movie titles, book titles, or music.”

Portable Puzzle Board with Lazy Susan, Drawers, and Cover

$68 (Amazon)

A large wooden puzzle table with 4 drawers and a translucent cover.

Peih-Gee Law: “This puzzle board is a must-have for jigsaw puzzle fiends. It spins so you can easily work on this with friends. It has drawers that slide completely out for use as puzzle sorting trays. It even comes with a protective cover. This system is great for putting the puzzle away while you’re not working on it… especially if you have a cat.”

Puzzle Books

Build Your Own LEGO Escape Room

$20 (Amazon)

Build Your Own Lego Escape Room book cover, with an assortment of Lego constructions depicted.

Brett Kuehner: “The book lays out step-by-step construction of 3 escape rooms, with designs and storylines. It also has instructions for the “Game Maker” on how to set up and run the escape, including introduction, hinting, rule explanations, and suggestions for sound effects. The last section is a compact but remarkably good lesson in how to build your own design, including choosing a theme, making it into a story, and linking puzzles together while avoiding red herrings. The book comes with some pieces, but to build the rooms in the book you will need a supply of other standard Lego bricks.”

House of Leaves

$19 (Amazon)

Front cover of book with text "House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski"

Sarah Willson:House of Leaves is an expansive work of experimental fiction, sandwiched between the covers of a book. Unlike a traditional novel, it unfolds in nonlinear fashion, with multiple threads running concurrently and turning in on themselves like a labyrinth. Puzzles are another tool in its overflowing narrative toolbox.” (Review)

Mechanical Puzzles

Bomb Destroyer Puzzle, by Andriy Bruns

$159 (Team JB Hobbies)

A metal puzzle that looks like a bomb.

Brett Kuehner: “This is a finely-made metal puzzle by a Ukrainian engineer who is currently living through attacks from Russian bombs. Find the multiple tools and steps required to disarm the bomb and locate the Skynet coin inside. It’s precisely engineered and challenging, but not impossible with some thought and experimentation. As Andriy says, ‘I wish peaceful skies to all of you, and I hope that you can see war only in fantastic movies or video games.'”

Oliver 3D printed Sequential Discovery Puzzle

Free if you have a 3D printer (Printables)

A pink 3D printed pigs face that is a mechanical puzzle.

Brett Kuehner: “Meet Oliver! He’s a relatively easy “sequential discovery” puzzle, where you discover tools as you solve that you use in later parts of the solve. Oliver has 20 pieces and requires quite a few steps to assemble or disassemble. He’s great for novice solvers, and even if you are experienced, you’ll have a lot of fun disassembling and reassembling him.

Oliver takes around 12 to 18 hours of print time on common printers, and most of the pieces are simple to print and don’t require support. When you are done, you have a rosy-cheeked pig with a few internal compartments suitable for hiding small coin-sized items.”


Soup Dumplings

$40 (The XCJ)

A steamer basket filled with soup dumplings.

David Spira: “Few things achieve the greatness of dumplings or soup… and together it’s just spectacular. Now you no longer need to leave home to experience this magical combination. Plus, these soup dumplings are better than most of the ones we’ve had in restaurants. If you’re new to soup dumplings, they sell the steamer baskets and sauces too. So worth it.”

Spiral Bedside Lamp

$30 (Amazon)

A vertical spiral lamp, one side is covered in LEDs, the other is metal.

David Spira: “This lamp is as cool as it is functional. It’s touch activated, has 3 warmth levels, and because it’s touch activated, you’re never fumbling for a switch.”

Wobble Wedges

$14 for a pack of 30 (Amazon)

Wobble Wedge box, with clear furniture shims beside it.

David Spira: “These things are the cure to furniture wobble. They are super stable and practically invisible. It’s difficult to grasp how satisfying Wobble Wedges are without trying them. Now I’m sad that all of my furniture is stable because I want to use more Wobble Wedges.”


