15 Smart Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

iStock.com/Iuliia_Syrotina_28
iStock.com/Iuliia_Syrotina_28

Whether it's a friend with a teaching job, your child's teacher, or your own professor, you probably know at least one person who spends their days at a blackboard. May 6 through May 10 is National Teacher Appreciation Week 2019, so celebrate by getting the perfect gift to thank your favorite educator for all their hard work.

1. RETRO PENS; $10

Five retro-looking pens

Kikkerland, Amazon

From hall passes to report cards, teachers have to do a lot of writing—so help them do it in style. This set of five vintage-looking ballpoint pens come in fun retro colors and write with black ink.

Find it: Amazon

2. WOODEN ANIMAL PENCILS; $9

Pencils with tops that look like animals sitting in a cup

Kikkerland, Amazon

If your teacher prefers pencils to pens, don’t worry—there are plenty of kitsch writing utensils to go around. These painted pencils look just like woodland creatures and are perfect for injecting whimsy into writing notes or completing a crossword puzzle. (For equally great writing utensils with a little less flair, check out our guide to bullet journal supplies.)

Find it: Amazon

3. NOVEL TEAS; $14

'Novel Teas' boxes on a table next to a kettle
Bag Ladies Tea, Amazon

Big readers and English teachers will definitely get a kick out these novel tea bags. As the punny name suggests, each tea bag comes with a famous quote from classic literature. The English Breakfast tea will taste even better when enjoyed with the likes of Jane Austen.

Find it: Amazon

4. NATIONAL PARKS EXPLORER MAP; $55

A map of the U.S. with trees marking the location of every national park
Seth and Maddy Lucas, UncommonGoods

Maps aren't just important teaching tools—they also make for excellent home decor. But instead of focusing on history or geography, this map shows all of the national parks in the United States and includes a handy key that identifies each one. The owner can use included tree stickers to mark off which parks they've visited.

Find it: UncommonGoods

5. BOOK-THEMED CANDLES; $22

You can’t go wrong with one of these amazing candles when you're shopping for librarians, English teachers, or general bibliophiles. Each scent is inspired by literature, whether it be a specific book (the Harry Potter novels) or a place (the Oxford library).

Find it: Amazon

6. BRAIN SPECIMEN COASTERS; $27

Glass coasters that look like they have slices of brain on them

ThinkGeek, Amazon

Each of these glass coasters shows a different slice of the brain; when stacked in the right order (don’t worry; they’re labeled to help you), they look like a full brain. The set comes with 10 coasters and will look great on an office desk.

Find it: Amazon or at one of the retailers below:

7. COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK TOTE; $20

A tote bag that looks like a black-and-white composition notebook

Out of Print, Amazon

Teachers have to haul around a lot of stuff, so give them a fun bag to use when they do it. This tote bag from Out of Print is perfect for teachers with students who still use the classic composition notebooks. (There's also a library card version.) If you’re not crazy about the tote, they also have a ton of literary-inspired pouches.

Find it: Amazon or Out of Print

8. CHAIR SOCKS; $12

Noise-sensitive teachers sometimes put tennis balls on the bottom of chair legs to keep them from making loud, scraping noises. If the teacher you know is also aggravated by screeching chairs (or maybe just concerned about the floor scratching), give them these chair socks. The set comes with four adorable cat paws that can fit on the legs of most chairs and desks. (If your favorite educator isn't into cutesy animals, there are also other more subtle designs available.)

Find it: Urban Outfitters or Amazon

9. CORK GLOBE; $55

A globe made out of cork
Suck UK, Amazon

Lots of teachers have regular globes in their room, but your favorite teacher could use something a little more creative. This special globe is made from cork and comes with its own special set of red markers that can be used to show where they have traveled or what country their students are currently learning about.

Find it: Amazon

10. Stanley Ceramivac Bottle; $35

A green Stanley bottle

Stanley, Amazon

Teachers may not have coffee pots or microwaves in their classrooms, meaning they may be stuck drinking cold coffee (or worse, no coffee at all) throughout the day. So don't give them a punny mug this year; give them the gift of vacuum insulation. Stanley's Ceramivac bottles are designed to keep beverages hot for nine hours and cold for 14, and the ceramic finish is a much-needed upgrade to the stainless steel bottle, making it a more natural drinking feel. It has a spill-proof lid and a lifetime guarantee, and it comes in a number of sizes and colors. The 24-ounce size would be a good bet, but if you know your favorite teacher is a coffee addict, upgrade to the 36-ounce version. And while the standard bottle's screw-top lid is excellent for preventing spills and keeping beverages hot for longer (and can be poured into that punny teacher-themed mug), there's also a Ceramivac sip-through tumbler.

