11 Fantastic Gifts for Geeky Grads

iStock.com/PeopleImages
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Have a loved one who recently graduated from high school, college, grad school, or a secret wizarding academy? Show your support with just the right gift.

1. Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera; $70

A person prints out a black-and-white photo from a yellow PRINTOMATIC camera.

Kodak, Amazon

Kodak's PRINTOMATIC camera is more than just an instant camera that lets users to print snapshots on demand—though it does that, too. The digital point-and-shoot camera can be used to capture and save photos to a microSD card as well as print in color or black and white. The 2-inch-by-3-inch prints are water-resistant, smudge-free, and sticky, so they're ready to scrapbook immediately. The camera body comes in six different fun colors, so you can customize it to your grad's personal taste. 

Find it: Amazon

2. My Coffee and Book Club Subscription; $32 and Up

A stack of books on a table next to a cup and saucer
iStock.com/elenaleonova

Give your favorite bookworm/coffee geek a professionally curated box of their two great loves each month with My Coffee and Book Club. Each month, they'll get two hardback books, an e-book, and a bag of coffee. The subscription offers a choice between eight different genres (acclaimed fiction, acclaimed non-fiction, science fiction, thriller, mystery, horror, romance, fantasy), or users can elect to receive random picks, and the java comes in 12-ounce packages of small-batch whole bean or ground coffee. Each box ships out during the first week of each month. (If your grad isn't big on books, Cratejoy also offers of plenty of other geeky subscription boxes, from science kits to magic supplies to coding projects and "escape the room" games.)

Find it: Cratejoy

3. Beetlejuice Handbook For The Recently Deceased; $8 and Up

The cover of the 'Beetlejuice: Handbook for the Recently Deceased' journal

Insight Editions, Amazon

In Tim Burton's world, dearly departed characters can get a sense of what to expect from the afterlife with the help of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. You can get a replica of the prop that appeared in 1988's Beetlejuice in several forms: Give the paperback or hardback notebook version of the book to your grad and he or she can fill in whatever tips might be helpful, or give them the notecard set to ensure you get a very spooky thank you card in return.

Find it: Amazon

4. Ghostbusters Playing Cards; $9

Select cards from the 'Ghostbusters' playing card pack

Albino Dragon, Amazon

Help your favorite student pass the time between cram sessions with Albino Dragon's officially licensed Ghostbusters playing cards, which are decked out with original illustrations. Each face card has a different character from the classic ‘80s comedy, including Slimer, Peter Venkman, and Winston Zeddemore.

Find it: Amazon

5. BB-8 Desk Lamp; $33

All nighters can be conducted under the soft glow of a BB-8 lamp, minus the concentration-breaking sound effects. The lamp stands 8.5 inches tall and has three different lighting modes—tap BB-8's head and it switches between natural white, amber, and warm white light.

Find it: Walmart

6. Bookworm Beach Towel; $40

A towel with an image of book spines on it

Cassia Beck, Society6

No matter what their next move is, we hope your favorite grad is about to wrap up their months of studying by spending some much-needed time hitting the beach. Help them show off their love of literature with this beach towel from artist Cassia Beck. The image features a collection of books by literary juggernauts like Virginia Woolf, J.D. Salinger, and more. (We also recommend this one, which looks like a classic library card, or this one, which has a more abstract writerly vibe.)

Find it: Society6

7. Skillshare Subscription; $36 and Up

A chalk outline of a person's head with a yellow lightbulb inside it
iStock.com/anilakkus

Just because graduation is over doesn't mean your favorite nerd is going to stop learning. Give them the gift of post-grad learning with a Skillshare membership, which gives them unlimited ad-free access to classes on the site and offline. Options include lessons on languages, writing, design, animation, photography, business, crafts, and more. With gift subscription plans ranging from 3 months to one year, your recent grad can learn everything from how to knit a scarf to how to master Photoshop to how to understand the stock market.

