Holiday Gift Guide 2019: 13 Weird & Wonderful Gift Ideas from Museums

Great Gifts for the Museum Lover in Your Life

The holiday season is back, and with it come the stress and pressure of gift-giving. We’re here to help.

The ideal gift for anyone who likes fun, obviously, is a Watson Adventures gift certificate. They’re good toward public and private scavenger hunts all across the country! For those who prefer stuff, we scoured museum gift shops for some of the cutest, coolest, and just plain strangest gifts you could give this holiday season.

Let Love Bloom

Flowers are hard to beat as a classic gift, and now you can pretend each one is blood gushing out of a realistically sculpted human heart! This golden porcelain heart vase will donate a burst of color to any wall, counter, or ice-filled cooler.  $129; image courtesy of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Gift Like an Egyptian

Speaking of organ storage, this replica canopic jar set is the perfect gift for the pharaoh who has everything. In pyramid times, these were used to hold a mummy’s organs, but you can—and almost certainly should—keep, like, pens and spare change in them.  $30; image courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science

Funny Bones

You ever visit the dinosaur hall at a natural history museum and think, “Wow, these things are all super dead”? Chicago’s Field Museum has captured that spirit with its exclusive Everything Is Dead collection, featuring dancing dino skeletons inspired by the Grateful Dead bears. Once you get past the macabre slogan, the clothing, drinkware, and assorted trinkets are all pretty cute, honestly.  Prices vary; image courtesy of the Field Museum

Pi Day

Our only complaint about this clever Digits of Pi Salad Bowl is that you’re making us eat salad when all we want now is pie.  $144; image courtesy of the National Museum of Mathematics

Ring Ring, Tick Tock

Confuse the Millennials in your life with this retro rotary phone miniature clock. Yes, that’s what phones and clocks used to look like, wayyyy back when your parents were riding woolly mammoths to school. Uphill both ways. Barefoot. In the snow.  $50; image courtesy of the Tenement Museum

Toilet Paper Calendar

Wait. Why is that guy in a suit of armor? What is he going to do with that banana? What in the world is a toilet paper calendar?!  $22; image courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art

It’s Filed Under “Luxurious Gifts,” By the Way

Happy holidays, here’s a foot. A heavy, expensive foot.  $165; image courtesy of the Getty Center

The Gang’s All Ear

If you’ve ever thought your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth should all be jumbled up together, then you might be a Cubist. Show off your Picasso-y pride—and your disdain for the Golden Ratio—with these Cubist profile earrings$32; image courtesy of New-York Historical Society

Whimsy by David

British artist David Shrigley shows off his blunt-yet-whimsical side with a collection of merchandise at the the Art Institute of Chicago. We’re partial to the refreshingly self-assured “Booze” flask and the bold “Don’t Touch My Stuff Tote.”  Prices vary; image courtesy of AIC

Tarot, But Make It Art

Let your favorite artists inspire your creativity and steer your destiny with this set of Art Oracles tarot cards. Matisse encourages you to “unleash the beast within.” Munch suggests you “scream into a canvas pillow.” And Marcel Duchamp offers fond well wishes: “May your bathroom humour leave a serious legacy.”  $15; image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Hey, Big Spender

While the MoMA Design Store offers plenty of cool, reasonably priced gifts, things get really fun when you notice the price-range filter and click the little box for items $3,000 and up. Can we interest you in a a $4,200 torture chair? A $4,800 meat slicer? Perhaps a $6,000 cat clock?!  Prices vary but are all insane; image courtesy of MoMA

Whosoever Holds This Hammer

…Shall possess the power of a big goofy Thor! Treat a friend (or yourself) to this oversized Mjolnir and recreate that famous Avengers chill sesh. And since the thing’s foam, you can all be at least as worthy to wield it as Captain America.  $200; image courtesy of MoPOP

Jingle Balls

Feeling nutty this holiday season? Blow all the other white elephant gifts away with this super-cute testicle plush$20; image courtesy of Mütter Museum

Lead image by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash