11 Gifts For the History Buff

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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 Ways to Get Your Caffeine Fix Without Coffee

iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell
iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell

Looking to get an extra buzz without drinking another cup of coffee? Luckily, sleepy people everywhere have created a huge market for all things caffeine-related. Here are some more unusual products that will give you a buzz.

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. Perk Energy Bracelet

A woman wearing a Perk bracelet
Perk, Amazon

These bracelets administer caffeine right through your skin. They're lined with energy patches that provide the same amount of caffeine as a medium cup of coffee, according to Perk, but over the course of four hours to prevent jitters or crashing. Because the caffeine isn't going through your digestive system, the effects are also stronger and hit faster. Each bracelet comes with 30 caffeine patches to get you started.

Buy it on Amazon for $40.

2. Viter Energy Mints

Six light blue tins of energy mints
Viter Energy, Amazon

Worried about getting coffee breath? Viter Energy mints will make your mouth minty fresh while putting a pep in your step. Each mint has 40 milligrams of caffeine, so eating two mints is about the same as an 8-ounce cup of coffee. (The caffeine content of coffee varies from brand to brand, but according to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce brewed coffee might contain anywhere from 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine, while an espresso will around 47 to 64 milligrams. A tall dark-roast brewed coffee at Starbucks contains 193 milligrams.) These mints have a "strong and intense wintergreen flavor and menthol kick” as the makers describe it, but they also come in spearmint, cinnamon, chocolate mint, and peppermint flavors.

Buy them on Amazon for $20 for six tins.

3. Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

Showers are about to get a lot more energizing—no freezing cold water needed. This vegetable-based glycerine soap from ThinkGeek is made with caffeine to give your morning a jump start even before your first cup of coffee. Each Shower Shock bar packs about 200 milligrams of caffeine per use. (Each bar is about 12 servings.) It also has a refreshing peppermint smell—but no, it's not edible.

Buy it from ThinkGeek for $8 or from Amazon for $16.

4. pureLYFT Energy Stir Sticks

Boxes of pureLYFT stir sticks near citrus fruit
pureLYFT, Amazon

Now you can add caffeine to any beverage you like with a stick that you can swirl into your drink. The plastic sticks are filled with crystals that dissolve after just 10 seconds of stirring. Each packs 125 milligrams of caffeine. You can opt for the plain version or try flavors like orange, mixed berry, and lemon-lime.

Buy them on Amazon for $13 per pack of six or at these other retailers:

5. OGX Fight Fallout Shampoo

A brown bottle of OGX shampoo
OGX, Walmart

Energize your scalp with caffeine-infused shampoo. While this shower addition might not actually wake you up, some studies have suggested that caffeine may (slightly) help with hair loss. OGX claims their shampoo helps thicken hair and keep it on your head. The company also makes a conditioner and a "root stimulator" spray with the same ingredients.

Buy it from Walmart for $12 or at these other retailers:

6. Power Toothpaste

Say goodbye to groggily brushing your teeth. Power Toothpaste is infused with caffeine that quickly kicks in as soon as you're done with your oral hygiene routine. Each tube has enough mint-flavored paste for 90 brushes with roughly 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Buy it from Power Toothpaste for $15 or from Amazon for $20 (with Prime shipping).

7. HeroEC Energy Water

A 12-pack of water bottles
Hero Water, Amazon

Swap out your coffee for something a little more refreshing. This hydrating water from Hero Water comes with electrolytes and 60 milligrams of caffeine, without the bitter aftertaste of coffee.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 for a pack of 12.

8. Jolt Energy Gum

A box of Jolt Energy Gum
Jolt, Amazon

Based on the popular soda, Jolt Energy Gum comes packed with guarana, ginseng, and 40 milligrams of caffeine per serving. The spearmint and "icy mint" flavors are designed to deliver a minty kick that's sure to keep you up for a while.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 per pack of 12 (120 pieces total).

9. First Aid Beauty Matcha Wake Up Wipes

A pack of facial wipes
First Aid Beauty, Amazon

Start the morning right with a clean and refreshed face. These caffeine matcha wipes remove dirt, soothe with aloe, and wake you up. The caffeine reduces puffiness and redness, too. Each pack comes with 25 wipes designed for all skin types.

Buy it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

10. Eagle Energy Caffeine Infused Inhaler

A three-pack of caffeine inhalers
Eagle Energy, Amazon

Made with guarana extract, ginseng, and vitamin B12, Eagle Energy’s caffeine inhaler is a sugar-free, calorie-free way to get your energy boost. According to the company, “Eagle uses a customized heating system that creates a vapor and is engineered to maximize caffeine bioavailability and prevent the creation of any unintended by-products.” Because the caffeine is inhaled, it only takes three to five minutes to kick in.

Buy it on Amazon for $26 per pack of three.

The 3 Best Mattresses You Can Order Online Right Now

iStock.com/diego_cervo
iStock.com/diego_cervo

President’s Day is quickly creeping up, and you know what that means: Everyone and their mother will be shopping for new mattresses (which traditionally go on sale over the holiday weekend). However, if you don’t feel like fighting off the crowds at your local mattress outlet, there are plenty of great online deals you can take advantage of—and you don't have to sift through a thousand reviews to find a great one. Check out our buying guide to the three comfiest mattresses on the market right now from Leesa, Allswell, and Linenspa.

1. Leesa’s Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress

Leesa's universal adaptive feel memory foam cooling mattress
Leesa, Amazon

Do you kick off the covers in the middle of the night because you get too hot? Try Leesa’s 10-inch-tall cooling mattress. It has three unique foam layers: The first layer is designed to keep you cool, while the second offers body-contouring comfort, and the third helps relieve pressure and provide core support. The “adaptive feel” label refers to the fact that it adapts to your body no matter what your preferred sleeping position may be. The mattress comes in twin through California king sizes, with prices starting at $375.

Buy it on Amazon or from Leesa's website, where you can get 15 percent off plus two free pillows this weekend.

2. Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid Mattress

This extra-thick mattress is so popular that it frequently sells out from Allswell and at other retailers. It packs 12 inches of high-end material into one mattress, including quilted memory foam and an outer layer designed keep you cool in hot weather. Similar mattresses tend to go for thousands of dollars, but the Luxe Hybrid retails for far less. Prices start at $345 for a twin, $485 for a full, $585 for a queen, or $745 for a king. (Not sure about the difference in mattress sizes? We've got you covered.)

Buy it from Allswell's website, where you can save 15 percent through February 20 using the offer code 15FORALL. It's also available at these retailers:

3. Linenspa’s memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress

The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress
Linenspa, Amazon

Amazon customers swear by Linenspa’s hybrid mattress, which comes in sizes twin ($96) through California king ($198). Ideal for people who like medium-firm mattresses, it combines the benefits of memory foam with the support one gets from a traditional innerspring mattress. The standard version is 8 inches thick, but Linenspa also offers a 10-inch version in all sizes. (We also love the company's incredibly affordable down-alternative duvet, which is $50 off right now on Amazon.)

Buy it on Amazon, where the 8-inch queen mattress is currently 18 percent off ($156).

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