11 Fun Gifts for an Amateur Naturalist

Storey Publishing, LLC/Athlon/Amazon
Storey Publishing, LLC/Athlon/Amazon

All anyone really needs to study the natural world is a hearty amount of curiosity—but the right goods and gear can certainly help. A quality pair of binoculars will level up a person's birdwatching game, and a flower press will transform a fleeting blossom into a timeless keepsake. Here are 11 gifts to delight the amateur naturalist in your life.

1. Athlon Optics Midas G2 UHD Binocular; $285

Athlon/Amazon

A good pair of binoculars will transform that blurry orb in the sky into a crisp, easily identifiable bird—and when it comes to quality, the Athlon Optics Medas ED 8x42 binoculars punch above their price tag. These durable, easy-to-adjust binoculars will let you zoom in on far-away plants and animals and provide you with a clear, bright view.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Nature's Hangout Window Bird Feeder; $25

Nature's Hangout/Amazon

Give the gift of an up-close look at local birds with this stick-on acrylic window feeder. Its suction cups are strong, so the feeder won't crash to the ground if any heavier birds happen to land on it—in fact, reviewers report that it stays up even under the weight of a "chubby squirrel."

Buy it: Amazon

3. The Naturalist’s Notebook; $16

Storey Publishing, LLC/Amazon

This notebook lets your amateur naturalist become the expert of their own backyard or favorite park. It’s formatted like a five-year calendar, so they can log years’ worth of observations and see how their local environment changes over time. They can use it to track the regular creatures and plants who call their yard home or to mark special occasions, such as a rare wildlife visit or an unusual bout of weather.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Scats and Tracks of North America; $19

The Roman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc/Amazon

Ever stumble upon a mysterious pile of animal poop? This field guide will help the amateur naturalist in your life learn to recognize the scat and tracks of nearly 150 North American animals. Identifying animal scat and tracks is a great way to figure what wildlife is hanging around, without actually seeing the animals themselves.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Scuddles Gardening Tools Set; $17

Scuddles/Amazon

Bringing more pollinators to the yard means dedicating some space to native plants. Help your amateur naturalist create their own native plant garden—or any garden—with this set from Scuddles, which includes key tools like a trowel, weeder, and gloves, all tucked within a handy tote.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Microfleur 9-inch Max Microwave Flower Press; $65

Microfleur/Amazon

With the Microfleur Max Microwave Flower Press, your naturalist-in-training will be able to transform various types of flora into lasting keepsakes, all while maintaining their vibrant colors. Simply wedge the specimens between the two platens and pop the press into the microwave. Once the botanical beauties are dry, they can be used for a variety of crafts, framed, tucked into letters to loved ones, pasted into a journal, or used to decorate objects like glassware and candles.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species; $187

Stackpole Books/Amazon

This book provides a basic overview of everything your naturalist may wonder about the feather that just fluttered down from the sky. It helps identify not only the type of bird, but also the part of a bird that the feather belonged to. (Just make sure you caution your amateur naturalist to stick to admiring the feathers where they found them—collecting the feathers of many native North American birds without a permit is prohibited.)

Buy it: Amazon

8. National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit; $60

National Geographic/Amazon

Turn dull stones into dazzling gemstones with this rock tumbler from National Geographic. The kit comes with a few rocks, but you can also use your own. Adding a bit of extra shine to your rocks will take your collection to the next level.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Veichin Shadow Box Frame; $17

Veichin/Amazon

Your naturalist will need a place to display all the treasures they collect on their nature walks. This shadow box frame is easy to open, giving them ample opportunities to refresh and rearrange their collection.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Brown Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit by Forest Origins; $25

Forest Origins/Amazon

Bring the joy of discovering a mushroom-covered log into your amateur naturalist's home with this kit from Forest Origins. Not only will it add a bit of fungi funk to their decor, it also serves as both a science and culinary project: Unlike the random mushrooms they'll wander across in the woods, your naturalist can safely snack on these.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Yaya Organics Extra Strength Tick Repellent; $20

Yaya Organics/Amazon

Anyone planning to spend any time trudging through the woods needs to be mindful of ticks. This DEET-free tick repellent uses organic oils to deter the bloodsucking pests, so your naturalist can spray their shoes and clothing without worrying about exposure to harsh chemicals.

