9 Presidents Day Gifts Perfect for Any History Buff

Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon
Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon

Presidents Day has one of the stranger histories of any U.S. holiday. It started simply as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday every February 22, before officially becoming a paid federal holiday back in 1885. It wasn't until 1971 that we started celebrating it on the third Monday of every February. That developed thanks to the Uniform Monday Holidays Act, which stated that current federal holidays would be moved to Mondays so everyone could have a three-day weekend (thanks, Congress!). And contrary to popular belief, no, the move had nothing to do with combining Washington's birthday with Lincoln's, which is on February 12.

It gets even more interesting when you learn that Presidents Day isn't even the official name for the holiday; according to the U.S. federal government, the holiday is still technically just called Washington's Birthday. It's the individual states that have deemed the holiday "Presidents Day." And since states can pick whether or not to even recognize it, what's actually being celebrated varies depending on where you are. In Alabama, for instance, they recognize George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on Presidents Day; meanwhile, in Illinois, Honest Abe's home state, Lincoln gets his own day on February 12. And in states like North Carolina, no official holiday is on the books.

But whether you call it Presidents Day, President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Washington’s Birthday, or something else entirely, there’s still every reason to celebrate the men—and women—who have shaped our nation over the centuries. If you’d rather avoid buying discount Valentine’s Day chocolates and teddy bears this year, here are some presidential gift ideas for history buffs that we guarantee will never get vetoed.

1. Presidential Slogan Coffee Mug; $16

Presidential Slogan Mug.
Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon

Before any of the presidents made it into the White House, they had to campaign. From TV ads to posters, fundraisers to volunteering, they had to get the support—and votes—in order to be elected to office. Relive their pre-presidential days with this campaign slogan mug. Featuring 29 classic campaign slogans from winners like Calvin Coolidge ("Keep Cool-idge") and Harry Truman ("Give 'em hell, Harry!") to runner-ups like William Jennings Bryan ("No cross of gold") and Adlai Stevenson ("All the way with Adlai"), this mug may not get you the presidency…but after drinking from it, you’ll feel like you could.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Teddy Roosevelt Pins; $16

Theodore Roosevelt Pins on Amazon.
Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon

Theodore Roosevelt, known for his conservation efforts, work on the Panama Canal, and teddy bear namesake, was one of our country’s most influential presidents. These pins will add a little Presidents Day swag to your step no matter what day of the year it is.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Abraham Lincoln Prayer Candle; $14

Abraham Lincoln Prayer Candle.
Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, is the patron saint of reunions and rail splitters (as well as the man who guided the U.S. through the Civil War and abolished slavery). Should you ever need a little extra Honest Abe energy, light this candle and say the special secular prayer on the back. It may not make you a wrestling champion, but it will help you mend fences and settle scores.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Presidential socks; $10

Presidential socks from HSELL on Amazon.
HSELL/Amazon

Keep your feet cozy with these festive socks, featuring George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and JFK. Although you might notice that one of these figures was not a president (looking at you, Franklin), he was so accomplished that he gets honorary recognition anyway. After all, not everyone can have their face on the $100 bill.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill; $8

Mrs. Kennedy and Me book on Amazon.
Gallery Books/Amazon

Even though it’s Presidents Day, we can’t forget the First Ladies who shaped the nation. If you’re into all things Jackie O, Clint Hill’s memoir about working as a Secret Service agent during JFK’s presidency is a must-read. He and Jackie became extremely close friends during his four years of service, and this memoir sheds light on what life in the White House was like for Jackie—and the legacy she upheld years afterward. This is a heartwarming, moving, and insightful read into one of the nation’s most iconic first families.

Buy it: Amazon (Audio), Barnes & Noble (Paperback)

6. What Are We For?: The Words and Ideals of Eleanor Roosevelt; $13

What Are We For Eleanor Roosevelt book on Amazon.
Harper Perennial/Amazon

If you’re more of an Eleanor Roosevelt fan, get inspired with this book of her most famous and beloved sayings. Covering a wide range of topics—from feminism to war and peace to freedom and democracy—this collection is the perfect resource to turn to whenever you have to ask, “What would Eleanor do?”

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washington Crossing the Delaware Throw Pillow; $29

Washington Crossing the Delaware pillow on Redbubble.
Redbubble

This festive throw pillow, adorned with Emanuel Leutze’s famous Washington Crossing the Delaware painting, is just the decorative touch your living room needs to ring in Washington’s Birthday. Made from soft and durable polyester, this pillow is available in multiple sizes and manages to retain the original painting's trademark colors and subtle details.

Buy it: Redbubble

8. Presidential Portrait Necktie; $30

Presidential portrait necktie on Amazon.
Museum Artifacts/Amazon

Take your Presidents Day fashion to the next level with this presidential portrait tie. Made of 100 percent silk and featuring portraits of all the presidents, this tie is the perfect statement piece for your next presidential party, or whenever you feel like it’s “a time for greatness.”

Buy it: Amazon

9. The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia; $13

Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia.
Smithsonian/Amazon

So you think you know your presidents...but do you really? Test your knowledge with this official Smithsonian trivia book. Split into 11 chapters, this book will teach you everything you ever wanted to know (and perhaps didn’t want to know) about the presidents, their families, and their terms in office. Filled with photographs from the Smithsonian’s official collection, it’s a beautiful book that’s guaranteed to make you feel like an Oval Office expert.

Buy it: Amazon

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Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.