11 Gifts That Don't Require Wrapping

Bean Box/Amazon
Bean Box/Amazon

When the holidays sneak up on you, there's barely enough time to prepare for get-togethers, let alone assemble gifts. If you’re tight on time—or just want to save on wrapping paper—take a look at 11 Christmas gifts you won’t need to wrap.

1. Playstation Plus: 12 Month Membership; $59

A PlayStation Plus advertisement is pictured
Amazon

Give the gift of annihilating productivity all year with this 12-month subscription to the PlayStation Plus online gaming portal. Alongside enjoying a rotating selection of titles, gamers can also enjoy multiplayer sessions and exclusive deals on games.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Amazon Prime Membership; $119

Amazon Prime shipping boxes are pictured
Amazon

The benefits of Prime are considerable, so in reality this present is like many gifts in one. Some perks Prime members can enjoy are free two-day shipping, a vast library of streaming content, Kindle reads, free PC games via Twitch, and other special deals. You can send the membership right to your gift recipient’s inbox, so no paper required.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Wine Cork States; $35

The Wine Cork States display from Uncommon Goods is pictured
Uncommon Goods

Whether celebrating with a bottle for a special occasion or just enjoying a day like any other, wine lovers can now keep corks with sentimental value thanks to this wall-mountable board. It’s a bit too unwieldy to wrap, but slipping it into a gift bag will make sure it stays a surprise until it’s time to exchange presents.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

4. Infloatables; $17

A whale made by Infloatables is pictured
Amazon

If you have a fan of plush toys on your list, Infloatables make for a simple gift, because each one comes pre-wrapped in a gift bag. Choose from a whale or an elephant, both of which come with a dry-erase patch to write a personalized message. Or you can pick between a llama and a penguin, which don't come with the patch but do have their own unique accessories, like a blanket for the llama and earmuffs and a scarf for the penguin.

Buy It: Amazon

5. Pizza Socks; $26

A box of Pizza Socks is pictured
Amazon

Let your gift recipient think you’ve ordered them a pizza by handing them this delivery box. When they open it, they'll be greeted by three pairs of pizza-themed socks with different “toppings,” such as pepperoni, capricciosa, Italian, Hawaiian, and vegetarian, as well as one pair that looks like the fluffy crust.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Paper Bag Recycling Bin; $58

The Paper Bag Recycling Bin from Uncommon Goods is pictured
Uncommon Goods

In this case, the bag is the gift. Coming in white or black and made from 100 percent recycled plastic, this bag-shaped bin looks unobtrusive and gives users a place to put their recyclables.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Quiet Courage Necklace; $52

The Quiet Courage Necklace from Uncommon Goods is pictured
Uncommon Goods

This sterling silver charm necklace can help wearers remind themselves to pursue a positive mindset. Handmade and coming in its own attractive gift box, this piece isn't only easy to give as a gift, but it also comes with a card that explains the meaning behind each stone.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

8. Fire Escape Shelf; $99

The Fire Escape Shelf from Uncommon Goods is pictured
Uncommon Goods

Surprise your gift recipient by installing this decorative shelf that resembles a fire escape. The 25-inch-tall shelf can hold plants, candles, photos, or anything else you’d like to display.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

9. Bean Box Three-Month Coffee Subscription; $68

The Bean Box coffee subscription box is pictured
Amazon

Indulge the caffeine fiend in your life with this subscription box that remits a variety of fresh Seattle coffee to their doorstep each month. Recipients get four blends with each box, and you can choose from a variety of roasts including dark, decaf, espresso, and more.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Personalized Record Doormat; $35

The Personalized Record Doormat from Uncommon Goods is pictured
Uncommon Goods

Take the vinyl lover in your life for a spin with this customizable 23-inch doormat that resembles a record. Alongside the recipient's name, you can add the title of a real or fictional album on the label.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

11. Amazon Gift Card Reveal; $15 and Up

The Amazon Gift Card Reveal Box is pictured
Amazon

Gift cards don’t always make a big splash during gift exchanges, but they’re often the best choice for people who prefer to do their own shopping. With this gift box reveal from Amazon, the card is presented when the recipient pulls on the top.

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!

Rosetta Stone Is Offering Up to Half Off Language-Learning Software for Black Friday

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone

It’s no secret that learning another language has numerous benefits. But if going back to school and memorizing lists of vocabulary isn't an option—or something you particularly want to do—you can turn to Rosetta Stone, which now offers subscriptions to their language-learning software. And through November 27, language enthusiasts can take advantage of the company's Black Friday deals and receive up to half off Rosetta's regular prices by heading here.

These deals include a three-month subscription for $39.50, a one-year subscription for $89.50, a two-year subscription for $124.50, and a lifetime membership for $199. Over 30 languages are offered on Rosetta Stone, such as Spanish, Japanese, and French, and your online subscription to the language courses comes with numerous other perks, including:

  • Phrasebooks: These teach you quick expressions and greetings that are perfect for traveling
  • Mobile app: Get access to Rosetta Stone's iOS app, where you'll find conversation practice and short 10-minute lessons that fit your schedule.
  • An audio companion: Download and listen to lessons even while offline.
  • Stories: Written and narrated in the language you're studying, these stories include poems, tours, and narratives that expose you to new words and help you understand the culture better.
  • Games: Practice your language skills by yourself or with other users (available on all devices but mobile).