Find it: Amazon or Backcountry.com

11. Modern Moose Wall Clock; $48 to $48

A clock shaped like a shark hangs on the wall above a desk

Modern Moose, The Grommet

Both teachers and students spend a significant amount of the day glancing at the time, so make looking at the clock more fun. Modern Moose's whimsical pendulum clocks come in a fox or a shark design, while the table/wall clocks also come in the shape of a robot, a moose, a sock monkey, or an owl, as well as a cutesy take on the standard cuckoo clock.

Find it: The Grommet

12. Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook; $30

A Rocketbook notebook with drawings in it on a desk

Rocketbook, Amazon

Teachers go through a lot of paper each day, but taking notes doesn't have to add to their carbon footprint. The Rocketbook Everlast notebook works with any Pilot FriXion pen or highlighter and can be used to beam notes to cloud services like Google Drive and Evernote. Once the pages are filled up, the notebook can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and used again.

Find it: Amazon or Walmart

13. Cleaning Supplies and Wipes

A child's hand pulls a wet wipe out of a package.
iStock.com/AdamRadosavljevic

Classrooms full of children can be a germaphobe's nightmare. Help your favorite teacher and their students stay clean and germ-free by helping them stock up on wet wipes, hand sanitizer (Touchland's pocket-sized sprays would look great in a gift bag), screen cleaner (this dual-sided gadget would do the trick, as would this spray), and surface cleaning wipes and sprays.

14. Amazon Prime; $39 to $119

A hands holds an open Amazon box
iStock.com/AdrianHancu

Yes, Amazon offers gift memberships to Amazon Prime. Give your favorite teacher access to free shipping, thousands of music playlists, a ton of free e-books, and other Prime perks that would be useful both inside and outside the classroom. All you have to do is enter your favorite teacher's email address. If the recipient already has a Prime membership, your gift doesn't go to waste, either—it converts to a regular Amazon gift card. You can gift a three-month membership for $39 or a full year for $119.

Find it: Amazon

15. Pop Chart Lab's 100 Essential Novels Scratch-Off Chart; $26

Perfect for literature lovers, Pop Chart Lab's 100 Essential Novels scratch-off poster features classic classroom reading like Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Catch 22, and 1984. Your favorite teacher could use it to track their own reading list or incorporate it into their English curriculum—after the class finishes a book, they can scratch away the gold foil to reveal a design inspired by the book. If your favorite teacher covers other subjects, Pop Chart Lab has plenty of great graphic explorations of fields other than literature, too. Hard-core grammar nerds will love its sentence-diagram charts and parts of speech visualizations, while history teachers might be more into the diagrammed Declaration of Independence and science teachers might prefer Pop Chart's take on the Periodic Table of Elements or the Chart of Cosmic Exploration.

Find it: Pop Chart Lab

A version of this post first ran in 2016. It has been updated to reflect current availability as of May 2019.

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!

11 Novelty Socks That Make Perfect Stocking Stuffers

Good Luck Sock/OoohYeah/Amazon
Good Luck Sock/OoohYeah/Amazon

There’s no reason socks should elicit groans when they’re given as gifts for the holidays. If you know where to look, you can find ones that reflect the tastes and personality of the person you’re shopping for. In addition to being a form of self-expression, they're also practical. Chances are that nearly all of the loved ones on your list could use an extra set. We pulled together a group of fun and colorful novelty socks that are perfect for Star Wars fans, Disney villain lovers, hikers, and everyone in between.

1. Injinji Toe Socks; $12

Toe socks
Injinji / Amazon

Toe socks are more than funky-looking footwear. They also reduce blisters, wick sweat, and align the foot in a way that’s more natural than conventional socks. That’s why Injinji chose the style for its running socks. They’re great for working out, or just lounging around the house and feeling comfortable.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Seirus Heatwave Socks; $30

Heatwave socks.
Seirus Innovation / Amazon

When hiking in the dead of winter, even the thickest wool socks aren’t always enough to keep your toes warm. Seirus’s Heatwave socks use a high-tech design to trap the heat from your foot inside your shoes. The “kinetic heat return system” converts the energy you generate into heat that gets reflected back onto your body. They’re knit from a blend of spandex and polyester, so they can stretch to maximize the insulation of any size shoe.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Star Wars Starry Night Socks; $39

Star Wars Starry Night socks.
Amazon

This five-pack of socks reimagines your favorite Star Wars characters in a post-impressionist art style. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Yoda, a Stormtrooper, and R2-D2 along with C-3PO are all represented against a swirling background reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Studio Ghibli Socks; $12

Studio Ghibli socks.
Amazon

If you know a Studio Ghibli fan that can’t pick a favorite movie, this sock pack is for them. Each pair in the set of four features characters from a different movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki, including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro.

