Gifts for all 7 senses.
This year, give the history lover in your life a gift that makes them say Wow! We’ve got some ideas that appeal to all seven (yes, seven) senses.
The Sense of Touch
Nothing feels like history more than the old, handwritten pages of a diary.
And this gorgeous leather-bound journal from DanielsArtPlanet on Etsy truly looks historic. With 220 handmade deckle pages waiting to record adventures, it might even inspire the receiver to go out and do something interesting just so they can write it down.
Teddy Roosevelt Bust
This touchable decoration is the perfect gift for anyone who doesn’t have a Teddy Roosevelt bust on their shelves—it’s a Teddy Roosevelt bust from 3D Printed History on Etsy!
You can choose the size from 5″ to 7″, and they also have other historical figures like Washington, young Lincoln, FDR, and a whole legion of Roman emperors.
The 8 Former Presidents Marx Never Made
If busts are too heady, maybe you know someone who’s looking to complete their collection of Marx presidential figurines which stopped being made in the 1960s. Ebay has you covered!
Artist Patric M. Verrone has created matching figurines for the presidents Marx never made, starting with Gerald Ford. (I can attest that they fit in perfectly with the old ones.)
Another gift that puts history in your hands is this 50-card bamboo Historic Cartoons gift set.
Political cartoons from the colonial period to the Civil Rights Area are reproduced in their original colors on high-quality card stock, and each card has a detailed description of the cartoon’s context on the back.
The Sense of Sight
Shirts and hoodies are great gifts because the receiver gets to wear them, and everyone else gets to see them. TeePublic’s vast assortment of shirts are all made by independent artists, like ourselves.
Facts Are Stubborn Things – John Adams Shirt
Consider this visually striking Facts Are Stubborn Things shirt from the Plodding Through The Presidents store on TeePublic that tells people, I like facts, and John Adams, *and* Stranger Things.
William Henry Harrison – For A Good Time Shirt
Then there’s this William Henry Harrison shirt that’s a great conversation starter with those who know about William Henry Harrison’s abbreviated tenure as president and think enough time has passed to make jokes about it.
Note: TeePublic says that women’s sizes might run small so ordering at least one size up is recommended for the best fit. And if it doesn’t fit—they have an excellent returns policy.
Books are always great gifts, but the best gift books—books that just don’t work as well on an e-reader—are illustrated histories that can immediately be enjoyed by thumbing through them and then feasted upon later.
The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft & Magic
For the history lover who enjoys witchcraft and magic, there’s The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft & Magic, which not only has great illustrations but also thoughtful essays by experts in the field. One Amazon review calls it “a well presented academically sound introductory overview of a vastly branched subject matter—lavishly illustrated.”
You can find Oxford Illustrated History books on several topics, including The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War for the military history enthusiast.
And for those who don’t need a whole bunch of pictures in their books, both Lindsay Chervinsky’s The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution and H. W. Brands’ Our First Civil War: Patriots and Loyalists in the American Revolution are fascinating dives into American beginnings.
The Sense of Smell
Tudor Castle Candle
Know someone who can’t get enough of Tudor history? They’ll lose their head over this Tudor Castle Candle from TudorGiftsByMichele on Etsy.
There are several scents to choose from (including Tudor Christmas) but Tudor Castle’s listing promises “the moody scents of amber, patchouli, mulled cider, and fireplace smoke with a wooden wick providing a robust crackle and burn.” It’s a musty must-have.
The Sense of Taste
Teas of the Boston Tea Party
How can someone taste history? By imbibing this set of Teas of the Boston Tea Party from Uncommon Goods that are identical to the varieties dumped into the Boston Harbor at the Boston Tea Party, that’s how.
And you can steep your tea in what has to be the coolest tea mug I’ve ever seen.
Ben Franklin Tea Mug
From the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, this Ben Franklin Tea Mug tea mug of Ben Franklin’s experiment with electricity has a special notch cut out so you can hang your tea label over the side and turn it into Ben’s kite. What will they think of next?
Presidential Pets Mug
If your history lover is into pets, get a load of this uncommonly good Presidential Pets Mug from Uncommon Goods.
The Sense of Hearing
Audible Gift Membership
For the history lover who gets most of their content through their earholes, you can’t go wrong with an Audible Gift Membership. Each 3, 6, or 12 moth membership comes with access to Audible’s all-you-can-listen catalog of thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, and originals, and one credit per month good for any title in the app that they get to keep forever.
One great thing about audiobooks is that so many are read by the author, including Nick Offerman’s insightful new book “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside” which really pops when read in his robust, dulcet tones.
The Sense of Proprioception
Did you think there were only five senses? Please. That idea is more outdated than having nine planets. There are at least two more senses we lump in with the others now.
Proprioception, sometimes known as the sixth sense, is the sense of self-movement and body awareness. It’s what lets you put on chap stick without looking in the mirror.
And speaking of old chaps…
Stiff Upper Lip Balm
You can’t go wrong with some Winston Churchill-inspired Stiff Upper Lip Balm from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. Honestly, chap stick in the winter is a great stocking stuffer to start with, but this just puts it over the top.
The Vestibular Sense
The final sense is your vestibular sense, and it’s all about movement—the sense of balance and equilibrium and gravity that helps keep you upright and functionally moving through space.
And who wouldn’t love a gift that helps someone move through very cool spaces, like historic parks?
Museum and Park Passes
What better gift than a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass that covers entrance fees or day use fees to more than 2,000 recreation areas, including the Adams National Historical Park?
And then there’s a perfect gift for someone who’s more into the history of movement and also likes to drink things.
This History of the Bicycle Mug from Museum Selection is so cool it’s totally worth importing from the UK.
Bonus Sense: The Sense of Curiosity
Okay, curiosity doesn’t qualify as a “sense” like the others, but I’m including it because it lets me add two more awesome things to this list.
One Day University
The first is a gift subscription to One Day University which is sort of like Netflix, but instead of movies and TV shows it’s the best recorded lectures of world-class professors. They have a vast video library of history content and more.
Here’s an example of what a One Day University subscriber sees when they sign in:
Let’s face it, college is wasted on the young. This is a gift that helps you never stop learning.
The second curiosity-satisfying gift idea is a subscription to Newspapers.com.
For the aspiring genealogist or researcher, Newspapers.com is truly part of an at-home holy research trinity that includes Google and Google Books. In fact, Newspapers.com helped me find out my great-great grandmother was known for a time as “Joliet’s Cataleptic Lunatic” and treated with gobs of cocaine. Who knows what you may find out?
And one of my favorite recommendations for a history lover is a gift certificate to a great independent bookstore. IndieBound has a great search-by-zip tool for finding independent bookstores near you. (I just used it and found out there’s a romantic bookstore nearby called The Ripped Bodice—how cool is that?)
Share some of your own great history gift suggestions in the comments!