Written by

Chris Gonzales

Photography

Artem Maltsev

We might’ve missed our chance last year to put together our annual list of offbeat gifts, but we couldn’t possibly let such an opportunity pass us by {Godfather voice} in this, the strangest year in recent memory.

It’s not going to be nearly as unhinged as that NYT Style gift guide from last week, but hopefully you’ll find something below that’s fun and/or useful.

When you’re done looking through this list, check out our 2020 Christmas Catalog and Stocking Stuffers list.

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metropolitan-museum-of-art-coasterrugs

Metropolitan Museum of Art CoasterRugs »

($24)

If you didn’t already know, there aredrink coasters that look like tiny rugs. I repeat, there are drink coasters that look like tiny rugs.

This particular set replicates carpets featured in The MetsIslamic Art collection, so not only do they make your drinking-and-setting-the-cup-down experience feel somehow~fancier~, they literally add culture to your home too.



tattly-temporary-tattoos

Tattly Designer Temporary Tattoos »

(Prices vary)

We haven’t featured Tattly’s awesome temporary tattoos nearly enough on T&T, which is a real shame because they’re so much better than those things you get out of the quarter machines. They’re designed by professional artists (who get a cut of every sale) to be fun for all ages, they’re printed with vegetable-based ink to be safe and non-toxic, and they’re even waterproof.

Start with their full sets to get an idea of what they offer but also dig around elsewhere on their site for other special designs and smaller packs. Even their 404 page leads to a hidden tattoo



whataburger-yeti-rambler-lowball

Whataburger YETI Rambler Lowball »

($30)

Is a 10-ounce YETI Rambler mug that lookslike a Whataburger cup an oddly specific sort of gift? Yes. Will it go over well with whoever you’re giving it to? …Sure? Maybe?

Like anyYETI Rambler, this is a vacuum-insulated stainless steel tumbler thatll keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for as long as science allows, so if nothing else, they’re getting a great mug outta the deal.



knock-knock-personal-library-kit

Knock Knocks Personal Library Kit »

($18)

If youre the type of person who often loans out books to friends and family a commendable public service, so thank you! Knock Knocks Personal Library Kit is a clever little way to make your lendings feel like the real deal.

It comes with 20 self-adhesive pockets and checkout cards for recording loans and borrower info, a pencil for writing those things down, and an inkpad + date stamp to gently remind borrowers when your precious volumes are due for return.



pretty-useful-co-nessie-sliding-enamel-pin

Nessie Sliding Enamel Pin by Pretty Useful Co. »

($15)

This three-layer hard enamel pinfrom Pretty Useful Co. who you may remember from theirRide or Die D20 spinner pin lets you slideNessieup from behind the waves by pushing her up from beneath.



welcome-industries-visual-measuring-cups

Welcome Industries Visual Measuring Cups »

($24)

Right at the center of the Venn diagram between Loves Cooking and Loves Pie Charts comesthis set of four measuring cups, the shapes of which represent whatever fraction they are e.g. 1 cup is a full circle, 翻 cup is a semicircle, etc.

Theyre 1) made from BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe, 2) can work wellfor legally blind people, 3) could probably be used to teach kids basic fractions, 4) make a great novelty gift besides, and 5) yes, they do stack together.



norpro-tad-dash-pinch-smidgen-and-drop-novelty-measuring-spoons

Norpro Tad, Dash, Pinch, Smidgen, and Drop Novelty Measuring Spoons »

($9)

Imagine it: You giftthese silly measuring spoonsto your frenemy, or that one cousin youve had a longstanding prank war with, or if youre feeling mean enough, your sweet old grandma. Whoever it is, you know theyre going to need a measuring spoon one day, and eventually theyre going to pull this set out of the kitchen drawer, thinking theyre the real deal.

Maybe they never looked closely enough at the measurement markings. Maybe theydidnotice and scoffed, then forgot about it after putting them away. The point is, one day youll faintly hear your name being cursed on the wind, and youll smile wickedly to yourself, knowing the deed was done.



weird-by-olga-khazan

Weird by Olga Khazan »

($21 hardcover, $18 paperback)

Feeling like an outsider at times is part and parcel of the human condition, and its something we all have to deal with in one form or another.

Olga Khazans Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World is all about the surprising strength that comes from embracing your own安ell, weirdness. The primary thrust of the book is essentially one question: Is being weird really such a bad thing? (I’m sure you can guess her conclusion.)

The people interviewed for the book managed to find insights in their own otherness, turning those things into advantages that helped them triumph in the face of adversity. Theres no reason you cant do the same.



inflatable-ergonomic-travel-pillow

Inflatable Ergonomic Travel Pillow »

($9)

Still having to do a lot of long-distance travel for work? There’s no better way to get some decent sleep on the way and signal to others that you’re not to be disturbed than with this inflatable travel pillow.

Even when you’re not sleeping, you can put some headphones on, set your phone inside the arm tube thing, and have yourself a private movie watching experience.



adam-j-kurtz-2021-unsolicited-advice-planner

Adam J. Kurtzs 2021 Unsolicited Advice Planner »

($28)

Adam J. Kurtz’s 10th annual Unsolicited Advice planner is quite unlike any planner youve ever used before. Sure, its got the usual JanDec planning stuff youd expect, but then its also got a bunch of奸ess-than-normal stuff. We’re talking fake holidays, silly jokes and illustrations, etc.

