11 Gifts For the History Buff

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iStock

From ancient recipes to storied war ships, these 11 gifts will make the past come alive for your favorite history buff this holiday season.

1. USS CONSTITUTION MODEL SHIP; $400

USS Constitution Model Ship, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution became famous when it defeated the British warship HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812. This fatal battle earned the vessel the nickname of "Old Ironsides," as shots appeared to rebound off its hull. The USS Constitution is still intact to this day, and is considered the oldest U.S. warship still in commission. Fans of the boat can visit it in Boston, or keep this fully assembled 30-inch wooden model on their desks.

Find It: The New York Times Store

2. BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN SIGNATURE BACKPACK; $50

Because Of Them We Can Signature Backpack
Because of Them We Can

Help your giftee pay homage to pioneering civil rights leaders with this backpack emblazoned with the first names of figures like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, and more. It comes equipped with a laptop pouch, a mesh zip pocket, a key pouch, and a back notebook pocket.

Find It: Because of Them We Can

3. KING SOLOMON'S TABLE: A CULINARY EXPLORATION OF JEWISH COOKING FROM AROUND THE WORLD; $24

"King Solomon's Table" by Joan Nathan
Courtesy of Pantheon Books

King Solomon's Table by Joan Nathan provides more than 170 historic Jewish recipes from around the globe, ranging from classic Yemenite Chicken Soup to modern takes on dishes like shakshuka.

Find It: Amazon

4. MEAD MAKING KIT; $55

Mead Making Kit, sold by Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Your giftee's next soiree will rival the drinking halls of Medieval Europe with this make-your-own mead kit. It includes instructions, ingredients, and basic equipment that can be reused to make multiple batches.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL DAY BOOK; $130

Special Day Book, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

This personalized book by the New York Times lets purchasers remember an important day in their lives by reading what the world was like during that time. It contains New York Times headlines, photographs, advertisements, and articles from any date from 1851 onwards.

Find It: The New York Times

6. DEAD FEMINISTS: HISTORIC HEROINES IN LIVING COLOR; $17

"Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color" by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring
Courtesy of Sasquatch Books

History also includes plenty of "hers." Dead Feminists by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring profiles 27 influential female figures whose actions changed the world, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Find It: Amazon

7. PRESIDENTIAL SOAP COLLECTION; $22

This Caswell-Massey soap collection allows bathers to suds up like American leaders. It includes George Washington's Number Six soap, Eisenhower's almond cold cream hand soap, and Jockey Club men's bath soap, rumored to have been a favorite of John F. Kennedy.

Find It: Amazon

8. DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP RING; $170


Digby & Iona

War of 1812 buffs can wear history on their hands with this signet ring by Brooklyn jewelry studio Digby & Iona. It's engraved with the slogan "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," which Captain James Lawrence of the United States frigate Chesapeake allegedly uttered with his dying breath during a bloody 1813 sea skirmish against the British frigate Shannon.

Find It: Digby & Iona

9. HISTORY OF ART T-SHIRT; $28

History of Art T-Shirt, sold by the MoMA Design Store
MoMA Design Store

This pre-shrunk T-shirt's design uses smiley faces to simplify hundreds of years of art history into a chronological timeline. Each smiley is designed in the style of various famous artists, many of whose works are featured in the MoMA's collections.

Find It: MoMA Design Store

10. AMERICAN SEAFOOD: HERITAGE, CULTURE & COOKERY FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA; $25

"American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea" by Barton Seaver
Courtesy of Amazon

Your favorite history buff can explore the history of North American commercial seafood by cooking their way through Barton Seaver’s American Seafood. It lists the main characteristics of various types of fish, along with how to prep each one, while also providing an overview of their culinary legacy.

Find It: Amazon

11. PERSONALIZED PRINT OF A FAMILY HEIRLOOM; $450

A personalized print of a family heirloom typewriter by The Heirloomist
The Heirloomist

Thanks to still life photographer Shana Novak, nobody has to squabble over Grandpa's heirlooms. The New York-based shutterbug runs a business called The Heirloomist, which celebrates family history by photographing treasured relics and transforming them into large-scale works of art. Prints can be matted and framed, or delivered sans decorative casing.

Find It: The Heirloomist

10 Cozy Mugs for Everyone on Your Holiday Gift List

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iStock

A mug is the perfect all-purpose gift. It’s just as appropriate for your office Secret Santa as it is for your best friend. But in a world stacked to the brim with cool drinking vessels for warm beverages, which to choose? Take a look at these 11 whimsical, wonderful mugs that will please just about everyone on your holiday shopping list.

