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

Medical book
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

Hello Kitty skincare
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

Sea monkeys
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

Mars snow globe
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

Literary insults poster
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

Homemade kimchi kit
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

Planet lollipops
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

Tea from the Boston Tea Party
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

Storymatic game
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

A mug with Kurt Vonnegut quotes
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

Literary Scarf from UncommonGoods.
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

A customizable puzzle
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

Book journal
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

A tea mug
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

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!

Dominate Game Night With Godzilla-Themed Monopoly and Jenga

Usaopoly
Usaopoly

Competitive board games have a tendency to bring out players' monstrous sides, and later this year, you'll be able to embrace those destructive impulses with Jenga and Monopoly games inspired by Godzilla.

Both products featuring Japan's iconic mutant menace are a collaboration between games publisher USAopoly (also known as The Op) and entertainment company Toho International, CBR.com reports. The first one, dubbed Monopoly: Godzilla, is billed as a "city-terrorizing twist on the classic board game." The properties available for conquering include Monster Island, Goro’s Workshop, and Kitakami Lake. Instead of the classic game pieces, players use tokens of monsters like Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla to dominate the board.

The second game pairs so perfectly with Godzilla that it may rival the classic version. In Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition, the block tower resembles a skyscraper taken from downtown Tokyo, and it comes with a cardboard cutout of Godzilla unleashing a beam of atomic breath. With every role of the die, Godzilla moves along the "approach track," increasing the number of blocks removed each turn and hastening the building's destruction.

Godzilla Jenga.
Usaopoly

Monopoly: Godzilla will sell for $40, and Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition will cost $20. You can find them in select stores when they debut in the spring.

Are You a Friends Superfan? Then You Need This Friends-Themed Cards Against Humanity

The One With All the Cards/Amazon
The One With All the Cards/Amazon

For a seemingly simple show, Friends has continued to entertain fans around the world for more than 25 years. The ’90s sitcom allowed viewers to follow the lives of six tight-knit friends and—most importantly—quote many hilarious lines and references. Now, you can mix and match some of the show's best moments with The One With All the Cards game, which looks and plays a lot like Cards Against Humanity. You can find it on Amazon for $30.

While the game isn’t a Cards Against Humanity expansion pack, it’s quite similar. There’s a set of black question cards containing classic lines like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY SISTER?” to which players respond with white cards that feature answers like, “Feeling my bicep, and maybe more.”

When you’ve established who is the best at Friends quotes, you can see who the real superfan is with The One With All the Questions. This trivia game features more than 300 quiz questions and you can find it on Amazon for $33.

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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