11 Brilliant Gifts for the Teacher in Your Life

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iStock

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.

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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. The Art of Caramel

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—a 2016 Dime Red Blend from Sonoma, California. Give it to one teacher who really needs a break, or split up the flavors and hand them out to several teachers.

Find It at Winc for $50.

3. Library Card Tote Bag

This cotton tote bag lets the wearer proclaim their love of reading and nostalgia for 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 at Uncommon Goods for $20.

4. Personalized Moleskine Notebooks

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 at Moleskine for $20 and up.

5. Hot Chocolate Sticks

Three hot chocolate sticks
Amazon

Available in dark, milk, and white chocolate flavors, these hot chocolate sticks are a great no-fuss treat for busy teachers. All they have to do is swirl one around in hot milk for one or two minutes to make delicious hot chocolate. The six-pack gift box has two of each flavor and comes wrapped in a brown bow.

Find It at Amazon for $14 and at these other retailers:

6. Percy The Pencil Porcupine

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 at Uncommon Goods for $19 and at these other retailers:

7. Classroom Supply Pack

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 at Amazon for $40.

8. Great Quotes from Great Leaders Boxed Calendar

Great Quotes for Great Leaders Calendar
Amazon

Bring some inspiration to the classroom by gifting your teacher this 2019 calendar. Each day of the year features a different quote from one of the world’s foremost leaders and thinkers, from Mahatma Gandhi to Thomas Jefferson to Queen Victoria. They’ll hopefully learn something new, and their students will, too.

Find It at Amazon for $7.

9. 2019 Wildwood Planner

Front cover of the planner
Rifle Paper Co

A brand new planner is a great way to get a fresh start. Help your teacher gear up for 2019 with this beautifully crafted planner, which features a floral pattern on the cover and gold-colored accents throughout. It’s filled with inspirational quotes, a pocket in the back, and perhaps most excitingly, three sheets of stickers.

Find It at Rifle Paper and Co. for $34 and at these other retailers:

10. Fund A Classroom Project

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 at DonorsChoose.org.

11. Amazon Gift Card

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 at Amazon.

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.

11 Brilliant Gifts $10 and Up

iStock
iStock

This year, rock Secret Santa with ease. These 11 budget-friendly ideas are ideal for stocking stuffers, gift exchanges, and last-minute presents.

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. Bomioli Rocco Selecta Decanter

whiskey decanter
Amazon

Even those with the most discerning taste will appreciate this affordable, Italian-made decanter with matching stopper. Its elaborate cut-glass pattern gives an air of sophistication to any whiskey of choice and it's even dishwasher-safe.

Find It at Amazon for $13 and also at these other retailers:

2. Square Jellyfish Micro Tripod

Banish blurry photos and shaky video with this foldable tripod. The lightweight gadget is compatible with smartphones, mini tablets, and small cameras—and is perfect for the person who's constantly capturing moments on the go.

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

3. Craft Beer Pretzel Mix Trio

craft beer pretzel mix
Uncommon Goods

An appetizing plan: Just add beer to this mix to create soft, salty pretzels in less than an hour. Include a beloved brew alongside this gift to really show you care. According to the markers, darker beers will create a heartier dough while lighter beers will add more of a citrus taste.

Find It at UncommonGoods for $25.

4. Tree In A Box

This tree kit includes everything your loved one will need to show off their green thumb, including a packet of tree seeds, a biodegradable peat pot, nutrient soil pellet, and a how-to guide packed with simple-to-follow steps. There are plenty of tree options available from sycamore to ponderosa pine.

Find It at Tree In A Box for $6.

5. Oliver Champagne Cork Appetizer Plate

Serve up festive appetizer plates to your favorite holiday hostess. Each microwave-safe dish features a mixed-media illustration, like the one above which shows a stick figure marching with a champagne cork hat and toothpick baton.

Find It at CB2 for $3.

6. Sakura Blossom Bar Soap

Give the gift of relaxation. Apple, citrus, and heliotrope create a calming combination, and best of all, this soap is vegan and cruelty-free.

Find It at Soap & Paper for $8.

7. "French Picnic" Salt Blend

Ocean salt combined with mustard, garlic, and herbs makes this artisanal blend a must-have in any foodie’s kitchen. Sprinkle the homemade mix over veggies or chicken to transport taste buds to France. Other available options include the Magic Unicorn blend (salt, paprika, rosemary, and garlic) and Hot Steve (salt, cayenne, chipotle, orange, garlic, and smoked paprika).

Find It at Etsy for $8.

8. The Tocca Try-It Kit

Shopping for a fickle fashionista can be tricky, so hedge your bets and give them four perfume options in this sampler kit from TOCCA. Each scent has its own signature mix with personality, from Emelia’s fruity zest of clementine and fig to Florence’s sophisticated florals of jasmine and iris.

Find It at Birchbox for $7.

9. BB-8 Droid Coin Bank

Perfect for the Star Wars fan in your life, this ceramic bank is shaped like the BB-8 droid from The Force Awakens. The slot in the back makes saving for a rainy day easy, and all the painted details turn this bank into a fantastic addition to any Star Wars collection.

Find It at Amazon for $10.

10. Toaster Grilled Cheese Bags

College kids and cheese sandwich-enthusiasts can up their grilled cheese game with these toaster bags. Slide a sandwich or leftover pizza slice into one of these bags and pop it in the toaster. The gooey contents are protected from becoming a burnt mess, thanks to the bags’ Teflon coating. Each bag is dishwasher-safe and lasts for 50 grilled cheese sandwiches.

Find It at UncommonGoods or $10.

11. Funko's Pop! TV Figures

Help a friend or family member honor another year of standout television with these mini figurines. The collection includes characters from The Flash, The Walking Dead, Golden Girls, Game of Thrones (like Daenerys Targaryen, pictured above), and more.

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

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