11 Gifts For the History Buff

iStock
iStock

From ancient recipes to storied war ships, these 11 gifts will make the past come alive for your favorite history buff this holiday season.

1. USS CONSTITUTION MODEL SHIP; $400

USS Constitution Model Ship, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution became famous when it defeated the British warship HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812. This fatal battle earned the vessel the nickname of "Old Ironsides," as shots appeared to rebound off its hull. The USS Constitution is still intact to this day, and is considered the oldest U.S. warship still in commission. Fans of the boat can visit it in Boston, or keep this fully assembled 30-inch wooden model on their desks.

Find It: The New York Times Store

2. BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN SIGNATURE BACKPACK; $50

Because Of Them We Can Signature Backpack
Because of Them We Can

Help your giftee pay homage to pioneering civil rights leaders with this backpack emblazoned with the first names of figures like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, and more. It comes equipped with a laptop pouch, a mesh zip pocket, a key pouch, and a back notebook pocket.

Find It: Because of Them We Can

3. KING SOLOMON'S TABLE: A CULINARY EXPLORATION OF JEWISH COOKING FROM AROUND THE WORLD; $24

"King Solomon's Table" by Joan Nathan
Courtesy of Pantheon Books

King Solomon's Table by Joan Nathan provides more than 170 historic Jewish recipes from around the globe, ranging from classic Yemenite Chicken Soup to modern takes on dishes like shakshuka.

Find It: Amazon

4. MEAD MAKING KIT; $55

Mead Making Kit, sold by Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Your giftee's next soiree will rival the drinking halls of Medieval Europe with this make-your-own mead kit. It includes instructions, ingredients, and basic equipment that can be reused to make multiple batches.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL DAY BOOK; $130

Special Day Book, sold by The New York Times Store

The New York Times Store

This personalized book by the New York Times lets purchasers remember an important day in their lives by reading what the world was like during that time. It contains New York Times headlines, photographs, advertisements, and articles from any date from 1851 onwards.

Find It: The New York Times

6. DEAD FEMINISTS: HISTORIC HEROINES IN LIVING COLOR; $17

"Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color" by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring
Courtesy of Sasquatch Books

History also includes plenty of "hers." Dead Feminists by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring profiles 27 influential female figures whose actions changed the world, like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Find It: Amazon

7. PRESIDENTIAL SOAP COLLECTION; $22

This Caswell-Massey soap collection allows bathers to suds up like American leaders. It includes George Washington's Number Six soap, Eisenhower's almond cold cream hand soap, and Jockey Club men's bath soap, rumored to have been a favorite of John F. Kennedy.

Find It: Amazon

8. DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP RING; $170


Digby & Iona

War of 1812 buffs can wear history on their hands with this signet ring by Brooklyn jewelry studio Digby & Iona. It's engraved with the slogan "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," which Captain James Lawrence of the United States frigate Chesapeake allegedly uttered with his dying breath during a bloody 1813 sea skirmish against the British frigate Shannon.

Find It: Digby & Iona

9. HISTORY OF ART T-SHIRT; $28

History of Art T-Shirt, sold by the MoMA Design Store
MoMA Design Store

This pre-shrunk T-shirt's design uses smiley faces to simplify hundreds of years of art history into a chronological timeline. Each smiley is designed in the style of various famous artists, many of whose works are featured in the MoMA's collections.

Find It: MoMA Design Store

10. AMERICAN SEAFOOD: HERITAGE, CULTURE & COOKERY FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA; $25

"American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea" by Barton Seaver
Courtesy of Amazon

Your favorite history buff can explore the history of North American commercial seafood by cooking their way through Barton Seaver’s American Seafood. It lists the main characteristics of various types of fish, along with how to prep each one, while also providing an overview of their culinary legacy.

Find It: Amazon

11. PERSONALIZED PRINT OF A FAMILY HEIRLOOM; $450

A personalized print of a family heirloom typewriter by The Heirloomist
The Heirloomist

Thanks to still life photographer Shana Novak, nobody has to squabble over Grandpa's heirlooms. The New York-based shutterbug runs a business called The Heirloomist, which celebrates family history by photographing treasured relics and transforming them into large-scale works of art. Prints can be matted and framed, or delivered sans decorative casing.

