12 Gifts for the 'Star Wars' Fan

LittleBits
LittleBits

Two years prior to the release of Star Wars in 1977, George Lucas thought it might be interesting if his space opera resulted in a Wookiee coffee mug or an R2-D2 cookie jar. Some 40 years later, merchandise from the film series has become an entire industry unto itself, with an almost unaccountable number of products. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by options, take a look at 12 gifts sure to please the Force fan in your life.

1. LITTLEBITS DROID INVENTOR KIT; $100

A look at the LittleBits Star Wars Droid kit parts
LittleBits

This is the Droid gift you’re looking for. This engineering kit is suitable for ages 8 and up and features a variety of motors, parts, stickers, and other accessories to help users build their own unique robotic companion. Once assembled, the Droid can sense and avoid obstacles, locomote when humans “use the Force” by swiping their hand, or record secret messages to deliver to accomplices.

Find It: LittleBits

2. STAR WARS ELITE SERIES DIE CAST ACTION FIGURES; $20

A Star Wars die cast action figure of Captain Phasma
Amazon

Action figures have always been a hallmark of the Star Wars product universe, and these 6.5-inch to 7.5-inch die cast figures are a worthy addition to the line-up. Instead of being strictly plastic, each has been struck with molded metal parts to make for a durable, hefty figure that’s more statue than plaything. (But don't worry: They're still poseable.)

Find It: Amazon

3. STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE DEATH STAR HOLOGRAM LIMITED EDITION VINYL SET; $135

A Star Wars soundtrack album sleeve
Amazon

Vinyl may not be as popular as it was when the original Star Wars was released, but the analog format still has enough fans to make this a must-have. The eye-popping reissue of the classic John Williams score features a 3-D hologram on one of the records that projects a Death Star image when played. No special equipment other than a turntable and an overhead light source is needed.

Find It: Amazon

4. STAR WARS BB-8 BLANKET SCARF; $40

A model sports a Star Wars BB-8 blanket scarf
ThinkGeek

For chilly winter mornings, nothing’s better than a cozy blanket-scarf hybrid—nothing, that is, unless it’s one emblazoned with the distinctive profile of 2015’s breakout Droid, BB-8. The spherical charmer appears on this acrylic throw that measures 80 inches by 24 inches.

Find It: ThinkGeek

5. STATE BAGS LIMITED EDITION STAR WARS COLLECTION; $80 AND UP

A Star Wars Darth Vader backpack from State Bags
STATE Bags

Love Star Wars? Love trendy backpacks? STATE Bags is prepared to make you an offer you can’t refuse. These unique, understated totes use patterns and color schemes to broadcast your love of Jedi culture without going overboard. Choose between Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2, or a Stormtrooper assembly.

Find It: STATE Bags

6. STAR WARS CROSS STITCH; $20

The cover of a Star Wars cross stitch instructional book
ThinkGeek

Rebellious arts and crafts fans will find a lot to love about this book detailing 12 Star Wars cross stitch patterns with varying degrees of difficulty. In addition to logos for the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, and Boba Fett’s helmet, you can also needle BB-8 and the Death Star.

Find It: ThinkGeek

7. MONOPOLY: STAR WARS 40TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION; $25

A look at the Stars Wars 40th anniversary edition of Monopoly
Amazon

Classic Monopoly game pieces and squares have been swapped out for Star Wars-centric themes in honor of the original film’s 40th anniversary. Move your X-wing flight helmet or Millennium Falcon around the board and draw Force cards that could decide your fate. But be warned: Not even mastery of space wizardry can keep you from going bankrupt.

Find It: Amazon

8. STAR WARS BLACK SERIES POE DAMERON ELECTRONIC X-WING PILOT HELMET; $77

A Star Wars Poe Dameron X-wing helmet replica
Amazon

You don’t need to be hotshot X-wing pilot Poe Dameron to wear his flight gear. This movie-accurate helmet features a retractable visor, sound effects from the films, and some beep-blop Droid chatter from co-pilot BB-8.

Find It: Amazon

9. STAR WARS EPISODE VIII FIGHTER SHIPS 4 PIECE GLASS SET; $15

A set of four Star Wars ship glasses
ThinkGeek

Collectible glasses were all the rage in the ‘80s, and now they’re making a comeback. This set of four 10-ounce drinking glasses features famous ships from the series, including the Millennium Falcon, a TIE Fighter, and an X-wing. Strange blue milk not included.

Find It: Think Geek

10. STAR WARS HAN SOLO AND TAUNTAUN POP! FIGURE SET: A SMUGGLERS BOUNTY EXCLUSIVE; $97

A Funko Han Solo and Tauntaun collectible figure set
Amazon

One of the most disgusting-yet-cool sequences in all of Star Wars is the sequence in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo braves the frigid climate of Hoth in order to rescue his friend Luke Skywalker. Cutting open his Tauntaun allows him to keep Luke warm enough until help arrives. While you won’t be able to disembowel this Funko version, Han still looks as slick as ever in his winter gear while riding his doomed companion.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO STAR WARS EPISODE VIII FIRST ORDER HEAVY ASSAULT WALKER BUILDING KIT; $150

A LEGO Star Wars Assault Walker set
Amazon

The Resistance will be having problems with this massive Assault Walker, a 13-inch-tall kit that seems ready to demolish anything in its path. Once completed, the Walker sports a missile-firing head, movable legs, and First Order mini-figures to man the operation.

Find It: Amazon

12. SYMMETRY SERIES STAR WARS IPHONE CASES; $45 AND UP

Hold the phone: Help your favorite fan answer the call of the Force (or the dark side) with these slim and durable iPhone cases from Otterbox. Choose from five different designs, featuring BB-8, a stormtropper, Darth Vader, the Resistance, and Ahch-To.

Find It: Otterbox

25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

iStock
iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

The Brilliant $20 Gadget That Will Keep Your Beach Umbrella Firmly Anchored in the Sand

iStock
iStock

Failing to properly secure your beach umbrella is more dangerous than you think. Tumbling, airborne umbrellas can be a safety hazard, with the potential to collide with beach-goers. Recently, a woman in Maryland was struck in the chest by one that was carried away by high winds.

Usually, it’s simply a matter of inconvenience—chasing a rogue umbrella is not how anyone wants to spend their day. Today recently broke down some preventative measures to help keep umbrellas secured, including using a rocking motion to bury it in the sand and making sure at least one-third of it is underground. You also want to tilt it into the wind so the gusts help keep it secured. 

The best way to avoid umbrella-related mishaps, though, is to opt for a sand anchor. These cheap-but-effective devices are like giant screws that bite into the sand for a much more secure fit. You then place the umbrella pole in the anchor. You can find the Beachr Beach Umbrella Sand Anchor, which fits all sizes of umbrella, for $19.97 on Amazon.

Experts like beach superintendents also advise you to consider taking down umbrellas if it's too windy and never, ever bringing a patio umbrella to the beach. With a larger surface area to catch wind, they can be extremely dangerous.

[h/t Today]

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