For an additional fee, you can also get live sessions. The sessions are 25 minutes long and are taught by a tutor who is a native speaker of the language you’re learning.

Rosetta Stone language program on mobile
Rosetta Stone

Mastering new languages can open up new ways to communicate with others you may have not been able to before, and over the past few years, studies have shown that being multilingual can help slow cognitive decline and strengthen neural pathways as you age.

Alongside using a program like Rosetta Stone to learn a language, it can help to have periodic conversations in the dialect you’re studying—even if they are with yourself. Check out our other tips for mastering another language.

Sign up now for the three-month ($39.50), one-year ($89.50), two-year ($124.50), or lifetime ($199) subscription.

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!

10 Thoughtful Gifts for DIY Enthusiasts

Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

It can be tough to find the perfect gift for the people who make everything themselves. Why not give them the tools and supplies they need to create works of art with their own personal touch? Check out these gift ideas for every DIY enthusiast on your list.

1. Prismacolor Premier Hand Lettering Advanced Set; $15

DIY Prismacolor Hand Lettering Set on Amazon
Amazon

With this set of high-quality pens and pencils, your artistically minded giftees will have the tools to add a personal flourish to letters, signs, greeting cards, and more. The kit includes two graphite pencils, seven illustration markers, two dual-ended art markers for bold lettering, an instruction guide, and—perhaps most importantly—an eraser.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Beanie knitting kit; $55

A knitting kit
We are the Knitters

Have a friend who loves knitting, but hates buying supplies? Surprise them with this knitting kit that comes complete with knitting needles, a unique pattern, and your choice of yarn. You can purchase beginner, easy, intermediate, or advanced knitting kits to create everything from hats and sweaters to blankets and wall art.

Buy It: We Are Knitters

3. Olfa Rotary Essentials Kit; $40

Olfa Rotary Essentials Kit on Amazon
Amazon

Perfect for paper crafters and scrapbookers, this kit includes two rotary cutters (in 45-millimeter and 18-millimeter sizes) and a self-healing mat. These tough tools will cut paper as well as leather, cloth, vinyl, film, photos, wallpaper, and more.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Miniature library; $20

Mini books
Uncommon Goods

Recreate your bookshelf in miniature form with this adorable kit from Uncommon Goods. The set comes with 20 illustrated miniature books that you can actually read (the selection includes titles like Thumbelina and The Snow Queen), plus 10 blank books you can write and illustrate yourself. Best yet, the set comes with a miniature bookcase, so you don’t have to worry about where to store your tiny library.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

5. Impressart Metal Stamping Kit; $113

ImpressArt Metal Stamping Kit on Amazon
Amazon

This slightly intimidating kit contains everything a crafter needs to stamp impressions into metal jewelry or objects. Along with the 1-pound hammer and small steel anvil, the Stamp Straight Tape helps you make impressions in a straight line and keep letters evenly spaced. The stamps themselves feature the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case kits are available) and special characters.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit; $35

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Your bestie will be weaned off Sriracha when he concocts his own sauce with dried guajillo, chipotle, and arbol peppers. The kit contains the essentials (like gloves and bottling materials), plus all the ingredients needed for six custom-made bottles of the hot stuff.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Solar Photography Kit; $15

Solar Photography Kit and photo examples from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Popularized in the 1840s by Anna Atkins, the first female photographer, solar photographs (also known as cyanotypes thanks to their blue color) use sunlight to develop images on chemically treated paper. Just lay a photo negative or object on the paper, place it in the sun for a while, and voilà. This kit includes six sheets of photosensitive paper, a light-proof storage envelope, and instructions. Fabric kits are also available.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

8. Southern Bourbon Stout Beer Brewing Kit; $20-$45

Southern Bourbon Stout beer brewing kit from Uncommon Goods
Uncommon Goods

Why fight the drunken hordes at your local craft brewery when you, or your gift recipient, can brew your beer in the comfort of your home? This artisanal kit includes the hardware—a fermentor jug, racking cane, funnel, and more—and malt extract, specialty grains, fresh hops, and yeast to make one gallon of homemade brew. This particular formula relies on oak chips soaked in bourbon (booze not included) to add woodsy vanilla notes to your beer.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

9. Cavallini Flora and Fauna Rubber Stamp Set; $25

Cavallini flora and fauna rubber stamp set from Amazon
Amazon

Create woodland scenes on mail art, gift cards, holiday decor, and more with these rubber stamps on wood blocks. Vintage designs include an owl, songbird, deer, dogwood flower, and other forest friends. The stamps come in an attractive tin with a high-quality black ink pad.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Molecular Gastronomy Kit; $50-$65

Gastronomy kit for kitchen
Uncommon Goods

This kit encourages people to play with their food. Get this for the friend who loves to experiment in the kitchen and wouldn’t mind turning honey into jelly-like cubes or strawberries into delicate foam. The set comes with four different food additives (20 sachets), three pipettes, and a variety of other kitchen ingredients. For $16 more, you can purchase a molecular gastronomy book that can help guide you through recipes.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

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!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER