Right about now, the countdown towards Christmas—and the gift-giving frenzy—starts to get serious. But here at Atlas Obscura, we don’t want to bequeath just any generic or personality-lacking present. Because you want to show thoughtful consideration for every unique person in your life, here are some gifts that range from quizzical to downright bizarre. Including ancient Viking games, chunks of the universe, and an edible ostrich egg, these ideas are carefully curated by our exploration-addicted staff. And if you’re still scratching your head, check out our gift guides from years past for more ways to shine this year.
Sometimes kids ask more questions than we have answers for. Satisfy their inquisitive minds with gifts that get them thinking and occupy their time, from puzzles to adventure kits. And for the Peter Pans out there, many of these ideas are applicable at any age—because childhood exploration doesn’t end.
Whether or not your loved ones realized they needed a leather shrimp fan in their lives, every gift on this list is meant to be an indulgence. From international spice kits to a Germanic-influenced beer caramelizer, many of these treats come from around the world. Get ready for homages to food and edible gifts. After all, we’ve surely all wanted to try actual sugar plums.
It’s not just another perfume bottle or an average watch; everything on this list stands out from your everyday trinkets. Whether recipients want to revive a lost medieval trend or start a shiny new one, these gifts are ready to make a statement. There’s no shame in being an original.
Monsters, the Milky Way, and strange paintings all deserve several chapters of their own. Curl up for hours with your favorite obsessions or get lost in new topics you don’t understand (yet). We’ve also included gifts to display a love of reading, from apparel that praises banned books to a sword bookmark to make readers feel like they’re conquering pages.
Stargazing is so wonderful in the winter, when the dry air is crisp and the heavens come into focus more sharply—if you can handle the cold. Beyond your beginner telescopes and glasses for the upcoming eclipse—both utter necessities—we have suggestions for the coziest way to stay warm in the cool night and admire the heavens in relative comfort. Plus, moon almanacs and astronomical subscriptions will keep you occupied indoors as well.
When you’ve missed all the last delivery dates, we’re here for you. These engaging subscriptions and online gifts will have you sorted in no time. So even if you’ve turned into the White Rabbit and are running very late, these gifts will still take you and yours to Wonderland.