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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Teacher in Your Life

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Few people play such an important role in young lives (and parents’ lives) as teachers. Whether they lead kindergarten or university classes, educators work tirelessly to serve their pupils—and don’t always get rewarded as well as they should. Give back this holiday season with gifts that are (mostly) classroom ready.

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. A THANK YOU NOTE; FREE

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Sometimes the best things in life don’t cost anything at all. Let your favorite teacher know how much they’re appreciated with a hand-written note. Chances are, they don’t hear it enough.

2. ART OF CARAMEL X DIME 100; $65

This sweet and salty gift box includes four different flavors of caramel corn, like Kentucky Bourbon Black Pepper and Honey Graham. Each flavor is designed to accompany the bottle of wine included, the Bordeaux-style 2015 DIME 100 red blend. Give it to one teacher who really needs a break, or split up the flavors between multiple teachers.

Find It: Winc

3. LIBRARY CARD TOTE BAG; $20

This cotton tote bag lets the wearer proclaim their love of reading and nostalgia for the analog catalog systems. It has a useful little pocket inside to keep keys or a cell phone accessible and it's perfect for carrying home heavy textbooks or lesson-plan binders.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

4. PERSONALIZED MOLESKINE NOTEBOOKS; $19 - $25 EACH

Taking down notes and making to-do lists can be a personal activity, and these notebooks reflect that. For an extra $5, they can be personalized with any text (up to 12 characters), giving you the opportunity to emboss them with a brief thank you note or the recipient’s name.

Find It: Moleskine

5. ALTER ECO SEA SALT TRUFFLES; $6

Sustainable, ethically sourced foodstuffs let you give delicious treats with no guilt. The dark chocolate in these gluten-free, organic truffles comes from Ecuador, and the sea salt from Guérande, France. They’re certified Fair Trade and are 90 percent cocoa.

Find It: Thrive

6. PERCY THE PENCIL PORCUPINE; $19

This porcupine-shaped pencil holder is both utilitarian and whimsical, letting your favorite educator show some desktop flair. It’s made from glazed clay and stands about 4 inches tall, with room to hold more than a dozen pencils.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

7. CLASSROOM SUPPLY PACK; $20 AND UP

Some teachers need classroom supplies more than they need trinkets and holiday sweets. Amazon’s classroom supply pack bundles together basics like pencils, art paper, notebooks, facial tissue, hand sanitizer, and glue sticks. Even if your favorite educator doesn’t need a new pair of scissors for their classroom, one of their deserving students might.

Find It: Amazon

8. JOTBLOCK; $15

With so many subjects, schedules, and student names to keep in their heads, you could forgive a teacher for being a little absentminded. Jotblock is both a desk organizer and notebook pad in one, and includes two pens, gold paper clips, and binder clips, ending the scourge of having to hunt down a pen to take down that latest thought or phone number.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

9. JANE BAKES; $8

Not your typical holiday cookies: These treats from Jane Bakes are low in sugar and high in fiber—but don't taste like it—so you won’t be adding too many sweets to a teacher’s already full pile. The mason jar containers give the cookies a more elevated vibe than traditional boxes.

Find It: Jane Bakes

10. FUND A CLASSROOM PROJECT; PRICE VARIES

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you really want to help out a classroom, give some cash to a local project on DonorsChoose.org, a site that allows schools and educators to crowdfund classroom projects. Help purchase computers or printers for the classroom, sound systems for dance classes, standard classroom materials, and more.

Find It: DonorsChoose.org

11. AMAZON GIFT CARD; PRICE VARIES

If you don’t know exactly what kind of supplies a classroom needs, leave it up to the teacher in question by giving an Amazon gift card. Whether they’re looking to fund an art project or just buy basic supplies for kids, they’ll be able to put the money to good use.

Find It: Amazon

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19 Unusual Socks for Snazzy Feet
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iStock

Kick it in one of these pairs of cool socks.

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. ART; $15.99

Make your feet a canvas with these artsy socks. This set of eight pairs features classics including van Gogh's Starry Night and Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Find it: Amazon

2. BOB ROSS; $12

Look at all those happy little trees! It's impossible not to smile while wearing these Bob Ross socks.

Find it: Amazon

3. ALIEN VISITOR; $11.50

I want to believe—in fancy footwear. These alien socks are perfect for Ufologists and other conspiracy theorists who always have an eye on the sky.

Find it: Amazon

4. SHARK CREW SOCKS; FROM $10.98

shark socks
Amazon

These fun socks make it look like sharks are eating your feet.

Find it: Amazon

5. TAPATIO; $10

These socks are hot! Just like the hot sauce they show.

Find it: Amazon

6. LIBRARY CARD; $10.25

Out of Print makes a variety of book-themed products for bibliophiles—and, even better, they donate one book for each pair of socks purchased. This particular pair looks like the library cards you might have found in libraries back in the day.

Find it: Amazon

7. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE; $10

Here's another excellent selection from Out of Print. This pair of socks is dedicated to Where the Wild Things Are. The bottoms say "Let the Wild / Rumpus Start."

Find it: Out of Print

8. STUDIO GHIBLI; $12.50

Lovers of the films by Studio Ghibli will get a kick out of these striped socks. Each pair features a scene from a different movie: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Howl's Moving Castle.

