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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/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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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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