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Got health-obsessed relatives? Science-loving friends? There’s a little something for everyone in STAT’s first annual holiday gift guide.

We did our best to round up off-the-beaten-path science and health gift ideas that range from the practical, to the playful … to the pathogenic.

So without further ado, the list:


Self swab


Christmas is a time of community, and we think that should extend to your millions of microbial residents. Friends and family on a self-hacking kick can find out what’s living in and on their bodies with a send-away microbiome testing kit, like this one from uBiome. Or try the monthly subscription for a gift that keeps on giving.

Germy decor

Gift Guide: Petri Dish Ornaments
artologica via Etsy

For those who prefer sharing their bacteria with others, check out these petri dish ornaments. Merry microbes give them festive colors and patterns — but don’t worry, nosophobics, they’re just watercolors.


Fitness fashion

Gift Guide: Swarovski Activity

Rubber fitness bracelets are so 2015. The new trend: haute-couture jewelry that hides high-tech functionality, from the likes of Swarovski and Tory Burch. They can track the number of steps you’ve walked, your running distance, sleeping patterns, and more.

Precise cuts

Gift Guide: Cutting Board Wooden Obsessive
MoMA Store

Geometry can make creating healthy meals at home a lot more fun. For discerning salad enthusiasts who like perfectly bias-cut radish slices or rhomboid hunks of carrot, this hardwood cutting board lets them slice and dice with accurate measurements of lines and angles.

Smart sips

Gift Guide: Smart water bottle

Health advice may be fickle at times, but no one’s arguing you should drink less water. A smart water bottle can tell you how well you’re doing, either working alone or connecting with your phone.

Clean water

Gift Guide: Lifestraw

But, for outdoorsy types, what if your water bottle is empty in the middle of the wilderness? Just take a swig from the nearest stream, pond, or lake, with the LifeStraw personal water filter. It removes sediments, bacteria, and other unpleasantness, so you can rehydrate without worry.

Standing order

Gift guide: Standing desk

Studies showing how bad constant sitting is for your body just keep coming. So a sit-stand desk could be just the thing for the office rats on your list. These adjustable desks, like this well-reviewed version from Ikea, get users off their butts and on their feet for greater alertness, productivity, and health.

Genetic colors

Gift Guide: Plasmid art
sandraculliton via Etsy

A customized plasmid DNA map makes a beautiful sciencey gift for any art lovers on your list. For a plasmid to illustrate, you could consider the one just discovered in E. coli that makes them resistant to last-line antibiotics. That should be holiday cheer aplenty.