Buy it: Amazon

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Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Cocktail Enthusiast in Your Life

Libbey/Amazon
Libbey/Amazon

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Cocktails are an art form. Each drink has a unique history. Why does a margarita have salt? How is the garnish chosen for each drink, especially when you’re creating one spontaneously? What’s the best way to make an old fashioned? If there is someone in your life that has the answers to these questions, they are probably a cocktail enthusiast. This holiday season, treat that person to goodies that will help enhance their craft. 

1. Cocktail Shaker Set; $18

Amazon

Whether they like their drinks shaken or stirred, amateur mixologists can make all kinds of cocktails with this kit. It includes all the essential tools: a muddler, jigger, shaker, and more. They’ll feel like an expert in no time.

Buy it: Amazon

2. The Carry On Cocktail Kit—Old Fashioned; $24

W&P/Amazon

For the traveler who demands a good drink, these kits come with everything but the booze. But if they are going to pack their own mini bottles, remind them to check the airline’s regulations—rules vary on whether it’s legal to drink your own booze in-flight. Also available in Moscow Mule, Champagne Cocktail, and Gin & Tonic.

Buy it: Amazon

3. The Spirit Infusion Kit; $42

Amazon

One of the best parts about making cocktails is that experimentation is rewarded. This infusion kit, including instruction and recipe book, bottle, strainers, and more, will help your cocktail enthusiast turn average vodka into a berry explosion or take tequila to the next level by infusing it with jalapeño peppers.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds; $10

Amazon

Instead of filling their glass with plain cubes, cocktail fans can use this set of two ice molds to craft spherical, uh, cubes. Each piece will melt slowly in a drink and add flair to their home bar. 

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Bitter Truth Travelers Set; $20

The Bitter Truth/Amazon

Any cocktail aficionado worth their salt should have a few bottles of bitters. To spice things up, give them this sampler set that includes five complex flavors: celery bitters, classic old time aromatic bitters, orange bitters, Creole bitters, and Jerry Thomas bitters.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Homemade Gin Kit; $50

Amazon

Though some home bartenders have a house cocktail, few can say they make their gin in-house. Help your loved one mix it up and make 750 ml of homemade gin with this collection that includes one tin of juniper berries, one tin of the company's secret botanical blend, one stainless steel funnel, one fine stainless steel strainer, and two 375-ml glass bottles. All that’s missing is your giftee's label—time for them to brush up on those Photoshop skills.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker, and Glass; $15

Amazon

Whether the recipient is a seasoned bartender or a cocktail newcomer, Imbibe editor Paul Clarke’s book has something for everyone. From modern cocktails to obscure classics, the snapshots in this 200-page book show how far the cocktail scene has come—and where it’s going.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Glencairn Whisky Glass Set; $30

Amazon

Whiskey drinkers know that the type of glass can dramatically change the smell, taste, and experience of the drink. This set of four award-winning glasses would make any cocktail enthusiast swoon.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fancy Paper Straws; $5

KTOJOY/Amazon

Almost any drink looks fancier with the addition of a patterned paper straw. Gussy up your loved ones' bars with a box of these beauties. The stocking stuffers are biodegradable, compostable, printed with food grade ink, and available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail; $25

Amazon

This 416-page book should be a prerequisite for all science nerds who want to make better cocktails. Dave Arnold of Booker & Dax breaks down the facts and recipes to make any bar more interesting.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Libbey Mixologist 18-Piece Cocktail Glass Set; $39

Amazon

If your cocktail enthusiast likes to experiment with different drinks, then they need the glasses that go with them. They can’t have a martini in a margarita glass, nor drink tequila from a whiskey balloon, after all. Libbey’s set will instantly upgrade their bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

Bonus: Vintage Fernet Poster; $50

CANVAS ON DEMAND/Amazon

Bartenders call a shot of Fernet a "handshake." The bitter, minty liqueur is an acquired taste, but there's much to appreciate. Deck out the wall of the Fernet fan in your life with this reproduction vintage ad.

Buy it: Amazon

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