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11 Brilliant Gifts Everyone Is Going to Want

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In an age where pretty much anything someone could want is just a couple of mouse clicks away, it’s the rare object of desire that makes you work for it. Here are 11 gifts that you’d better buy while you can, as they’re guaranteed to be some of the year’s hardest-to-find items.

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. NINTENDO NES CLASSIC; $60

Walmart

In what feels like a flashback to the mid-1980s, Nintendo’s newest device is a miniaturized version of the original NES, and comes pre-loaded with 30 of your favorite old-school games—Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., and Punch-Out!! among them. The original controllers, complete with super-short cords that force the player to sit directly in front of the television, are there, too. Another blast from the past: Demand currently far exceeds supply.

Find It: Walmart

2. IPHONE 7/7S; PRICE VARIES

Apple

If it seems as if each holiday season brings a new and improved version of Apple’s iPhone, well, that’s because it almost always does. This year, it’s the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. While they may not look much different from their predecessor at first glance, the upgrades are pretty monumental: The phone itself is both dust- and water-resistant, the camera is much improved—and there are two of them. There are also two speaker grills on the bottom of the phone.

Find It: Apple

3. PEBBLE 2; $131

Given the sheer enormity of choices alone, deciding which smartwatch would best suit the step-counting loved one in your life can be a daunting task. The Pebble 2 makes that decision a no-brainer. Unlike the tech giants who seem to be in constant competition to see who can cram the most new features into a tiny device, Pebble’s approach is much more straightforward, with a user-friendly design and, in the case of its updated version, a state-of-the-art heart monitor that allows you to track your heart rate throughout the day. Offering the functionality of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers, this device is more like a two-in-one.

Find It: Amazon

4. GOOGLE HOME; $129

Walmart

We all love music. But not all of us enjoy the process of getting up and playing DJ when we just want to sit on the couch and shout out our musical requests. This is where Google Home comes in. Like the Amazon Echo, this voice-activated, know-it-all smart speaker is often used for playing music on cue ("OK Google, play 'Ice Ice Baby'"), but its functionality goes far beyond that. Much like Siri, you can use it to issue a whole lot of commands; because the product can be synched with a variety of other services, including YouTube Music, Pandora, and Google Chromecast, you can also make it play your favorite movie on your TV (on a loop if you’d like) and even tap into most smart home technologies—because that thermostat isn’t going to set itself.

Find It: Walmart

5. HATCHIMALS; $50

Whether you know it or not, the favorite kid in your life wants a Hatchimal. Having already been deemed the hottest toy of the 2016 holiday season, there’s a lot of fervor surrounding getting your hands on one—and it’s easy to see why. While the end result is a cute little interactive toy that looks a bit like a penguin, actually getting to see the creature is the payoff: The toy begins its life as an egg that, with encouragement and nurturing from its owner, will hatch. And then will begin to do engage in all sorts of adorable, and increasingly sophisticated behaviors, which replicate the development process. The trick, of course, is finding one.

Find It: Toys “R” Us

6. CONVERSE CHUCK II WATERPROOF MESH BACK; $120

Over the years, Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Stars have found themselves in an array of places, from the professional basketball courts of yesteryear to that organic coffee bar down the street. One area you wanted to be careful with them though: near water… until now. The classic sneaker company’s latest kicks—which feature a mesh-backed upper liner, rubber outsoles to help with traction, and a bit of Neoprene on the inside for both warmth and comfort—are truly an all-weather shoe.

Find It: Converse

7. GOOGLE'S PIXEL AND PIXEL XL; PRICE VARIES

Best Buy

Google’s entrée into the cell phone world couldn’t have come at a better time. For gadget lovers who want to try something other than an iPhone, the Google Pixel offers many similar features, but with the power of Google (and all your info that’s linked to it) at the touch of a button.

Find It: Best Buy

8. SELFIE MIC MUSIC SET; $18

For karaoke enthusiasts who would like to be both heard and seen, the Selfie Mic puts music video stardom just an arm’s length away. All the lucky recipient needs to do is attach his or her camera-ready cell phone to the adjustable selfie stick, grab the microphone, stick in the earpiece, synch the toy up to free app, choose from one (or 100) of the thousands of songs in the catalog, and stat crooning. The app comes equipped with a number of unique filters and effects, so that you can customize the video to the song. Eat your heart out, Taylor Swift.

Find It: Amazon

9. ANKI COZMO; $180

Amazon

Kids don’t need to have watched The Jetsons to know that personal robots are pretty cool. And in the case of Cozmo, really cool. Like something out of a movie or TV series, the toy gets smarter—and more human-like—the more its owner chills out with it. He’s also designed to act emotionally, which means he can get a little cranky if forgotten about. Consider yourself warned.

Find It: Amazon

10. SONY PLAYSTATION VR; $400

Amazon

While Nintendo is going the retro route with its newest console, Sony is hurtling headfirst into the future with its contribution to the growing marketplace for virtual reality devices. For gamers who’ve long wanted to step through the screen that stands between them and their favorite video games, here’s that chance. As long as you don't mind wearing that VR headset, of course.