Everyone who buys one of these things is always gushing about the love and detail Kurtz pours into these planners each year.



wooden-monster-tissue-holder

Wooden Monster Tissue Holder »

($99)

A lot of items in this guide serve a real, actual purpose, while others are just something you’d love to have in your home for no other reason than you like looking at them.

This monster-shaped tissue box made from beech wood falls into the latter camp.

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C’mon, how cute is that lil’ fella?! Pricy, yes, but adorable enough that we don’t care.



silicone-steamship-steamer-lids

Silicone Steamship Steamer Lid Set »

($13)

These charming steamship steaming lids aren’t just a gimmick; they’re actually useful too.

Made from heavy duty food-safe silicone, each of the three lids with diameters measuring 5.6,8, and10respectively features a little steam boat in the middle, the funnels of which are simply steam holes to let out just enough steam to prevent pots and microwave bowls from boiling over while cooking.

The smokestack effect this creates is cute, and the lids work quite well for jobs like steaming veggies, reheating leftover chili, covering a skillet while frying eggs, etc.



magic-puzzle-company-jigsaw-puzzles

Magic Puzzle Companys Twist-Ending Jigsaw Puzzles »

($20 per puzzle)

The three 1,000-piece puzzles in this collection were respectively illustrated by indie artistsSarah Becan,Boya Sun, andFelicia Chiao. In that order, they are:

Each one is a work of art and self-contained story in its own right, loaded with dozens of Easter eggs and tiny details that can be enjoyed even at the individual-piece level but therealcool part comes when you complete a puzzle, revealing a 究ecret surprise using techniques from optical illusions and magic.

Thats right, these arejigsaw puzzles with twist endings.Definitely not something you come across every day.



shave-well-anti-fog-shaving-mirror

The Shave Well Companys Anti-Fog Shaving Mirror »

($10)

For some, shaving in the shower is a much better experience than standing at a sink and dripping water everywhere despite all precautions. The one disadvantage though? Not having a mirror to see what you’re doing.

Well, not so with the Shave Well fogless shower mirror.

It doesn’t rely on crappy suction cups to stick to the wall, it hangs on a hook that adheres with two-way tape. You just take the mirror off the hook and run it under the water a few seconds to warm it up, which keeps it fog-free for a while. Then, you can either hang it back up or hold it in your hand while you shave (or brush your teeth, if you’re into doing that in the shower too).



newsight-reversible-umbrella

Newsight Reversible Umbrella »

($20)

You know whats always annoying about umbrellas? When you fold one as you come in from the rain, only to have it sit there dripping all over your floor or car interior. But thats not what happens when you use a reversible umbrella like this.

The two canopy layers fold inside out that is, the ribs fold upward instead of the other way around, the bottom layer becoming the exterior one and the top layer nestling inside of that. This keeps all those rain droplets safely contained inside until youre ready to pour them out and let the umbrella air-dry.

Almost as neat is the fact that, once the waters out and the umbrellas still folded, it can be flipped over to stand upright on its own or simply hung from your wrist using the C-shaped hook handle.

They’ve got a whole bunch of designs to choose from, so not only is your umbrella super useful, it’s sure to be the most eyecatching one around.



yama-glass-cold-brew-coffee-tower

Yama Glass Cold Brew Coffee Tower »

($255)

Lemme tell you something: You gift one of these coffee towers to someone, there’s no way they’ll be able to top it. I mean look at it! This slow-drip contraption is easily the most 19th-century-science-experiment way of making cold brew coffee at home even moreso than a siphon pot.

  + Lots more details in our original post.



cafelat-robot-manual-espresso-maker

Cafelat Robot Manual Espresso Maker »

(from $310)

Another novel way of making coffee comes in the form of the Cafelat Robot, a manual espresso press designed to look like…well, a retro robot the clawed arms of which act as levers when pulling espresso shots.

Dont let its cutesy looks fool you. This thing can produce a mean shot of espresso, rivaling any of its competition.

  + See our original post for details on their buying options and such.



jungwiealt-robot-stamps

Jungwiealt Robot Component Rubber Stamps »

($33)

The 28 wood-backed stamps in this set depict various shapes from simple geometric ones to more complex ones and robotic parts, which can be stamped in such a way that you create your own cute ink robot characters. A fun gift for an ingenuitive kid or, for the adult working from home.



cooks-book-kitchen-scales

Cooks Book Kitchen Scales »

($30)

From the ever-oddly-named Suck UK who we once featured for theirCork Cube tape dispenser comes theCooks Book Kitchen Scale, a glass-top digital food scale concealed in a wipe-clean hardback book cover so you can keep it on the same shelf as your recipe books without it sticking out like a sore thumb.

cooks-book-kitchen-scales-2

It supports up to 11 lb (5kg) of weight and makes an attractive little addition to any kitchen besides. It even comes with a handy reference card with some common unit conversions so you dont have to turn to Google in the middle of meal prep.