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. Game Boy Heat Change Mug

A mug decorated to look like a Game Boy
Firebox

Need a gift for a video game master, or just someone who’s nostalgic for the ‘90s? Try a drinkable Game Boy. The two consoles on either side of this mug "turn on" in response to heat, revealing a start screen and a classic shot from a game of Mario. This way, your caffeine-swilling friend will get to watch their Game Boy power on at the same time they do.

Find it at Firebox for
$7.

2. Personalized Map City Mug

Three mint-green and white mugs stacked on top of each other
Etsy

Let someone on your list show off their hometown pride with a map mug customized to showcase their favorite place. Geek Group’s personalized mugs can be tailor-made to map out the boundaries of a certain city or even a single neighborhood, down to specific coordinates. The 11-ounce, fade-resistant mugs come in a variety of different color schemes, including black and white, pink, mint (above), and multi-colored. Even better, the shop helps fund programming at the Geek Group National Science Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a nonprofit dedicated to science and technology education.

Find it at Etsy for $12.

3. Heat Changing Constellation Mug

Amateur star-gazers will be wowed by this star-chart morph mug from the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild. Featuring a dark image of the night sky, as it warms up, it reveals the 11 major constellations within. It's a perfect companion for someone who likes sitting out on the porch with some hot chocolate and finding the real constellations.

Find it at Amazon for $16 and also at these other retailers:

4. Ember Ceramic Mug

There’s nothing worse than going to take a sip of coffee and realizing it’s gone ice-cold. With Ember, your giftee will never have to worry about their coffee or tea cooling down, because the mug is designed to keep their drink at the exact temperature they specify. It links up with a smartphone app so that the user can remotely adjust the ideal temperature, and get a notification once their beverage has hit that temperature.

Find it at Ember for $80 and also at these other retailers:

5. Anatomy Of ... Mugs

Two images of a mug that reads 'Anatomy of a Maine Coon' with a drawing of a cat on it
Etsy

Your favorite animal lover will go gaga over these cutesy mugs by UK-based illustrator Sophie Corrigan. Her "Anatomy Of" mug series covers cats, dogs, birds, betta fish, cows, giraffes, hedgehogs, and basically any other animal that could be construed as adorable. No matter what kind of animal—pet or otherwise—tickles your friend’s fancy, Corrigan has a whimsical illustration to go with it.

Find it at Society 6 for $11 and up.

6. Climate Change Morph Mug

Two mugs depict a world map and rising sea levels.
Amazon

Perfect for the environmental activist in your life, this mug is a daily reminder of the effect humankind has on the planet. The heat-activated mug reflects what’s happening as the Earth warms, slowly causing continents to disappear as the polar ice caps melt and sea levels rise. Goodbye, Florida. Not all of your friends will be delighted to deal with the grim realities of climate change over breakfast, but for particularly ardent environmentalists, it will make a great conversation piece when their science-denying relatives come to visit.

Find it at Amazon for $16.

7. Animal Snout Cups

A woman raises a white cup to her mouth that is shaped like a dog’s snout.
Firebox

These 6-ounce cups are sure to make any breakfast companion laugh, and they make a great novelty gift for an animal lover in your life. When they tip the cup up to their lips, they will suddenly have a new snout. The mugs come in either the shape of a dog’s nose or a pig’s, but there’s nothing stopping you from gifting both.

Find it at Firebox for $7.

8. Banned Books Morph Mug

Two mugs feature the titles of books that have been banned, one with the titles blacked out.
Uncommon Goods

Your literary friends and family will fight over this morphing mug decorated with the titles of classic books that have been banned at some point. As the mug warms up, the black lines censoring the titles—from To Kill a Mockingbird to Naked Lunch—reveal themselves.

Find it at Uncommon Goods for $12.

9. Donut Warming Mug

A coffee mug lies on its side to reveal a platform to hold a donut, while another sits with a donut on top nearby.
Amazon

Give your favorite donut lover the perfect breakfast with this donut-warming mug, which will keep their breakfast pastry warm from the heat of their coffee. The top of the mug features a built-in lid that serves as a resting place for a small pastry (or cookie), warmed by the steam of a good cup of joe.

Find It at Amazon for $16 and also at these other retailers:

10. Mondarian Color-Changing Mug

A mug features a Mondrian-inspired design.
Amazon

Your beloved art connoisseur can take inspiration from this morphing mug from the Museum of Modern Art’s design store. Before you pour in hot liquid, it looks like it just features a black and white grid. Once it heats up, its color-changing surface reveals a design inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian.

Find it at:

11 Brilliant Gifts for the Notebook Enthusiast

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iStock

Science says it's easier to organize and remember information when you write it down. Help everyone on your list stay on track with these charming notebooks that are great for artists, writers, planners, and dreamers.