Buy It: Amazon

5. Christmas Sweater Dinosaur Socks; $10

Dinosaur socks.
Amazon

If you don’t think the person you’re shopping for would commit to wearing a full ugly Christmas sweater, buy them these socks. The festive apparel features dinosaurs like T. rex and Stegosaurus sporting knitwear for the holidays.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Takeout Sushi Socks; $20

Sushi socks in a box.
Amazon

The creative presentation of these socks makes them a great gift for the holidays. They come rolled like sushi and nigiri and are packaged in a classic plastic takeout box—fake green grass included. When they’re unraveled, the socks show off the patterns and color palettes of the sushi pieces.

Buy It: Amazon

7. Bob Ross Socks; $12

Bob Ross socks.
Amazon

Bob Ross’s “happy little accidents” saying originally referred to his painting, but it also makes for a sensible life philosophy. With these socks, wearers can carry the mantra—along with the artist’s glorious perm—on their feet wherever they go.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Stranger Things Socks; $7

Stranger Things socks.
Hot Topic

The striped design of these crew socks already makes them feel like they’re ripped right from the 1980s. The Stranger Things logo and the silhouette of Mike and Eleven on a bike, à la E.T., perfectly complements the retro style.

Buy It: Hot Topic

9. Smartwool Socks; $22

Smartwool socks.
Smartwool

All of the socks from Smartwool are made from Merino wool—a material that keeps feet dry, warm, and odor-free without compromising softness. Their socks are perfect for outdoors as well as staying comfortable in your day-to-day life. If you know the person you’re shopping for well enough, you can fill out a quick survey with their preferences for length, thickness, and outdoor activities to find the best socks for them.

Buy It: Smartwool

10. Disney Villain Socks; $15

Disney villain socks.
Hot Topic

This is the gift for your one friend who shrugs off the classic Disney heroes and instead embraces the company's villainous side. These socks feature the faces of classic evildoers like Ursula, Cruella de Vil, and Maleficent, along with each villain’s catchphrase. Five pairs are included in a pack.

Buy It: Hot Topic

11. Dreidel Dog Socks; $8

Dreidel dog socks.
Amazon

Celebrate this Hanukkah by giving the gift of cuteness. These socks, featuring a delightful combination of puppies and dreidels, come in blue or black.

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!

What’s Better Than a Dog in a Sweater? A Sweater That Shows an Image of Your Dog in a Sweater

Sweater Hound
Sweater Hound

If you think the sight of someone walking their sweater-clad dog is just about the cutest thing in the world, you’re absolutely correct. But what if that person was wearing a sweater that showed an image of their dog wearing a sweater? If you think that sounds even cuter, you’re in for a treat.

According to People, New York-based apparel company Sweater Hound will knit you a sweater that displays an image of your dog in a sweater—all you have to do is submit your favorite photo of your dog. And, because not all dogs love wearing sweaters in real life, your dog doesn’t have to be wearing a sweater in the photo you upload.

Each sweater is made from a combination of acrylic and recycled cotton, and will prove to your pet that you truly do love them more than anyone else (unless you already own sweaters emblazoned with the faces of your friends and family).

The sweaters, which cost $98 each, come in both child and adult sizes, and you can choose between cream, navy, black, and gray. The options don’t stop there—Sweater Hound offers sweaters that show your dog wearing just a bow tie, a bow tie and a sweater, a Santa hat and scarf, reindeer ears and a sweater, or even a “Super Dog” cape and domino mask outfit.

sweater hound dog wearing a bow tie on a sweater
Sweater Hound

If sweaters aren’t really your style, there are also hoodies and sweatpants decorated with a smaller, logo-sized image of your dog. Or, you could snuggle with your prized pooch underneath a warm blanket bearing a rather giant image of said pooch.

blanket with an image of a dog wearing a bow tie and sweater
Sweater Hound

While the company does specialize in creating dog-related products, they’ll do their best to accommodate people who love salamanders in Santa hats, birds in bow ties, and other pets wearing clothes. You can email them at Hello@Sweaterhound.com to discuss your options.

If you’re hoping to get someone a gift from Sweater Hound this holiday season, you should act fast: You have to place your order by December 4 in order to guarantee delivery before Christmas, and that date will likely change as the days go by.

Adorable, customizable clothing is just one of the many perks of being a dog owner—here are 10 more scientifically proven benefits.

[h/t People]

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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