11 Thoughtful Gifts for Your Office Swap

iStock
iStock

Along with buying gifts for friends and family, there's always that one extra innocuous present you have to find—the office swap gift. Whether your company opts for white elephant or pulling specific names from a hat, these gifts are suitable for bosses or underlings alike.

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1. KOH-I-NOOR DRY MARKER HIGHLIGHTER PENCIL; $2 EACH

Koh-i-Noor Dry Marker Highlighter Pencils
CW Pencil Enterprises

For the colleague who keeps copious, color-coded lists and agendas, these vibrant pencils will brighten up any Monday morning to-do list. And, at about $2 each, you can buy all six without going over any agreed-upon spending limit.

Find It: CW Pencil Enterprises

2. AIR PLANT ON GOLD-DIPPED QUARTZ; $18

Air plants on gold-dipped quartz.
Etsy

Air plants are the perfect greenery to liven up a desk—they don’t require messy soil and regular misting will keep it fresh and healthy. Plus, the blinged-out base will satisfy both the healing-energy and the decorative tchotchke crowds.

Find It: Etsy

3. MOO HARDCOVER NOTEBOOK; $20

Spread of Moo notebooks.
Moo

This practical notebook features a thick book-quality cover to prevent damage and a special Swiss binding, which allows it to lay flat regardless of where you’re trying to write. And the color options—charcoal gray, midnight blue, wine red, or three “zingy” brighter shades—just enhance its timeless appeal. 

Find It: Moo

4. FELIX CARD WALLET; $20

Herschel card wallet
Herschel

No one wants to have to drag a purse or bulky wallet along when popping out for a quick snack or coffee run. Help your coworkers out with this compact card wallet. There’s plenty of room for an office ID, credit card, cash, and even some business cards, so they can enter you all to win a happy hour sometime.

Find It: Herschel

5. L'OCCITANE HAND LOTION; $24

Bottle of L'Occitane lotion
Amazon

During these dry winter months, your Secret Santa will appreciate having some moisturizing hand lotion that’s just an easy pump away.

Find It: Amazon

6. RUBBER BAND BALL; $9

Black and white rubber band ball
Need Supply

For the coworker who needs utilitarian office supplies like rubber bands, but also keeps a Pinterest-perfect desk: This black and white take on the classic rubber band ball is as display-worthy as it is practical.

Find It: Need Supply

7. ZADIE DRIVE ALLIGATOR LETTER OPENER; $40

Zadie Drive Alligator Letter Opener
Kate Spade

Upgrade someone’s letter-opening experience with a quick swipe of this golden alligator tail. It’ll leave envelopes far more cleanly cut than those scissors ever did.

Find It: Kate Spade

8. WATER SUCCULENTS LAPTOP SLEEVE; $37

Water succulents laptop sleeve
Society6

Lugging a laptop to and from the office may seem like a little less of a chore if it's dressed up in watercolored greenery. This lightweight sleeve is fully lined in microfiber and made to fit 13” or 15” computers.

Find It: Society6

9. PERSONALIZED STARBUCKS TUMBLER; $10

Personalized Starbucks coffee tumblers
Etsy

What to get the most caffeinated among us? A personalized, BPA-free, reusable cup is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will your office pal be helping the environment when they go on their afternoon coffee run, they’ll save 10 cents each time they use it at Starbucks.

Find It: Etsy

10. PREVIOUSLY, ON…: GUESS THE TV SERIES; $19


Amazon

For the colleague who is always the first to ask “so did everyone watch [insert any culturally relevant show] last night?”, this illustrated card game puts all their knowledge of classic and prestige television to the test.

Find It: Amazon

11. KILNER FOOD-TO-GO JAR; $15

Kilner Food-To-Go Jar
The Container Store

Help your coworker keep their 2018 resolution to bring their lunch to work more often—this Mason-style glass jar features a removable cup for dressings or other toppings under its stainless steel lid, so they’ll never have to worry about soggy salad again.

Find It: The Container Store

Ready for Spring Cleaning? Neato's Latest Robotic Vacuum Is $230 Off Today

Neato
Neato

If you've been hankering for a robotic cleaning assistant, today is your day. Best Buy is offering a great deal on Neato’s Botvac D4 Connected, the company’s well-reviewed, mid-range robot vacuum.

The vacuum, which normally retails for $529, is selling for $299 today as part of Best Buy’s limited-time daily deals. In other words, you can save $230—an almost 43 percent reduction.

That’s a pretty good deal for a gadget that Wired called “one of the best robot vacuums in terms of value” in a 2018 review. It’s got 75 minutes of battery life, a unique D-shape design made to help it wedge into any corner of your living room, and the ability to tackle carpet, hardwood, and tile floors.

The Neato Botvac D4 Connected vacuum
Neato

The Botvac D4 Connected also has some of the high-end features more often available in pricier vacuums, like laser floor-mapping technology and the ability to draw “no-go” boundaries around your home within the accompanying app. It also works with Alexa, Google Home, and other smart home assistants—you can even start and stop it using your Apple Watch.