Find It: The Heirloomist

Unlock Every Flavor Note in Your Morning Coffee With This Elegant Hand-Blown Glass

AVENSI
AVENSI

Even if you can’t match every single glass with the specific type of alcohol you’re supposed to drink out of it, you can probably at least spot the difference between a wine glass, martini glass, Champagne flute, and beer stein. Why, then, in a society so enamored with coffee, do we not afford the same level of care toward our coffee cups?

The inventors behind the AVENSI coffee glassware line want to prove to you that drinking your morning bean juice out of any old mug or paper cup is drastically affecting the taste, aroma, and overall experience of coffee, though you might not realize it.

Avensi coffee glass
AVENSI

They’ve adjusted glass shape, wall curvature, thickness, lip flare, rim diameter, bowl-to-rim ratio, and volume to devise the ultimate hand-blown glass for enhancing coffee’s diverse flavor properties, which you can further unlock by swirling the coffee around your glass to aerate and oxidize it—just like you would with a nice pinot noir. The ultra-thin rim is 60 percent thinner than a regular coffee cup, so each sip will flow across your palate like a gentle wave, and the hybrid thermal wall will keep coffee at your desired temperature for much longer than your regular paper or porcelain container without burning your hands.

The AVENSI glasses were developed and tested by an impressive array of world champion coffee experts, scientists, roasters, shop owners, and sensory experts across more than 30 countries. But you definitely don’t have to have an extensive background in the art and science of coffee to appreciate the subtleties of drinking it; the AVENSI glass delivers the perfect experience, and all you need to do is trust your senses.

There are three versions of the 14-ounce glass—Vida, Senti, and Alto—each slightly varied in shape and pairing recommendations. The tulip-shaped Vida goes well with sweet, well-rounded, and chocolatey coffee, the Senti has a wide diameter that maximizes aroma and pairs best with nutty, earthy, and caramel beans, and the hourglass Alto is ideal for fruity light roasts.

You can start with two Vida glasses for $45 on Kickstarter, or check out other buying options here.

If you’re wondering what else you should be doing to maximize your coffee experience, don't drink it as soon as you wake up, and invest in a good grinder.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

This Alarm Clock Makes You Chase It Down to Get You Out of Bed

Clocky the Alarm, YouTube
Clocky the Alarm, YouTube

Even self-proclaimed morning people sometimes struggle to rouse themselves from the warm abyss of deep-stage sleep. This, of course, can result in a series of haphazard jabs at your snooze button until you’re really running late, or the universally dreaded failure to ever hear your alarm go off in the first place. Meet Clocky, the nightstand pet designed to rescue you from all of your alarm-clock issues and anxieties.

Clocky is a rambunctious, responsible alarm clock who will perform a number of irksome yet effective antics to get you up and at ’em. First of all, he’s very, very loud, so you’re sure to be jolted from even the most corpse-like slumber. Then, he’ll roll away from wherever you’ve left him, continuing to emit a variety of noises while you’re forced to chase him down in order to curtail the cacophony. He can survive a three-foot fall, so you can station him atop your nightstand, and he’ll bounce right down the stairs, too, if that’s what it takes to get you moving. (He won’t, however, brew your morning coffee for you … but this alarm clock will.)

Clocky the alarm clock
Amazon

You can customize the snooze settings based on your preferences. Clocky’s default is to have the snooze button disabled, meaning that he’ll zoom away as soon as the alarm goes off. If you’re a little more forgiving of your own “just five more minutes” habit, you can choose for Clocky to let you hit the snooze button once, twice, or more before he rolls away—and you can also set the length of time your snoozes will last.

Sometimes you really do deserve to flake on sunrise yoga and burrow farther into your covers for an extra hour or two, so feel free to disable Clocky’s runaway feature before mornings when you’re planning to play it by ear.

You can purchase Clocky for $40 from Amazon.

Wondering how people ever woke up on time without fancy gadgets like Clocky to help them? Find out here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER