Gifting goes geek at the Fan Days: Holiday Expo



A Christmas Sailor Moon chatted with Thor and Elsa December 5 at this year’s Fan Days: Holiday Expo.

The expo, which used to be known as the December Toronto Animé Convention, has been running since 2004.

It’s an event for guests to shop, meet celebrities and take photos with cosplayers at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

With booths that sell comics and figurines and an artists’ alley featuring handmade items like posters, paintings, buttons and jewellery, the small convention is an excellent way to find offbeat and geeky gifts.

“I think at Christmas people are looking for the more unique things, instead of something they’ll just find at any store,” said Mary Brunk, the owner of Contrary Creations. Brunk sells her handmade aprons, oven mitts and bags at conventions.

“It helps them go out and find the thing just right for the one person in their life.”

Vicky Orsini, another seller at the convention, says that business is good around this time of year.

“In all honesty, Christmas does well and Fan Expo does well.”

Doing well at a convention like Fan Days: Holiday Expo is important, as the number of people is much smaller than the expo’s other event, Fan Expo.

While at Fan Expo gifts tend to be for the shoppers themselves, the December audience is more focused on finding gifts for others.

Charlie Kim, the owner of Mr. Comics, sells rare and out-of-print comic books at the convention.

“I’m getting a lot of questions like ‘Have you heard about this? It’s for my boyfriend.’ ”

The sense of giving is strong at the convention, but many people also attend to see the cosplayers who find ways to make their costumes seasonal. This year’s cosplayers ranger from a zombie Mrs. Claus handing out candy canes to custom costumes decked out in holiday cheer, like a holiday Harley Quinn design featuring a hammer wrapped in Christmas paper and a Santa costume to match.

“I really just wanted an excuse to design and sew a tacky Christmas dress,” said Kristy Manuel. Manuel has been cosplaying for over a decade, and wore an original design that was made from several holiday fabrics.

“I was going to wear it on Christmas . . . and I figured why not wear it to this December con where everyone wears Santa hats?”

Some people attend the con for more than just the shopping.

“I came to hang out with friends because sometimes people come in from out of town that I don’t normally see,” said Manuel.

Amanda Lunau, 27, also met up with friends.

“I met with some people I’m part of groups with . . . and there’s a meet up for an app for all cosplayers as well.”

Lunau was referencing Cosplay Amino, an app that lets cosplayers and photographers share ideas, tutorials, pictures and journals.

Fan Days: Holiday Expo marks the end of the convention season for the 2015 year, which begins in Toronto again at the Toronto ComicCon from March 18 to March 20.