15 Quirky Valentine's Day Gifts for the Mental Floss Geek

Amazon/Distributed Art Publishers/Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/UncommonGoods
Amazon/Distributed Art Publishers/Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/UncommonGoods

Boxes of chocolate and red roses are fine Valentine's Day gifts, but if you and your loved one are Mental Floss readers, chances are your tastes run a little more offbeat than that. To help you find the perfect gift for your favorite geek this Valentine's Day, our writers and editors pulled together suggestions based on their own passions, including cooking, science, history, and, of course, totally gross medical illustrations from the 19th century. Check out our picks below.

1. The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration; $25

Distributed Art Publishers/Amazon

OK, perhaps this isn't the most romantic of gifts. But bibliophiles, scientists, and history lovers alike will adore this gorgeously designed tome (named after a poem by William Blake) that features 19th century medical illustrations, organized by disease. If you have a bit more to spend, consider picking up its companion books, Crucial Interventions (all about 19th century surgery) and The Smile Stealers: The Fine and Foul Art of Dentistry (the title kind of says it all!) for a truly unforgettable trifecta. —Erin McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief

Buy it: Amazon

2. The Creme Shop x Hello Kitty Self-Care Spa Set; $28

The Crème Shop/Amazon

This quirky-and-cute set is perfect for people who enjoy both self-care and Hello Kitty (so basically ... everyone). It includes a sleep mask, a headband, and scented strawberry champagne bath crystals for the ultimate night of relaxation and the sweetest dreams. —E.M.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sea Monkeys; $14

Schylling/Amazon

Old millennials (like me!) will no doubt have fond memories of this kit, which brings Sea-Monkeys—a.k.a., brine shrimp named for their long tails—to "instant life." It's the perfect gift for anyone who wants to remember the good old days of their youth—and for curious kids, of course. —E.M.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Stalactite necklace; $145

UncommonGoods

A lot of people will give their valentine jewelry on February 14, but this bauble is truly unique. Stalactites form when mineral-rich water drips from the cave's ceiling; over many years the minerals build up and harden into cones. Artist Mickey Flynn's pendant is a slice of one showing circles of different compounds. You don't have to be a speleologist to appreciate Earth's wonders. —Kat Long, Science Editor

Buy it: UncommonGoods

5. Mars dust globe; $35

UncommonGoods

If we're going to colonize Mars one day, we'll have to get used to the planet's intense dust storms. Prepare your valentine for the future with this cute Mars 'dust globe,' featuring two astronauts in the middle of a swirling cloud of iron-rich particles. —K.L.

Buy it: UncommonGoods

6. Literary Insults Chart; $25

UncommonGoods

"Some are wise, and some are otherwise." That kernel of wisdom from Jonathan Swift is one of many classic putdowns you can put on display in this wall chart featuring some of literature's greatest insults. —Jake Rossen, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: UncommonGoods

7. Homemade Kimchi Kit; $45

UncommonGoods

My favorite food projects involve an impressive transformation that doesn't take a lot of effort on my part. Kimchi is my favorite example of this: You combine a bunch of ingredients in a jar, ignore it for a few days, and come back to find a living, bubbling concoction that tastes better than the sum of its parts. It's a fascinating chance to watch fermentation happen in real time—plus, you get a jar of delicious kimchi at the end! One reason DIY kimchi may not be as trendy as homemade bread is that it requires some specialized equipment and ingredients. This kimchi kit from UncommonGoods has all the hard-to-source items you need to ferment your own cabbage at home, including a jar, an air lock, kimchi paste, and gloves to protect your hands when it's time to mix your ingredients together. —Michele Debczak, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: UncommonGoods

8. Planet Lollipops; $30

UncommonGoods

Instead of chocolates, these lollipops from UncommonGoods let you opt for something a bit more out-of-the-box—or out of this world. The sugary orbs resemble small, glassy planets, making them as appealing to admire as they are to eat. The lollipops come in various flavors, giving you ample opportunity to sample a taste of what this candy universe provides. —Kerry Wolfe, Staff Editor

Buy it: UncommonGoods

9. Teas of the Boston Tea Party; $35

UncommonGoods

Fancy a taste of history? This set from Uncommon Goods contains five teas from the varieties found in the hundreds of chests chucked overboard during the Boston Tea Party. If you don’t feel like dumping your tea in a harbor and sparking a revolution, you can use the set to simply brew yourself a nice, warming drink. —K.W.

