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With the holidays gearing up, it’s time to prepare for some winter revelry, and to find the right gifts for science-minded friends and family.

Whether you and yours are into microbes, molecules, brains, or blood, here are a few gifts to celebrate the season with science.

Gift Guide 2016
Gold-plated double helix necklace Delftia via Etsy

Treasured DNA

With the rapid-fire discoveries currently being made in gene-editing and genomic databases, DNA is definitely in fashion. So why not wear proudly your love for the double helix? Perhaps a necklace or earrings of the chemical backbone of life, or a ring of gold and sterling silver. Not into that? Then maybe a DNA belt buckle, money clip, or key chain is more your style.


Gift Guide 2016
DNA key chain The DNA Store

Or, for a more functional genetic gift, you could offer your loved ones a safe place to keep their genetic code with a personal DNA vault from GENiSYSS. The thumb drive-type device holds genetic material in a tiny blood droplet, along with a digital copy of the sequenced genome and uploaded files. Three sizes offer DNA and personal information storage for an adult, a child, or an entire family.

Gift Guide 2016
Decanter from the “Strange Carafes” series Etienne Meneau sculptures

Bottoms up

For the hematologist, phlebotomist, or vampire on your gift list, check out these blood vessel wine decanters. Veins and arteries take shape in hand-blown glass, and each decanter holds a full bottle of your favorite wine. (Of course, they are most striking when filled with a classic red.)


Gift Guide 2016
Cerebral coasters ThinkGeek

And to make those conversations over cocktails or coffee a bit smarter, brainiacs would appreciate these brain coasters. Each of the 10 offers a detailed reproduction of a different horizontal slice of the brain. Stack the coasters together, and the slices come together into one 3-D brain image.

Gift Guide 2016
Molecular gastronomy kit UncommonGoods

Fancy foodstuffs

Is someone on your list longing to create super-creamy mashed potatoes or ginger and carrots that look like caviar? Give that mad scientist/chef this molecular gastronomy kit and let them cook up creations including cubed honey, finely powdered Parmesan, and foamed meat sauces. The kit includes pipettes and silicone tubes along with a DVD of recipes bound to make dinner a lot more interesting.

And for dessert, enjoy the sweet deliciousness of lungs, hearts, and kidneys. CambridgeChocolates turns Belgian and milk chocolate into melt-in-your-mouth lollipops in the shapes of internal organs — perfect for the chocoholic with a nerdy bent.

Gift Guide 2016
The MA-60 MagniScope from Carson Optical Carson

Microbial fun

If you love someone who really loves microorganisms, the Amazing Bacteria Science Kit may be just the thing. Petri dishes prefilled with agar along with cotton-tipped swabs come ready for use. All you need is the desire to swab every conceivable surface — body parts, tabletops, the cat, you name it. Touch the swab to the agar and find out what lives around you.

Or, let the amateur biologists in your life get a closer look at things slightly larger than bacteria — think insects, skin, or foods in your fridge — with Carson’s portable microscope. Mount it on a smartphone and conveniently examine and photograph the microscopic world.

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