USB C Adapters

$17 for 2 (Amazon)

2 Anker female USB B to male USB C adapters.

David Spira: “At this point, I won’t buy peripherals unless they are USB C… but I still have a lot of legacy tech with USB B connectors. This 2-pack was perfect. One lives on my desk, the other in my backpack. So useful.”

Sunstar Kadomaru Pro, Corner Cutter

$12 (Amazon)

Paper corner cutter with three settings, small, medium, & large.

David Spira: “This little thing cuts paper corners, giving them a satisfying rounded edge. It cuts at 3 different sizes… and it doesn’t matter which one you pick. It’s psychologically satisfying in an inconceivable way. I don’t know what neurotransmitter this thing releases… but whoever said that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ clearly never owned one of these.”

Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook

$27 (Amazon)

Rocketbook notebook with a teal cover beside a pen and a mobile app on a phone.

Peih-Gee Law: “This reusable smart notebook is designed specifically for use with Frixxon erasable pens. These notebooks erase cleanly with just water, and the best part is being able to upload and organize your notes through their app. You can send notes directly to different folders and the titles are searchable. They have a calendar, to-do lists, and anything else you need to stay organized. I love using these for taking notes while playing puzzle games.”

Duckey Keycap

$10 (Duckeys)

Fingers placing a rubber ducky key cap onto a mechanical keyboard. Text reads, "Customize your keyboard."

Theresa W: “The keycap was insanely inexpensive and gives me immense joy every day. Definitely get like 15 of them for extended happiness.”

Tabletop Games

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

$15 (Amazon)

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea box art depicts divers exploring a lost city beneath the sea.

Cindi Saiewitz: “This game is wonderfully addictive. Our cards are worn out from the number of times we’ve played! It’s a cooperative card game for 3 or more players. Working together with limited communication through changing scenarios kept us coming back again and again.”


$32 (Amazon)

Obscurio box art depicts an elaborate and beautiful library.,

Peih-Gee Law: “If you like games like Mysterium or Dixit, you will love Obscurio. It’s a game of interpreting clues through bizarrely beautiful artwork, with a traitor mechanism. It’s a great party game.”

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

$33 (Amazon)

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong has two people thoughtfully looking down at a body.

Peih-Gee Law: “This is a great party game with a traitor mechanic. You are trying to figure out who is the murderer based on their set of weapons and evidence. There is a forensic expert who helps you by delivering clues like location, what the scene of the crime looked like, appearance of the body, etc. Because the clues are open to interpretation, the traitor can divert attention to other players.”

Letter Jam

$22 (Amazon)

Letter Jam box art is white with a strawberry.

Peih-Gee Law: “In this fun cooperative word game, you are trying to guess your letter while creating words from the other player’s letters to help them guess theirs. I love word games, and it’s even more fun when you can work together, instead of competing against one another.”

The Game

$10 (Amazon)

The Game by Steffen Benndorf's colorful and abstract box art.

Peih-Gee Law: “You must work together to play cards numbered 1 to 100 in one of four piles. Two piles are ascending and two are descending. You must play 1 or 2 cards on your turn, and you may not share specific information about what cards you have in your hand. The setup and gameplay is fast and furious, and this game was surprisingly addictive. I like that it is cooperative. It’s also very portable; we take this everywhere with us.”


Venom Steel Industrial Gloves

$25 (Amazon)

A hand wearing a black glove holding a box of 100 Venom Steel gloves.

David Spira: “I learned about these disposable nitrile gloves from the YouTube channel Project Farm (which you should know about if you like making or repairing things). These things offer fantastic and remarkably durable protection.”

Estwing Rubber Mallet

$15 (Amazon)

An Estwing mallet with two heads, one red, the other yellow.

David Spira: “It’s just a really good mallet. When you need to bonk things without leaving a mark, it gets the job done.”

