’Tis the season for the gift of science. And we’ve taken some of the work out of the holiday by rounding up the most inspired, innovative, and delightful gift ideas for anyone on your list.
Maybe you’ve got a budding young scientist in your family, or you want to inspire someone in your life to love medicine. Maybe you’ve got a friend in a scientific profession — or one who dabbles on the side. Or maybe you need that perfect something for a colleague, neighbor, or your family physician.
In any case, take a look at our ideas below — and share your own in the comments!
1. DIY gene-editing
Your science-loving buddy can conduct an experiment with bacterial genes and get a better understanding of how gene-editing works with this DIY Bacterial Gene Engineering CRISPR Kit. It comes with agar, non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria, RNA plasmid, template DNA, an adjustable pipette with tips, a microcentrifuge set, and everything else you need for a hands-on lesson in molecular biology and gene engineering techniques.
2. Wear your feelings
For a truly feel-good holiday present, all you need are the molecules that flood the brain with positive feeling. Available in dopamine, caffeine, and serotonin, this necklace lets you give the gift of happiness on a molecular level. And after choosing the molecule and the finish in gold, rose gold, or silver, you can further personalize it by adding the recipient’s birthstone.
3. Body buddies
The little future physicians on your list have probably already played “Operation” — but these toys take them closer to the anatomical reality. For the younger ones, Uncommon Goods’s Little Patient is a cuddly human anatomical model with a collection of plush organs to place and replace. For kids with bigger curiosity, SmartLab offers its Squishy Human Body, a model with bones and soft, pliable, removable organs. This anatomy set comes with a chart for sorting the parts, and a book explaining organ and system functions.
4. Hidden heart monitor
If atrial fibrillation affects you or someone you’re caring for, you already know the dangers: an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Getting control over this common but potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder means being on the lookout for rapid and irregular heartbeats. This compact personal EKG reader gives a medical-grade result in less than a minute, and can send readings to your smartphone. Save the readings for your doctor to review later.
5. Anatomical accessories
Stylish and maybe a bit macabre, this brass skeleton cuff gives your present-day or future medical professional an elegant view of medicine’s past. Or the spinal column design could be just the thing for that special chiropractor or back surgeon in your life. Adjustable to fit most wrists, these cuffs feature vintage labeled medical illustrations of bone structures lightly etched onto polished brass. A black finish gives this wearable art a sophisticated touch.
6. Smart support
Keep a loved one on their feet and out of trouble with a Smartcane. Unlike other walking canes, this one contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, and other movement sensors to track the user’s physical positioning — walking, standing, sitting, or lying down — along with when and how quickly their position changes. By combining the user’s movement data with readings from walking surfaces and other environmental elements, the cane learns the user’s regular habits to detect unusual situations. The result is that the cane can detect when the user has fallen, hasn’t gotten out of bed, or has remained in the same position for too long, and send an alert to a caregiver’s smartphone.
7. Surgical training
Any wannabe surgeons on your list may not be stitching up wounds or incisions just yet, but learning how won’t hurt, as long as they aren’t practicing on you. The How to Suture Wounds Course and Kit comes with a triple-layer “imitation skin” practice pad, along with catgut and nylon thread, forceps, and needles. A CD-ROM contains step-by-step instructions along with videos and reading materials explaining suturing uses, techniques, and complications.
8. Cuddly microbes
Send a cold or flu virus to a sick pal. Pass along an HIV, sperm cell, or ovum to the sex educator on your list. Give an extra brain cell to that lovable goofball who has killed a few. At a million times the actual size of the cells, viruses, and bacteria they mimic, these plushy toys are a way to acknowledge the tiniest life forms in our lives, and the people who love, hate, and tolerate them.
9. A true selfie
For a one-of-a-kind picture of the purest form of you, get your very own DNA portrait. Just send in a swab of the inside of your cheek and choose the color and frame. Then show off your unique genetics, professionally mounted on canvas, as abstract art in your bedroom, or center the portrait on a living room wall as a futuristic accent that is truly all you.
10. Cell fashions
Wrap your loved one in scientific style with some biochemistry-inspired fashions. Maybe this chromosome print dress or double helix cardigan is the perfect look for the next medical or biological sciences conference. Perk up a drab lab by pairing this bright teal mitosis print dress with leggings or jeans. And with most items available in sizes up to 5X, any science lover can boldly step out in bright red blood cells or glow-in-the-dark neurons, or go playful with a dancing DNA print.
11. Gluten-detecting gadget
For that buddy of yours with a gluten sensitivity or allergy, mealtime can be a frustrating affair. But they will love you forever if you get them this handy gluten tester. Compact and simple to use, it only takes a small sample of food and two minutes to find out whether a food item contains gluten. It’s an easy way to avoid meals that could trigger painful and annoying reactions, and to make dining experiences a little less treacherous.
12. Blood test
Has your group of tweens been watching too many police procedurals? Whatever the motivation, the Forensic Chemistry of Blood Types Kit will help them learn how to tell blood types apart and see how crime labs use blood to narrow down lists of suspect lists. But don’t worry; the blood in the kit is synthetic.
13. Kitchen chemistry
This chemist’s spice rack is perfect for nerdy foodies who make every meal an experiment. Four flasks and nine stoppered test tubes allow any cook to ready their kitchen for conducting culinary trials. Label the flasks for often-used staples like salt, pepper, sugar, and oil. The test tubes hold smaller amounts and are ideal for keeping herbs, special spice blends, and secret ingredients.