11 Thoughtful Gifts for Secret Santa and White Elephant Exchanges

UncommonGoods
UncommonGoods

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.

1. Bourbon-Infused Coffee; $20

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.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

2. Bento 3-in-1 Splash Box; $35

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.

Buy It: Amazon

3. 21-Piece Convenience Kit; $19

convenience travel kit
Convenience Kits/Amazon

This travel kit will save time, money, and suitcase space for one lucky gift recipient this holiday season—not only does it include all the classics (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.), it even includes moisturizing lotion, shaving cream, a razor, earplugs, and more.

Buy It: Amazon

4. "Movies" Jigsaw Puzzle; $16

movie jigsaw puzzle
White Mountain/Amazon

Odds are that your favorite movie, be it Shrek (2001), Taxi Driver (1976), or something else, is represented on this expansive 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Not only is it fun to assemble, it'll likely spark a lively conversation about people's opinions of all the films.

Buy It: Amazon

5. Italian Cheese-making Kit; $25

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 cheese-making experience necessary.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

6. Jam Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker; $21

jam hang up portable shower bluetooth speaker
Jam/Amazon

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.

Buy It: Amazon

7. Liquid-Free Screen Cleaner; $20

liquid-free screen cleaner
SKT Productions/Amazon

Since virtually everyone has a smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop on them at all times, this tiny, portable screen cleaner is a must-have to wipe away smudges and fingerprints—you might even want to buy an extra for yourself.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker; $16

tile mate bluetooth tracker
Tile Mate/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.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Homesick Books-Scented Library Candle; $30

homesick library candle
Homesick/Amazon

The "Library" 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 that help recreate the unmistakable scent of a good book.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Chocolate-Covered Snowman Oreos; $15

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.

Buy It: Amazon

11. Ulla Hydration Reminder Bottle Attachment; $28

ulla hydration reminder bottle attachment
Ulla/Amazon

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.

Buy It: Amazon

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!

Turn a Handwritten Family Recipe Into a Touching Kitchen Keepsake

LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy
LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy

The yellowing, food-splattered note card on which your grandmother’s secret spaghetti sauce recipe is written will only last so long, and taking a photo or typing it up doesn’t quite have the same effect. Luckily, crafters have come up with creative ways to transform those cherished family recipes into keepsakes that not only last much longer, but also make heartfelt gifts for all your favorite relatives.

The Etsy shop LaserFocusedCrafts, as Simplemost reports, will engrave your recipe onto a bamboo, cherry, or maple cutting board. Prices range from $30 for an 8-inch-by-6-inch board to $75 for a 14-inch-by-11-inch board, and it’s up to the recipient to decide whether they’d like to actually use their gift or hang it on their kitchen wall for guests to admire.

If you feel like you’ve already reached your gift-giving quota for personalized cutting boards at bridal showers and birthday parties in the past, there are plenty of other objects on Etsy waiting to be emblazoned with the evidence of your nana’s culinary prowess. EmmaAndTheBeanHOME will inscribe a recipe on a white tea towel for $24, and BmoreCreative410 will put one on a pot holder for $25.

customized recipe tea towel
EmmaAndTheBeanHOME, Etsy

For $40.50, you can order an apron with the recipe from zoeysattic. The apron itself is white, but you can customize the color of the ink, if, for example, Grandma always wrote her recipes with a special green pen. For an item that’ll withstand many generations’ worth of use, we recommend zehrdesignco’s $66 recipe plate.

customized recipe plate
zehrdesignco, Etsy

If you don’t exactly have a long legacy of delicious family recipes, it’s never too late to get cooking. Start off easy with the world’s best pasta sauce or one-pot chicken noodle soup.

[h/t Simplemost]

Find Your Next Outdoor Adventure With This Scratch-Off National Parks Poster

Newverest
Newverest

Whether you’re a devoted thru-hiker, day-hiker, or a casual nature observer, America’s National Park system has something for everyone to enjoy, from wildlife to natural wonders ripe for exploration. And now one Kickstarter campaign is looking to bring your love of the parks into your home with this unique piece of wall art.

The U.S. National Parks scratch-off poster from Newverest will not only inspire your next hiking endeavor, but can help you keep track of your travels as well. If you pledge now, you can receive a copy of the poster for $25, and for $49, you can get the poster and a frame. 

A scratch-off national parks poster on the wall
Newverest

There are 60 different parks on this poster—which is available in black or white—that are represented by colorful illustrations created by local artists. When the poster arrives, though, the illustrations will be grayed-out. It's up to you to scratch them off as you visit the parks, revealing the full-color art underneath. "Think of the national parks scratch-off poster as your bucket list of National Parks,” the company says on its campaign page.

When you purchase a poster, you’ll also receive a metal mediator scratch-off tool, a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe away any residue, adhesive stickers for easy hanging, and 62 cards that feature a hand-drawn scene of each park, along with interesting facts about them. For instance, on the Sequoia and Kings Canyon card, you’ll learn the park is home to the largest sequoia trees in the world, whereas the Arches National Park card lets the reader know the territory is home to over 2000 arches.

Scratch-off National Parks poster
Newverest

Newverest, founded in 2017, isn’t new to the poster game: The company also makes U.S. and global scratch-off maps. Alongside helping plan trips, the company hopes their newest poster will educate kids and adults alike about the beauty of the parks and why they should be preserved.

With $3257 raised, Newverest is still working to reach its $10,000 goal. But you can help bring the project to life until February 21 by heading 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!

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