Find it: Skillshare

8. Exploding Kittens; $20

'Exploding Kittens' card game in its box

Exploding Kittens LLC, Amazon

Exploding Kittens is a popular card game for anyone who likes cats, explosions, and the website The Oatmeal. The party game comes with 56 illustrated cards and allows for up to five players (or up to nine with the expansion pack). As the most-backed Kickstarter project of all time, it's practically guaranteed to be fun. If you want to keep your favorite grad's game night going even longer, there are also multiple expansion packs.

Find it: Amazon

9. The Lord Of The Rings Doormat; $33

A doormat reads "You shall not pass" with a silhouette of Gandalf on it

getDigital, Amazon

A doormat that features a warning from Gandalf may not be the most welcoming item to put outside your front door, but at least it'll keep out the Balrog.

Find it: Amazon

10. Doctor Who Stein; $20

A ceramic TARDIS stein

Doctor Who, Amazon

This officially licensed stein is the perfect container for throwing back all kinds of inter-dimensional drinks. It has a lid and enough room for 50 ounces of liquid.

Find it: Amazon

11. Owl Tapestry; $34

No college dorm room or post-grad apartment is complete without a tapestry. Skip the usual kaleidoscopic designs and opt for something unique; Society6 has a whole slew of options, including this lovely bunch of owls.

Find it: Society6

A version of this article first ran in 2017. 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 Patriotic Products to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you’ll be lounging by the beach or grilling in your backyard this Independence Day, don’t forget to show off your all-American spirit with a little swag. Here are 11 products to help you celebrate Fourth of July—all of which would pair nicely with your collection of presidential bobbleheads.

1. Declaration Of Independence Signatures Mug; $15

Mug decorated with the signatures from the Declaration of Independence.
CafePress, Amazon

The names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence are on display on this ceramic coffee mug. Studying the signatures each morning might inspire you to perfect your own John Hancock.

Find it: Amazon

2. Stars And Stripes Cufflinks; $55

Cufflinks with images of stars and stripes on them

Cufflinks Inc., Nordstrom

Brighten up your wardrobe with a splash of American pride. One half of this cufflinks set is striped red and white and the other is blue and spangled with stars. Together they make a patriotic accent piece.

Find it: Nordstrom

3. Fireworks Light Show Projector; $41

Portable fireworks light projector.
Uncle Milton, Amazon

If you want a low-hazard Fourth of July that still delivers thrills, consider getting a light show projector. When it’s pointed at a wall, the device displays vibrant fireworks animations accompanied by realistic sound effects. And it works indoors, so you can count on your Independence Day party ending with a light show no matter the weather forecast. (There's also a Disney version available for just $20.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Inflatable Cooler; $14

Inflatable American flag cooler filled with ice and drinks.
Fun Express, Amazon

When preparing for a picnic or barbecue this Fourth of July, don’t bother breaking out your tiny roll-away cooler. This 54-by-28-inch inflatable trough holds enough bottles and cans to keep your party going well past sunset. Once the cooler has been drained and deflated, it folds neatly for easy storage.

Find it: Amazon

5. American Trivia Cards; $15

Even players who paid attention in American history class might find this game challenging. Each box comes with 150 cards of United States trivia. Some questions—like what was the first state to grant women the right to vote—highlight important moments in our nation’s history. Others—like how many columns the Lincoln Memorial features—are a little more random.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. U.S. Navy Blanket; $200

The U.S. military has been going to Faribault Woolen Mill Co. for its blankets for over 100 years. This one is crafted from 100 percent wool and weighs 3.5 pounds. The design is inspired by the blankets supplied on Navy ships—and if it’s tough enough for the Navy, you can bet it will withstand a Fourth of July picnic. We like the gray version, but it comes in several different styles and colors.

Find it: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

7. American Flag Cornhole; $90

Two American flag cornhole boards with bean bags.
GoSports, Amazon

Baseball faces some stiff competition from cornhole for the title of No. 1 American pastime. This lawn set includes four blue bean bags, four red bean bags, and two boards decorated to resemble the American flag.