Find it: Amazon

9. HELLO PUPPY DOGS; $12.95

These adorable socks have polka dots and giant dog faces on the front. Each pair comes with floppy ears that peek over the edge of the socks. The breeds include what looks like a Pomeranian, a Boston terrier, and a French bulldog.

Find it: Amazon

10. EINSTEIN; $12

These are the perfect socks to wear while filling up a blackboard with equations. The pair comes with a picture of Einstein sporting some cool shades.

Find it: Amazon

11. CONSTELLATIONS; $11.50

These fun socks feature a few constellations, including Ursa Minor and Orion.

Find it: Amazon

12. DOCTOR WHO; $14.95

Doctor Who Tardis Women's Knee High Socks
Jet

Doctor Who fans are going to want to get their hands on these knee high TARDIS socks.

Find it: Jet

13. POKEMON; $2.42

Pokemon Ankle Socks
AliExpress

Show off your love of Pokemon with Pikachu, Charmander, Psyduck, and Squirtle socks.

Find it: AliExpress

14. SAILOR MOON; $9.99

Defend the world against evil in the name of the Moon, with these Sailor socks. The pack of six comes with Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Jupiter, and Chibiusa.

Find it: Amazon

15. THE LITTLE PRINCE; $10.25

According to the pilot in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic book The Little Prince, the titular character probably hitches a ride off of his planet (B-612) and across the universe on a flock of birds. These Out of Print socks depict the pilot's drawing of the Little Prince taking to the skies.

Find it: Amazon

16. PENCILS; $10

Pencils are key for crosswords, drawings, and jotting down important notes. Celebrate the beloved writing utensil with these incredible socks.

Find it: Amazon

17. STORM TROOPER; $25

Stormtrooper socks
Buckle

These cool socks look just like Storm Troopers from the Star Wars franchise. They fit shoe sizes 9–12.

Find it: Buckle

18. SUSHI; $19.99

Sushi socks
Amazon

At first, this looks like a plush platter of sushi. When you unravel the "food," you'll discover it's actually two pairs of socks rolled to look like salmon and cucumber sushi.

Find it: Amazon

19. LEGO; $12

LEGO socks
Lord & Taylor

Stepping on LEGO bricks hurts, so protect yourself! We recommend this pair of LEGO-themed socks, plus a pair of slippers for good measure.

Find it: Lord & Taylor

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18 Tea Infusers to Make Teatime More Exciting
Cost Plus World Market
Cost Plus World Market

Make steeping tea more fun with these quirky tea infusers.

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. SOAKING IT UP; $7.49

man-shaped tea infuser
Amazon

That mug of hot water might eventually be a drink for you, but first it’s a hot bath for your new friend, who has special pants filled with tea.

Buy on Amazon.

2. A FLYING TEA BOX; $25.98

There’s no superlaser on this Death Star, just tea.

Buy on Amazon.

3. SPACE STATION; $9.99

astronaut tea infuser
ThinkGeek

This astronaut's mission? Orbit the rim of your mug until you're ready to pull the space station diffuser out.

Buy on ThinkGeek.

4. BE REFINED; $12.99

This pipe works best with Earl Grey.

Buy on Amazon.

5. A RIBBITING OPTION; $10.93

This frog hangs on to the side of your mug with a retractable tongue. When the tea is ready, you can put him back on his lily pad.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ‘TEA’ ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE; $5.95

It’s just like the movie, only with tea instead of Beatles.

Buy on Amazon.

7. SHARK ATTACK; $6.99

shark tea infuser
Cost Plus World Market

This fearsome shark patrols the bottom of your mug waiting for prey. For extra fun, use red tea to look like the end of a feeding frenzy.

Buy at Cost Plus World Market.

8. PERFECT FOR A RAINY DAY; $12.40

This umbrella’s handle conveniently hooks to the side of your mug.

Buy on Amazon.

9. AN EGGCELLENT INFUSER; $5.75

cracked egg tea infuser
Amazon

Sometimes infusers are called tea eggs, and this one takes the term to a new, literal level.

Buy on Amazon.

10. FOR SQUIRRELY DRINKERS; $8.95

If you’re all right with a rodent dunking its tail into your drink, this is the infuser for you.

Buy on Amazon.

11. HANGING OUT; $12.85

This pug is happy to hang onto your mug and keep you company while you wait for the tea to be ready.

Buy on Amazon.

12. ANOTHER SHARK OPTION; $5.99

If you thought letting that other shark infuser swim around in the deep water of your glass was too scary, this one perches on the edge, too busy chomping on your mug to worry about humans.

Buy on Amazon.

13. RUBBER DUCKIE, YOU’RE THE ONE; $8.95

Let this rubber duckie peacefully float in your cup and make teatime lots of fun.

Buy on Amazon.

14. DIVING DEEP; $8.25

This old-timey deep-sea diver comes with an oxygen tank that you can use to pull it out.

Buy on Amazon.

15. MAKE SWEET TEA; $10

This lollipop won't actually make your tea any sweeter, but you can always add some sugar after.

Buy on Amazon.

16. A SEASONAL FAVORITE; $7.67

When Santa comes, give him some tea to go with the cookies.

Buy on Amazon.

17. FLORAL TEA; $14.99

Liven up any cup of tea with this charming flower. When you’re done, you can pop it right back into its pot.

Buy on Live Infused.

18. KEEP IT TRADITIONAL; $7.97

If you’re nostalgic for the regular kind of tea bag, you can get reusable silicon ones that look almost the same.

Buy on Amazon.

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