11 Thoughtful Gifts for Secret Santa and White Elephant Exchanges

Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Finding a suitable gift for a Secret Santa, Yankee, or white elephant exchange can be challenging, especially if you don’t know the recipient all that well. We wanted to help, so we found 11 items that anyone would be happy to receive.

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. Bourbon-Infused Coffee

We could all use a little kick in the morning, and this Tennessee-brewed coffee is sure to do the trick. A splash of Kentucky bourbon lends the Arabica beans their unique aroma and flavor, but it doesn’t actually contain alcohol, so it’s plenty safe for sipping at the office.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $20.

2. Bento 3-in-1 Splash Box

A set of containers
Amazon

Plastic-free is increasingly becoming the new norm. The Splash Box has three non-toxic stainless steel food trays that lock together for easy transport, while simultaneously keeping your peas apart from your mashed potatoes. It’s leak-proof, shatter-proof, and safe for the dishwasher, oven, and toaster oven on medium heat.

Find It on Amazon for $35.

3. Clinique Mascara and Balm Travel Ornament Set

A makeup set
Walmart

This travel kit is the perfect accessory for frequent fliers who want to freshen up after touching down in a new city or country. Clinique’s black High Impact mascara and cleansing balm are wrapped up in a convenient—and TSA-approved!—travel ornament.

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

4. “Weird & Wacky USA” Jigsaw Puzzle

A U.S. map puzzle
True South

Help someone discover the quirky side of America with this 500-piece puzzle illustrated by an award-winning designer. Colorful icons highlight the odd roadside attractions in each state, and who knows—it might even inspire an unforgettable road trip.

Find It at the True South Puzzle Company for $27.

5. Italian Chesemaking Kit

The cheesemaking kit
Uncommon Goods

Give the gift of good cheese this season with a DIY kit. The box holds enough ingredients to make 10 batches of cheese, including classic varieties such as mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. No prior cheesemaking experience necessary.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $25.

6. Jam Hang Up Portable Bluetooth Speaker

A portable speaker
Best Buy

Music lovers will appreciate this durable Bluetooth speaker with a built-in suction and stick pad. They can slap it on a shower wall, mirror, or other smooth surface around the house or backyard and get their groove on. It can be submerged in water for 30 minutes and comes with a rechargeable battery.

Find It at these retailers:

7. SmartKlear Carbon Smartphone Cleaner

A smartphone cleaner
The Grommet

NASA uses SmartKlear’s carbon cleaning technology in its space station, and it can now be used to scrub the germs and grime from any smartphone or electronic screen. Simply swipe the device across a screen, and the carbon substance it contains will get to work repelling any dirt or oil it encounters.

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

8. The Tile Mate

The Tile Mate and Slim Combo Pack
Amazon

We all know that one person who’s constantly misplacing their things. The Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker will help jog their memory. It hooks onto keychains, suitcases, purses, bikes, and more to help the user find their items via a companion app. It also works in reverse: Pressing a button on the Tile Mate makes the user’s phone ring, even when it’s on silent.

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

9. Homesick Books Candle

The Books candle
Homesick Candles

The Books candle from Homesick would make a thoughtful gift for any bibliophile who already has a stack of unread novels at home. Top notes of orange and nutmeg are rounded out by earthy fragrances like sandalwood and cedarwood. Splashes of vanilla, balsam, and amber form the base and help recreate the unmistakable scent of a good book.

Find It at Homesick Candles for $30 and also at these other retailers:

10. Chocolate-Covered Snowman Oreos

A box of chocolate-covered Oreos
Amazon

Who doesn’t love holiday-themed chocolates? These milk chocolate-drizzled Oreos from Philadelphia Candies come with candy snowmen on top. There’s also a dark chocolate version, as well as a milk chocolate version with winter snowflakes on top.

Find It on Amazon for $15.

11. Ulla Hydration Reminder Bottle

The water bottle on a desk
The Grommet

We often forget to stay hydrated, but this water bottle accessory from Ulla makes it easy to foster healthy habits. The silicone band fits over most bottles and sends out reminders to take a swig any time the user has gone too long without water. Get one for a health-conscious coworker, or perhaps that one person you know who seems to be subsisting solely on coffee.

Find It at The Grommet for $25 or on Amazon for $29.

10 Cozy Mugs for Everyone on Your Holiday Gift List

iStock
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

iStock
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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