Like many robot vacuums, the Botvac D4 Connected usually runs for a little cheaper on Amazon—it’s currently listed at $496—but this is one of those rare instances when another retailer has dropped its prices even lower. The deal ends at 11:59 p.m. Central Time on March 16, so get it while you can.

Buy it at Best Buy, then check out our list of some of the other smart tech you can use around the house during spring cleaning this year.

And if you missed the deal window for Best Buy, you can still get a good price elsewhere. The model is currently available for $429 from Walmart.

9 Enlightening Courses You Can Take Online in March 2019

iStock.com/damircudic
iStock.com/damircudic

These days, you can learn just about anything online, whether it's through YouTube videos, independent research, or Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Websites like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a wealth of classes that will teach you everything you didn't have the chance to learn in school, whether it's practical kitchen skills, esoteric historical information, or off-beat science. There’s no shortage of unique courses to dive into, and many of them are free—or at least much cheaper than their offline equivalents. Here are some of the most intriguing ones you can take in March 2019.

1. Bake Artisan Sourdough Bread Like a Professional

Baking your own bread is trendier than ever, but that doesn't mean it's easy. From making a sourdough starter from scratch to mixing, shaping, and baking loaves, this course will teach you how to make bread the Old World way. Instructor Teresa L. Greenway will walk you through the process of making your own crispy, chewy bread at home through four hours of video, 28 articles, and 33 downloadable resources you can review at your own pace. Along the way, you'll learn about the basics of fermentation, gluten formation, hydration, and more, including a crash course in the long history of bread-making. While this is one of the pricier online class options, its price tag pales in comparison to what you'd pay for in-person classes somewhere like King Arthur Flour's baking school. (And if you find the class doesn't quite rise to the occasion, Udemy has a 30-day money-back guarantee.)

Sign up on Udemy for $100.

2. The Truth About Cats and Dogs

If you've ever wondered why dogs love to dig or cats love cardboard boxes, this class offered by the University of Edinburgh is for you. The nine-hour course promises to give you scientific insights into these two species’s behavior, exploring how dogs and cats see the world, how they communicate, and how you can improve their lives. Though it's designed to be completed in five weeks, the flexible deadlines can fit whatever your personal schedule allows.

Sign up on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

3. Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology

Since it first premiered as an NBC television series in 1966, Star Trek has spawned multiple television series, films, comic books, and novels, becoming a juggernaut of nerd culture like no other. It has had such a big impact on American society, in fact, that you can take a course dedicated to its influence, from fandom phenomena to how it shaped the television we watch today. It's offered by SmithsonianX, the Smithsonian Institution's free course program.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate, which includes bonus course content, costs $40.

4. Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

Perfect for fans of historical tales like The Favourite (2018), this online class taught by University of Virginia English professor Bruce Holsinger details the rise of historical fiction from the 18th century to today. You'll discuss what exactly makes a work of historical fiction, read classics of the form by writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Charles Dickens, and hear from a modern author.

Sign up on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

5. The Science of Happiness

Since it first launched in 2014, this class from the University of California, Berkley's Greater Good Science Center has consistently been one of the most popular MOOCs out there. It provides scientific insight into what it takes to live a fruitful life, all backed by psychological research. Previous participants have reported feeling a boost in positive feelings for months after taking the eight-week class.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

6. Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones

You can learn a surprising amount of information about a person just from studying their bones. This course offered by Universiteit Leiden in The Netherlands examines everything we can learn just from looking at skeletal remains, from information about that person's health and diet to where they migrated and the kind of activities they performed when they were alive.

Sign up on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

7. Mix World-Class Cocktails: Secrets of a Champion Mixologist

If you've always wanted to be able to get behind a bar and whip up incredibly creative cocktails, award-winning mixologist Paul Martin's course is for you. You'll get 2.5 hours of video instruction plus 16 downloadable resources to help make you the best bartender you can be, whether you're a complete newbie or an established professional. "You will learn key mixing techniques, how to produce the finest examples of the great classic cocktails, the secrets and methods for producing the most popular contemporary cocktails perfectly, and finally how to produce some show-stopping cocktail garnishes to give your cocktails that 'rock-star' presentation," Martin promises. By the end of the course, you'll have mastered 16 different classic cocktail preparations, including the perfect martini, a "sublime" cosmopolitan, and more. The course is expensive for an online class, but it's much cheaper than your standard in-person bartending school.

Sign up on Udemy for $200.

8. Pixel Art for Video Games

Video games have come a long way since the 16-bit era, but there is a unique beauty to pixel art that still makes it appealing today. This course taught by game artist Marco Vale will teach you how to make your own, professional-level pixel art. You'll learn how to draw and animate characters from different perspectives, bringing your bite-sized imaginations to life.

Sign up on Udemy for $70.

9. History of Rock Music I: From the Early Blues to the 1960s

For all those folks that love to rock and roll all night, this introductory course takes you through some of the highlights of rock music history. Taught by Vasilis Kallis, an associate professor of music theory at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, the class looks at rock 'n' roll through theory, composition, and cultural history. Not only will you learn about some of the genre’s most prominent artists and styles, but you will also explore the cultural and economic factors that contributed to the impact these artists had on society at large.

Sign up on Udemy for $60.

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