Amid global turmoil, mounting economic stress, and pent-up pandemic-related restlessness, 2022 was the year the world snapped and said, “that’s it — I’m going goblin mode.”
Not to be confused with “goblincore” (or goth cottagecore), goblin mode is a state of being whose definition changes slightly depending on the source. Over on Twitter, where “goblin mode” was in circulation for years before it went mainstream with a fake Julia Fox headline this February, the phrase is loosely used to describe any behavior that’s remotely chaotic. (See also: acting unhinged, being a weird little guy.)
Reddit is a house divided. One viral post on r/confessions goes the literal route, with the goblin mode-engaged author admitting to “creep around in a sort of crouch-walking position” and “pick up various different ‘trinkets’ and put them in my bag while saying stuff like ‘I’ll be having that’ and laughing maniacally.” Another from r/relationship_advice is decidedly not safe for work.
Meanwhile, the Oxford English Dictionary calls goblin mode “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” Nothing but respect for my 2022 Word of the Year.
This is all to say that there are factions of “goblin mode” that anyone can identify with or devote themselves to. (Even Stephen King.) It’s schlepping around town, horking down snacks, going on a bender, yielding to intrusive thoughts, and embracing our most primitive, deranged urges. It stands against everything “That Girl.” And it’s fodder for some extremely fun, off-kilter gift ideas.
Below, you’ll find our picks for goblin mode-inspired presents that start at under $5. Go feral.