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. Poketo Concept Planner


Poketo

Your loved ones could tap reminders into their phones, but this glam pink planner makes keeping appointments much more fun. The 252-page, open-dated book includes space to scribble goals for the week, month, and year as well as calendar sheets for scheduling activities. The binding lies flat while open and the 8-by-5-inch fabric-textured cover gives your giftee's plans a fashionable finish.

Find It at Poketo for $34.

2. Rite In The Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook


Rite in the Rain

It looks like a regular notepad, but Rite in the Rain's 4-by-6-inch gridded sheets are completely waterproof, able to withstand the wetness of a rainforest, a summer downpour, or being dropped in the mud. Use any pen or pencil for smudgeproof writing that will stay legible no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.

Find It at Amazon for $7 and also at these other retailers:

3. Moleskine Smart Writing Set


Moleskine

If your favorite notebook enthusiast draws or writes in this Moleskine paper tablet with the included Pen+ smart pen, their creation will appear in digital form on your phone or iPad via a companion app. Encoded technology allows the pen to capture each stroke and smoothly transfer freehand doodlings from page to screen. From there, the user can edit, add text, share ideas and more.

Find It at Moleskine for $199 and also at these other retailers:

4. MidoriI Grid Notebook


Amazon

You'll notice Midori notebooks are missing something: a cover. That’s entirely on purpose. These minimalist Japanese notebooks allow users to focus on the joy of writing through their gentle gridlines, thread-stitch binding, lay-flat design, and colored string on the spine that indicates the notebook's page style.

Find It at Amazon for $10 and also at these other retailers:

5. Princeton Architectural Press Observer's Notebook: Astronomy


Princeton Architectural Press

If the 2017 total solar eclipse sparked a new love of astronomy in someone you know, give this handsome 7-by-9-inch hardcover notebook, so they can record night sky observations. The ruled pages are paired with information about stars, planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies, plus gorgeous color images from the Hubble and ESA space telescopes.

Find It at Princeton Architectural Pressfor $19 and also at these other retailers:

6. Leda Art Supply Sketchbook


Amazon

Whether your gift recipient draws in pencil, ink, pastel, charcoal, or watercolors, this softcover sketchbook is ideal for many kinds of art. The 160 pages of 7-by-10-inch archival paper are thread-bound and include an elastic band to keep the book closed. A ribbon bookmark adds a classy finishing touch.

Find It at Amazon for $18 and also at these other retailers:

7. Pilot Frixion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens


Pilot

The perfect pen for The New York Times Sunday crossword, Pilot's long-lasting Frixion gel pens write incredibly smoothly in a variety of ink colors and erase completely with the attached eraser, without damaging the writing surface beneath. The 0.7-millimeter fine point gives penmanship an elegant flourish. When you're finished writing, the nib clicks back into the pen shaft.

Find It at Amazon for $11 and also at these other retailers:

8. Traveler's Company Brown Leather Notebook


Amazon

Indulge your loved one's inner Hiram Bingham or Nellie Bly with this classic traveler's notebook. Encased in a hand-made chocolate leather cover is a sheaf of blank Midori paper (refills are available); the book includes a ribbon bookmark and a band for keeping the cover closed when not in use. At roughly 8.5 inches by 5 inches, the notebook is sized for stuffing into a safari jacket.

Find It at Amazon for $47 and also at these other retailers:

9. Present And Correct Corner Ring Bound Notebook


Present and Correct

A twist on your typical spiral-bound notebook, this pad by British company Present and Correct hinges at the corner with a chic brass coil. The 50-page book comes in small (2.75 inches by 4.75 inches) and large (5.8 inches by 8.3 inches) and three variations: black cover/blank sheets, green cover/ruled sheets, and gray cover/dotted sheets.

Find It at Present And Correct for $7 and up.

10. Moleskine Limited Edition SUPER MARIO Notebook

super maro bros. limited edition moleskine notebook
Moleskine

Travel back to the "8-bit world of the Mushroom Kingdom" with the help of this limited edition Super Mario notebook from Moleskine. The hardback notebook includes 70 ivory lined pages and a bookmark, plus stickers and extra goodies printed on the inside of the paperband.

Find It at Moleskine for $20.

11. Princeton Architectural Press Pocket Department Notebooks


Princeton Architectural Press

Inspired by 1950s stationery, the Pocket Department notebooks recall old-school composition books with a modern splash of color. This pack includes each of four different styles—backpack, messenger bag, shirt pocket, and back pocket sizes—containing 64 lined pages apiece. The set comes wrapped in a reusable interoffice-style envelope with a string closure, suitable for your office's secret Santa rounds.

Find It at Princeton Architectural Press for $20 and also at these other retailers:

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