Very Bright Motion Sensor Headlight

$9 (Amazon)

A bright LED flashlight attached to a black headstrap

Peih-Gee Law: “This headlamp has an extremely bright LED strip in the front, and a spotlight that angles slightly downwards on the side. You can turn them on and off with just the wave of a hand. It’s really lightweight and comfortable. An escape room owner friend stole mine and says he uses it when working on set design all the time. I have also used it when working on jigsaw puzzles in a dim room. It’s too bright to use while walking around (it will blind people looking at you), but it’s great for working in areas where you need extra, portable lighting. ”

Little Giant 6 Foot Ladder

$140 (Amazon)

A step ladder with a large orange top step.

David Spira: “I have spent a lot of time on this ladder over the past year or so… and it’s a joy to use. In addition to being stable, with comfortable steps, the top of the ladder has a cup shape, so you can easily have tools and hardware at your disposal without the risk of things rolling around.”


The Puzzler

$17 (Amazon)

The Puzzler book cover depicts a cube with a crossword grid side, rubick's side, and jigsaw side. Subtitled, "One Man's Quest to sSolve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws, to the Meaning of Life."

Andrew Reynolds: “Packed full of humor, anecdotes, and insight, The Puzzler was a delight to read. Jacobs does a wonderful job of making this book feel personal. He immersed himself in puzzles for years to write this book and provides meaningful conversation on a broad spectrum of puzzles.” (Review)

Backstage Handbook

$26 (Amazon) – supplies are limited

David Spira: “I learned about this from Adam Savage’s YouTube channel… and this book is an incredible resource. It’s an illustrated almanac to tools and hardware… plus a ton of reference material. The magic of this book is that I make and fix things, but have no formal training. I frequently know what hardware I need, but have no clue what it is called. This book fixes that.

The catch is that it’s old. It was published in the mid 90s, so it’s missing newer stuff, and the lighting section leaves a lot to be desired because LEDs changed the game… but honestly, those shortcomings are minor compared to just how useful this book is.”

Enter If You Can – The Art of Puzzle Boxes


Enter If You Can: The art of puzzle boxes book cover, depicts an assortment of beautiful wooden puzzle boxes.

Brett Kuehner: “Here is a tour of the puzzlebox traditions of many countries, including Japan, Switzerland, America, and elsewhere, with gorgeous pictures and details of the inner workings of many of them. It is deserving of a spot on any puzzle-lover’s bookshelf.”

Stocking Stuffers

Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend

$7 (Amazon)

Hand holding Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend.

Lisa Spira: “We eat a lot of bagels in this house… and I don’t just want an everything bagel. I want all of the everything.”

Walking Duck Toy

$25 (Puzzled)

David Spira: “Give a gift with big duck energy. This thing is so stupid cute, everyone who walks into our house is enchanted by it, regardless of age.”

Directional Lock Shirts

$28.50 – $45.50 depending upon size (RECON Swag Shop)

Blue Directional Lock shirt with a halo beside a red Directional Lock shirt with horns.

Lisa Spira: “The Directional Lock may be dead, but we’ve immortalized them with t-shirts. Whether you love them or hate them, we have a design for you. And if you’re wondering, the Halo shirt has outsold the Horns shirt since we released them… and it isn’t close.”

NITECORE Tiki UV 365nm Ultraviolet Flashlight

$30 (Amazon)

A pocked UV flashlight with translucent housing.

Brett Kuehner: “I’ve tried a bunch of pocket-sized UV flashlights, and this is by far my favorite. It’s tiny, surprisingly bright, rechargeable, weighs only 11 grams, and runs for more than an hour in normal brightness mode. Since it is 365nm, which is a shorter wavelength than the more common 395nm lights, it produces different and usually more intense fluorescence.”

SHASHIBO Shape Shifting Box

$25 (Amazon)

"Master the shape shifting box" shows a beautiful cube adjusted into mane other shapes.

Sarah Mendez: “For kids with an insatiable need to fidget, these little cubes offer countless configurations of spatial intrigue. Whether trying to create a particular structure or aimlessly exploring their options, my kids (and their dad) have been fiddling with these for months.”

For the Little Ones

Dig It Up! Crack the Crate – A Dragon’s World

$37 (Amazon)

Dig It Up! Crack The Crate - a dragon's World Adventure box, looks like grey wood paneling.

