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Uncommon Goods / Amazon
Uncommon Goods / Amazon

11 Brilliant Gifts for the Hostess

Uncommon Goods / Amazon
Uncommon Goods / Amazon

Sure, you could just buy another bottle of vino. But if you really want to impress that friend known for their Pinterest-worthy fetes, scan this list for a unique gift they’ll want to put on display.

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. NEIGHBORWOODS MAP COASTER; $36

Help your pal raise a glass to their beloved hometown or adopted ‘hood! Representing 14 major cities across the U.S. (plus a few in Europe), each cedar coaster in the set of four is etched with a different section of town and serves as a great conversation starter.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

2. BARREL AGED VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP; $20

Consider it a head start on the morning after breakfast. The organic syrup is aged in barrels normally used for rum or bourbon. And while it likely won’t work in a hair-of-the-dog situation, it does make for a delicious pancake topper.

Find It: Uncommon Goods 

3. SUGARFINA 3-PIECE BENTO BOX; $25

Fill the three slots of this decorative box with a mix of your BFF’s preferred candies—anything from champagne-infused gummy bears to chocolate bacon toffee.

Find It: Sugarfina

4. POETRY MATCH STRIKER; $25

They’ll need a way to fire up all the gingerbread- and Christmas tree-scented candles they’re sure to receive. Help them find the light with this glass, apothecary-style jar filled with 120 four-inch matches (there’s a piece of flint on the side for striking) and printed with an inspiring phrase.

Find it: Uncommon Goods

5. ALTER ECO SEA SALT TRUFFLES; $6

Give ‘em a treat they won’t feel compelled to share with their guests. Made with Ecuadorian dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt, these truffles are the perfect salty-sweet combo.

Find It: Thrive Market

6. JANE BAKES COOKIE JARS; $10

Slaving over homemade Christmas cookies not your thing? Save yourself some time and snag a mason jar of these whole grain, high fiber confections. (Read: They’re slightly healthier.) Choose from flavors such as vanilla bean or coconut and caramel.

Find It: Jane Bakes

7. EVERY PERSON IN NEW YORK; $14

Your bestie will make room for this one on the coffee table. The 408-page tome is packed with thousands of artworks Jason Polan sketched during his mission to draw every person in New York. Former Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig provides the foreword.

Find It: Amazon

8. HOMESICK CANDLES; $30

Provide a scent-sational reminder of their hometown. These soy wax candles (burn time: 60-80 hours) are packed with fragrances reminiscent of each state. New York’s candle has hints of the Adirondack forest, apple orchards, and pumpkin, while Michigan’s has notes of cherries and chocolate.

Find It: Homesick Candles

9. VEGA COFFEE HOLIDAY GIFT BOX; $30

A great buzz: This java is roasted, packaged and shipped from Nicaragua, where climate conditions are ideal for coffee growing. The direct-from-the-farm-to-your-cup setup keeps costs down and helps farmers earn more.

Find It: Vega Coffee

10. STATE SLATE CHEESE BOARDS; $20

Let them serve up that triple crème brie with a side of state pride. You can buy these slate boards—naturally cool to keep the fromage fresh—in the shape of any state or Washington D.C. Or take a stab at unity and buy one shaped like the whole U.S.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

11. VINTAGE BOOKSHELF SCRABBLE; $35

Perfect for your book club host—or just your most verbose pal—this vintage Scrabble game board folds to be stored inside a linen-wrapped book.

Find It: Amazon

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Cost Plus World Market
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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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15 Umbrellas to Keep You Dry
iStock
iStock

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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