10 of the Best Gifts We've Ever Gotten

Hydro Flask/Amazon
Hydro Flask/Amazon / Hydro Flask/Amazon
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Finding the right holiday gift for every person on your list is a dreadful affair. You have to think about what they'd like, what they'd hate, and what they already have, all while sticking to something that resembles a budget. If you're fresh out of ideas (and patience), the staff at Mental Floss is here to help. Below, you'll find a selection of some of the best gifts we've ever received, from novelty socks and cutlery to a fancy coffee machine and the last water bottle you'll ever need.

1. Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim: A Box Set // Stephen Sondheim; $90


One of the most cherished gifts I've ever been given is this two-volume collection of Stephen Sondheim's works. It's incredible to read about the composer/lyricist/genius's process, the lyrics he liked and those that embarrassed him, songs that didn't make the cut, and other behind-the-scene details of these productions—all in his own words. When Sondheim died in late November, I turned to the Hat Box for solace. —Erin McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief

Buy it: Amazon

2. L.L. Bean Women's Wicked Good Scuffs; $79

L.L. Bean

I tend to feel more like a popsicle during the wintertime than usual, so having warm clothes is essential for my well-being. One Christmas, I was gifted a pair of these L.L. Bean slippers, and I’ve barely taken them off since. They have a soft lamb fur interior and a durable sole with treads, so I don’t worry about slipping (even though I’m a bit clumsy). They're so popular that the company claims that they sell a pair of these slippers every seven seconds in December. —Elaine Selna, Commerce Writer

Buy it: L.L. Bean

3. Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi; $169


As an avid coffee drinker, I've spent too much time and money trying to find my perfect brewing method. Then one Christmas, my family decided to end my search by getting me the Nespresso Essenza Mini, and I haven't looked back since. The machine is so easy to use, and the pods are recyclable, so it doesn't feel like you're stockpiling plastic waste once you're done with them. The only problem now is that I drink about four cups of Joe a day. —E.S.

Buy it: Amazon

4. "Me When My Song Comes On" Dancing Novelty Socks; $13

Blue Q/Amazon

I'm still a sucker for novelty socks, even as an adult, and pretty much everyone I love knows this. So when Christmas rolls around, I'm always excited to see the creative socks my family and friends picked out for me. My best friend got me this pair last year, which says "Me when my song comes on" and features people dancing all around. —E.S.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Shea Sugar Scrub; $9

Tree Hut/Ulta Beauty

While I wouldn't go so far as to call this sugar scrub my most cherished gift ever, it's absolutely one of the best stocking stuffers I've ever received. My skin is naturally dry, and the problem only gets worse during the winter months. This sugar scrub (which I've used in the Moroccan Rose and Coco Colada scents) makes a huge difference, helping slough away those rough patches of cracked skin and making everything feel softer and smoother. Honestly, I don't know how I'd make it through winter without it. —Shayna Murphy, Associate Editor

Buy it: Ulta Beauty

6. Hydro Flask Water Bottle; $45 - $200

Hydro Flask/Amazon

I'll be honest—I didn't want to jump aboard the Hydro Flask hype train. For a long time, I resisted because of how expensive the Hydro Flask seemed (plus, I figured my old water bottle from college was good enough to do the trick). After I received one, however, my position totally changed. I use this all the time: It keeps my water ice cold for the entire day, which I love; the reusable straw lid has also been great, because I enjoy sipping; best of all, the powder coat keeps it from sweating during the summertime, which was a big problem with my old water bottle. All in all, this is one practical gift I'm really grateful to have gotten for Christmas. —S.M.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Complete Series (1970) DVD Set; $25


Years ago, I was gifted this BBC miniseries from 1970 on the six wives of Henry VIII, and it remains my favorite on-screen depiction of the notorious king and his brides. Each episode focuses on the perspective of a specific wife, allowing certain nuances about their respective stories to really come to the fore. This is especially engaging when you get to his less-talked-about wives, like Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr. The Tudors have been done to death over the last decade or so, but this miniseries eschews the bodice ripper-style of the Showtime series and Philippa Gregory's work, which I appreciated. Rather, it feels more like Masterpiece Theatre (fitting, perhaps, as the series eventually aired in the U.S. as part of the PBS series). —S.M.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Classic Bokksu: Seasons of Japan; $60


My boyfriend gifted me this curated box of Japanese snacks from Bokksu for my birthday last year. We were in the middle of the first full pandemic winter, and the thought of ever getting to travel again was still far from our minds. This box provided a much-needed escape. The treats are categorized by the seasons of Japan, and a booklet lists which part of the country each item comes from. Getting to pretend I was having my mid-afternoon snack break in Kyoto in the spring made being stuck inside much more tolerable. —Michele Debczak, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Bokksu

9. Mundial 5100 Series 10-Inch Chef's Knife; $60

I received this Mundial knife from my parents shortly after moving into my first grown-up apartment. Though I skimped out on many of the items in my kitchen, I wouldn't be able to get away with using a cheap chef's knife to cook every day. A sharp, sturdy knife makes food preparation fast and easy. It's safer, too, because a sharp blade is less likely to slip and cut my finger. That's great news for someone like me who loves to cook and is prone to accidents in the kitchen. —M.D.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bee's Wrap Beeswax Food Wraps (Assorted Three Pack); $15

Bee's Wrap/Amazon

It's really difficult to forgo the convenience of plastic wrap and plastic baggies, but these beeswax food wraps make it a lot easier. They're washable, durable, and great for everything from wrapping up peanut butter sandwiches to covering lid-less containers. —Ellen Gutoskey, Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

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