Find It: Amazon

11. FISHER-PRICE THINK & LEARN CODE-A-PILLAR; $39

Amazon

Wayback in the wayback, kids could entertain themselves for hours by simply pulling a wooden caterpillar along by a string. These days, a similar-looking caterpillar can offer your favorite kids a much more impressive skill set: computer programming. Using colors, sounds, and symbols, the interactive toy encourages little kids to think in big ideas.

Find It: Amazon

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15 Umbrellas to Keep You Dry
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Make rainy days a little more exciting with a quirky umbrella.

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. BANANA; $18.99

banana umbrella
Amazon

This ingenious umbrella comes with a special cover to make it look like you’re lugging around a real banana. The covers come in green and yellow, but the umbrella itself is always yellow.

Find it: Amazon

2. MAGICAL UNICORN; $36.49

Magical Unicorn Umbrella
Amazon

Rainy days don’t have to be dreary with this colorful, pastel umbrella. The handle is elegantly shaped like a unicorn and mane, with its gold horn sitting atop the umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

3. GAME OF THRONES; $37.89

Game of Thrones Longclaw Sword Umbrella
Amazon

If you’re looking for something a little tougher, a Game of Thrones-themed umbrella might be just the thing. The umbrella is adorned with the show's logo and has a special handle that looks like the hilt of Jon Snow’s sword, Longclaw.

Find it: Amazon

4. LETTUCE; $14.88

lettuce umbrella
Amazon

Salad lovers will want to get their hands on this special umbrella, which, when closed, mimics the look of a head of lettuce.

Find it: Amazon

5. CARROT; $15.90

carrot-shaped umbrella
Amazon

For more food-themed umbrella fun, check out this carrot-shaped umbrella. Similarly to the banana version, it comes with a protective case that resembles a carrot. When you take off the top, it reveals an orange umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

6. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR; $25.96

The Very Hungry Caterpillar umbrella
Amazon

For children who love Eric Carle’s creations: a Very Hungry Caterpillar umbrella. The transparent plastic allows the child to see the caterpillar design even when they’re using the umbrella.

Find it: Amazon

7. DOG UMBRELLA; $16.59

Dog Umbrella With Leash
Amazon

Don’t forget about your furry friends when it's raining cats and dogs. While dog rain jackets are adorable, you can also opt for a special umbrella made just for puppers. The handle is situated on top of the umbrella so you can easily hold it above your short companion. It’s also connected to a leash so you don’t have to carry two things at once.

Find it: Amazon

8. SKY; $43.95

umbrella with interior of blue sky dotted with fluffy, white clouds
Amazon

Opening this umbrella will have you seeing sunny skies, even in the rain. Designed by Tibor Kalman and Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, it looks like a plain black umbrella until it’s opened up, revealing its colorful underbelly.

Find it: Amazon

9. STARRY NIGHT; $43.70

umbrella with Vincent van Gogh’s "Starry Night" print
Amazon

If you want something a little more surreal than a boring blue sky, there’s an alternate version with Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night printed on it.

Find it: Amazon

10. CAT IN SPACE; $22.56

cat in space umbrella
Amazon

Strangely, the “cats in space” motif is pretty popular online. From sweaters to calendars, there’s no shortage of felines floating through the galaxy. You can also get an umbrella with the unusual design, because why not?

Find it: Amazon

11. LED UMBRELLA; $23.66

Blade Runner Style LED Umbrella
Amazon

There are a lot of futuristic gadgets in the movie Blade Runner, but some are more obtainable than others. You can actually buy the LED light umbrella seen in the movie. The battery-operated handle glows blue, which both looks cool and keeps you safe at night.

Find it: Amazon

12. BIRDCAGE; $22.99

Birdcage Transparent Clear Dome Umbrella
Amazon

Ever feel like a bird in a cage? Now you can really get that experience with this clear umbrella that looks like a birdcage. It even comes with a bird printed on the side.

Find it: Amazon

13. COLOR CHANGING UMBRELLA; $34

Black umbrella printed with color-changing rain drop design
Amazon

It’s hard to imagine actually getting excited about going out into the rain, but with this special umbrella, you might be watching for dark clouds. The special white ink changes colors when wet, so you can go from a monochrome umbrella to a rainbow one in seconds.

Find it: Amazon

14. RABBIT; €9.03

polka-dot umbrella with a bag that’s shaped like a bunny rabbit
Perletti

This simple red umbrella comes with a nice polka-dot design, but the real novelty is the carrying case. Instead of a regular sleeve, it comes with a zippered bag that’s shaped like a bunny rabbit.

Find it: Perletti

15. KATANA; $28.99

katana umbrella
Amazon

Carrying around an umbrella can be a bit of a pain, but at least you can look cool doing it. When wrapped up, this umbrella looks like a sword slung over your back. The hilt of the katana becomes your handle when you open the umbrella up.