Find it: Amazon

8. U.S. Map Cutting Board; $20

Wooden cutting board in the shape of the U.S. map.
Totally Bamboo, Amazon

This 100 percent bamboo board eschews the traditional rectangle shape in favor of the outline of the American mainland. You can either keep it in the kitchen and use it as a cutting board or bring it out to the party as a serving platter for fruits, cheeses, and other hors d'oeuvres.

Find it: Amazon

9. Boston Tea Party Tea Sampler; $15

Six piles of loose-leaf tea.
Solstice Tea Traders, Amazon

A sip of one of the teas in this sampler will put you in touch with your inner revolutionary. Each of the six loose-leaf varieties—bohea black tea, oolong, congou black tea, souchong, singlo, and hyson—was among those tossed over the sides of British ships during the Boston Party. Whether you drink the tea or chuck it into the nearest harbor is up to you. (If you're looking for something to put on display, UncommonGoods also sells a slightly pricier, more elegant option with five teas.)

Find it: Amazon

10. State Map Prints; $27 and Up

A poster featuring a colorful map of Wisconsin
Bri Buckley, Society6

These unique prints by Bri Buckley highlight the beauty of each U.S. state in vibrant color. Each state map is available in both a modern and a vintage style, and like most Society6 art, the design is also available on tapestries, shirts, pillows, tote bags, and more.

Find it: Society6

11. Bald Eagle Pool Float; $15

A man and a woman ride a bald eagle pool float
Swimline, Amazon

Cool down the patriotic way this Fourth of July. This massive 8-foot-by-6-foot bald eagle pool float can fit up to two people comfortably, and will look great floating around your pool during your backyard barbecue.

Find it: Amazon

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated for 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!

Turn Your Phone Into an Instant Camera With KODAK's New Handheld Printer

KODAK
KODAK

Instant cameras are all the rage, but when you're already carrying a high-end camera everywhere you go in the form of your smartphone, the idea of carrying around an extra gadget might seem like more work than it's worth. You don't have to choose between the convenience of your phone's camera and the fun of having a tangible memento. KODAK's new SMILE digital printer combines all the fun of using filters and image editing on your phone with the delight of having a printed copy of your photo.

Blue, green, black, red, and white KODAK SMILE printers printing photos
The KODAK SMILE line of instant digital printers
KODAK

The handheld Bluetooth printer—which is roughly the same size as KODAK's SMILE instant digital camera—lets you edit photos on your phone, then print your image instantly on 2-inch-by-3-inch sticker paper. Using the KODAK SMILE app, you can add Instagram-esque filters; rotate images and change contrast, brightness, and other characteristics; and add stickers, text, doodles, and borders.

Most uniquely, you can add augmented reality elements to your photos, so that when you (or someone else with the KODAK SMILE app) point the app at the physical print, the image is replaced by a short video clip. The effect is something like the moving photographs in Harry Potter—you can surprise your friends by asking them to view a photo through the app's AR function, then watch their delight as the still image begins to move.

The KODAK SMILE app
KODAK

KODAK sent Mental Floss both the SMILE instant camera and the SMILE printer to test, and while there's a lot of fun in snapping photos on an instant camera and accepting whatever weird flaws that photo might have (though you can do some light editing on the SMILE camera before printing), in our opinion, the breadth of image-editing features and convenience of being able to print photos you've already taken on your smartphone makes the digital printer the better option if you're trying to choose between the two.

This is especially true if you're going on vacation or trying to capture a night out on camera; it's just easier to whip out your phone rather than break out another camera, and it's easier to edit photos on your phone than to manipulate photos on the SMILE instant camera's small screen.

Blue, black, green, white, and red KODAK SMILE instant-print cameras
The KODAK SMILE line of instant-print digital cameras
KODAK

The SMILE printer is available on Amazon and Walmart for $100 and comes in five different colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. The SMILE instant-print digital camera is also $100 on Amazon and Walmart and is available in the same colors.

While the camera and the printer both come with a starter pack of sticker-backed ZINK photo paper, you can get 50 refill sheets for $24 when you run out.

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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