Sarah Mendez: “This game uses your kid’s love of messes to drive an exploration of puzzles. A mix of mental and physical activities, a motivating story, and some rewarding trinkets make this a fun activity for your family to share.” (Review)

Logic Land – The Enchanted Castle Deduction Puzzle

$15 (Amazon)

Cartoonish cover of Logic Land, depicting a castle, king, queen, wizard, dragon, and other beasts.

Sarah Mendez “Any puzzling apprentice needs a course or two in logic. Logic Land is an approachable, interactive way to introduce 6-8-year-olds to the practice. The quality magnetic pieces make this an excellent travel game as well.”

Maker Comics: Design a Game!

$15 (Amazon)

Maker Comics Design A Game cover, depicts cartoon kids making games on a hexagonal board.

Sarah Mendez: “By building entertaining, graphical stories around learning a particular skill, these books inspire tweens to explore new hobbies. My 10-year-old has baked a pie, sewn a robe, and started her own comic based on this series, and she’s just getting started. More than anything, these offer the gift of creation…and if you’re lucky, you might get a pie in return.”

Secret Decoder Set – Melissa and Doug

$12 (Amazon)

3 Secret Decoder book series, each with a colorful comic-bookish cover and special market that reveals secrets.

Sarah Mendez: “To all the children of the 80s & 90s out there, this will seem like the conceptual heir to Mr. Mystery but with the added structure of stories, overarching goals, and super-spy tools! I had to buy this set twice so that both my kids (7 and 10) could complete each book.”

For the Pets

Peih-Gee got a little doggo named YumYum. He’s an adorable little muppet… and he hasn’t yet screwed up a recording of Reality Escape Pod.

Interactive Treat Puzzle – Outward Hound

$14 (Amazon)

Cavapoo puppy sitting next to a puzzle feeder with compartments for kibble

Peih-Gee Law: “This was a gift from David when I got my puppy YumYum, and my pup loves it. It took him about a week to figure it out, and now he’s opening all the compartments in the correct order. This slows down feeding and keeps him entertained while working his brains.”

Snuffle Pet Feeding Mat

$18 (Amazon)

cavapoo puppy sitting on a snuffle mat with flower pattern
Definitely use this photo for size, because the image on Amazon is Photoshopped to look much larger than it actually is. For reference, YumYum is a 7 lb. puppy.

Peih-Gee Law: “Keeping a dog’s nose engaged is so important. It’s just like searching in an escape room, but better, because your pup is rewarded with dinner.”

Something Special

Oculus Quest 2

$350 (Meta)

White Oculus Quest 2 VR visor.

David Spira: “The Oculus Quest 2 is here, and it’s a mighty impressive piece of consumer technology… that you’ll mostly use to play games… and we endorse that. There are tons of escape-room-esque games to enjoy on the Quest 2, so if you aren’t bought in on the platform, now might be the time. I know I am considering it myself.”

James Cobalt: “The current Quest 2 sale is the best value it’s ever been (even before the price increase earlier this year). Here are a bunch of games you might enjoy:”

Here is our recommendations guide for games to play on The Oculus Quest 2.

Big Steampunk Octopus Door Handles

$700 (Etsy)

Gigantic metal octopus door handles. It looks like the octopus handles are punching through the door cracks.

David Spira: “Available in either brass or silver finish, this work of art measures 25.98x 17.7 inches and 6.6 lbs… and if Lisa and I could figure out where to mount them, you better believe that we would own a pair of these. Our holiday wish is that one of you does something brilliant with these and sends us a photo. We want to live vicariously through your giant octopus tentacle clad doors.”

And if you made it this far… I ask you to consider supporting us on Patreon. The ongoing support from our community is essential, and we would really appreciate you joining. We put a lot of love into this madness.

Support Room Escape Artist’s Mission

There are lots of ways to support Room Escape Artist, like buying from Amazon, Etsy, or Art of Play after clicking into the links included in this post or backing us on Patreon.

The money that we make from these helps us to grow the site and continue to add more value to the community that we love so much.

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