Find it: Amazon

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15 Amazing Notebooks to Inspire You to Write More
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It can be hard to get started writing, but when you're using one of these awesome notebooks, you’ll at least be tempted to jot something down (especially with the right pencil).

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. STAR TREK CAPTAIN’S LOG; $7.95

A lot can happen on a mission, so it’s important to keep a thorough captain’s log to help you remember it all. Trekkies will love writing their notes in this 64-page themed notebook, which is about the size of a passport and slides easily into a pocket.

Find it: Amazon

2. WONDERLAND PASSPORT; $7.95

It's unlikely Alice would have had an easier time exploring Wonderland if she'd had the proper paperwork, but this notebook modeled to look like a passport will please any literary bureaucrats you know.

Find it: Amazon

3. TREE TRUNKS; $9.17

Write down all your most outdoorsy thoughts in these notebooks, which have covers that look like different tree barks—and are textured to feel just like real trees. The 96-page books are made with FSC certified wood and recycled paper.

Find it: Amazon

4. LEFTYBOOKS; €9.50

Most of the notebooks designed for lefties are pretty basic. Not Leftybooks, which are made specifically with left-handed people in mind and are plenty of fun, too: Writers can choose from covers with fun designs like marble, feathers, cereal, and more.

Find it: Imborrable

5. MICROWAVEABLE BOOKS; $23.57

Your mother probably told you not to put non-food items in the microwave, but we’re here to tell you to put your notebook in there—or at least this one specific kind. The Rocketbook is a handy notepad that’s reusable: After filling it with notes and doodles taken with a Pilot FriXion pen, pop the notebook in the microwave. When the pen's ink hits 140°F, it turns invisible, rendering the the pages clean and ready for another use. You can microwave the notebook up to five times before you have to get a new one. Writers who want to keep their notes can download an accompanying app that will send your notes to the cloud service of your choice.

Find it: Amazon

6. TABLE TENNIS NOTEBOOKS; $20

When you have this set of notebooks, you and a friend can play table tennis anywhere. Two books act as paddles—they even have textured rubber on their covers, just like actual paddles—while the third book serves as the net. There’s also a scorecard on the inside of the books to keep track of your games, plus 100 pages in each for recording tactics and strategies.

Find it: Amazon

7. ETCH-A-SKETCH; $13.49

This may seem like an ordinary Etch-a-Sketch, but it’s really a notebook in disguise. Open it up and discover 200 blank, unlined pages waiting to be filled. The two white dials are secretly erasers, since shaking it won’t work this time.

Find it: Amazon

8. LENTICULAR MARIO BROTHERS; $7.61

The lenticular cover of this notebook features everyone’s favorite Koopa-killing plumber; Mario jumps up to activate a question mark block as you open and close the book. Inside, you can find 200 lined pages with grey illustrations along the bottom.

Find it: Amazon

9. R2-D2; $11.99

R2-D2 notebook
ThinkGeek

Jot down your screenplay ideas in this officially-licensed i>Star Wars R2-D2 Journal. The end papers are decorated with even more R2, and there are 240 unlined pages waiting to be filled.

Find it: ThinkGeek

10. COLORING BOOK NOTEBOOK; $21.95

If you hit a wall while writing, take a coloring break—and with this fun notebook, you don’t even have to change books when you make the switch. The hardcover book lies flat when you open it, making it easier to color every inch of the 50 pages that feature illustrations (the notebook has 176 total pages).

Find it: Coloring Notebook

11. DECOMPOSITION; VARIOUS PRICES

Decomposition Notebooks are a lot like regular notebooks, but these are made with recycled paper—and they’re absolutely adorable. The fun designs vary from dinosaurs to feline cosmonauts. Each book is made with soy-ink and contains no chlorine, so it can be recycled again.

Find it: Amazon

12. RAINBOW PAGES; FROM $28.45

Your notes will look beautiful when jotted down on pastel paper—especially when that paper is also handbound in colorful leather. The 120-page A6 journal can be purchased with either lined or blank sheets.

Find it: Etsy

13. SUSHI CATS; $5.99

When picking out just the right notebook, why not choose one covered in sushi cats? You can even get matching puffy sushi cat stickers to put on it.

Find it: Amazon

14. LEGO MOLESKINE; $17.92

If you love building with LEGO bricks, pick up this Moleskine notebook. The black hardcover comes with a fancy LEGO design and a real LEGO plate. Inside, you can find two sheets of LEGO stickers.

Find it: Amazon

15. INSPIRATION PAD; €11

Created by a Brussels-based design and advertising firm, this notebook is meant to break the norm of traditionally lined paper. The Inspiration Pad features a different pattern on each page: You can watch as the lines warp and shift in spirals, slopes, and waves. The notebooks are available in yellow, brown, or blue and can be shipped internationally.

Find it: TM Shop

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