Buy it: UncommonGoods

10. The Storymatic; $30

UncommonGoods

When I was younger, my family and I spent long car rides constructing truly absurd (but grammatically correct) sentences by taking turns contributing one word at a time. I think The Storymatic generates that same kind of literary creativity—in it, you draw two cards that reveal characteristics about your protagonist and two cards that give you situational details, and then you try to tie everything together in a cohesive story. Aspiring writers can use it for inspiration, and everyone else can just use it for laughs. —Ellen Gutoskey, Staff Writer

Buy it: UncommonGoods

11. Book-Themed Coffee Mugs; $16

Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

Being a full-time editor with a two-hour roundtrip commute means I read—a lot. But my reading habit is more than just a way to pass time on the train; my face is pretty much always in a book, magazine, or comic, even on days and nights off. That’s why I love these book-themed coffee mugs from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. They have mugs with famous lines from the Brontë sisters, Roald Dahl, and Jane Austen, along with ones with famous first and last lines from the classics. My favorite, though? The mug of Kurt Vonnegut lines—there’s just something so comforting about reading “I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all” as you sip your coffee on a Monday morning. —Jay Serafino, Special Projects Editor

12. Literary Scarves; $48

UncommonGoods

Whether your giftee prefers to be called a Janeite or an Austenite, any fan of the Pride and Prejudice author will love wrapping themselves up in the words of Mr. Darcy (even if they sometimes sounded better in his head than when spoken out loud). These cozy, T-shirt-like cotton infinity scarves feature passages from some of the world's most beloved books; choose from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, or Alice in Wonderland. —Jennifer Wood, Managing Editor

Buy it: UncommonGoods

13. We Found Each Other Custom Puzzle; $129

UncommonGoods

You might not remember what you were wearing the day you met your significant other, or the first words you exchanged, but you no doubt remember where you were. Commemorate that iconic spot—wherever it may have been—with a customized, 300-piece jigsaw puzzle that features an aerial view of the place where "We Found Each Other." —J.W.

Buy it: UncommonGoods

14. Book Lover's Journal; $13

Rene J. Smith/Amazon

Whether I'm at work, home, or commuting, I always have a book with me. However, when anyone ever asks me what I've been reading, my mind almost always draws a blank. So that's why I am gifting myself—along with my other book-loving friends—this journal. You can log up to 67 titles, and record important details like the publisher, author, how you came to choose the book, any notes you have, and your overall rating. After all, experts say you remember things better when you write them down. Kristen Richard, Associate Editor

Buy it: Amazon

15. Benjamin Franklin Mug; $16

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

This mug is essential for anyone who loves tea and history. The slit at the top not only allows your teabag to look like it's part of Benjamin Franklin's famous 1752 electricity experiment, but it also keeps the bag from falling into the cup. —K.R.

Buy it: Amazon

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14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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Stock Your Funko Collection While These 9 Figures Are on Sale

Funko
Funko

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

Whether you're looking to get started on your Funko Pop! collection or just want to add to your tiny vinyl army, you can find figurines for every obsession, from Marvel to NSYNC, while they’re on sale for a limited time.

1. Funko Marvel Specialty Series Dorbz Iron Man Mark I Vinyl Figure; $13 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Score this tiny Iron Man figure that's decked out in the character's original clunky gray suit of armor.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. The Walking Dead - Ezekiel; $23 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Commemorate the king with this mini Ezekiel figurine (Shiva not included).

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

3. Funko Pop! Vinyl Collectible Mystery Starter Box; $80 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Start your collection with this mystery box, complete with six miniatures of iconic characters in pop culture.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

4. Funko Pop Dorbz Rick and Morty Police Vinyl Figures (Two-Pack); $21 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

This Rick and Morty Dorbz two-pack features the alternate cop versions of the duo from the episode "Tales from the Citadel."

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

5. Dragonball Z Super Saiyan Goku; $16 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Go Super Saiyan with this Goku figurine. You could hold the first Saiyan to go super in over 100 years in your very own hands.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

6. Funko Pop! Marvel Studios 10th Anniversary Hulk (Gold Chrome); $22 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Trade in the standard green version of Hulk for this rare gold chrome variant, which was made to celebrate 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

7. Shadow the Hedgehog; $21 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

Sonic's gritty counterpart, Shadow, made his video game debut all the way back in 2001, and nearly 20 years later, he's still one of the franchise's most popular characters.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

8. Disney Jasmine; $13 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

No Funko collection would be complete without a figurine of Jasmine, one of the most popular Disney princesses.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

9. NSYNC Funko Pop - Bundle Of Five; $57 (9 Percent Off)

Funko

All five NSYNC members are represented in this pack for collectors looking to say bye-bye-bye to 2020 and relive their favorite days of the '90s.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

Prices subject to change.

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