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10 STEM Gifts for Teachers & Friends Under $50

At this point of writing this blog post, my brain has been melting from college applications, as the brain cells are evaporating from my head with every failed supplemental essay that I write. So, I am in desperate need of a distraction right now. As a result, now would be an excellent time to discuss the holiday season, especially since it is almost certainly the time to buy gifts for your teachers and friends!

Of course, I do want to point out, you definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money to buy expensive gifts for your friends and teachers! The best gift is always something heartfelt, so if you don’t know what to get, you could always write a nice, thoughtful letter, and it will definitely mean a lot to your recipient. You could also decorate it by making and painting your cards, as I always like to make watercolor drawings for my holiday cards (P.S. If you’re not the best artist when drawing from scratch, I recommend looking on Pinterest for simple drawings). However, if you’re looking for gift ideas right now, I just wanted to share some of my favorite things that I’ve found, all for under $50, in case you have absolutely no clue what you want to buy.

Personally, my recent favorites for finding gifts have been to go on Etsy (not sponsored, by the way) and search for gift ideas, since Etsy has a lot of vendors with really cute and unique items. For teachers, you can find some gifts that are subject-specific! For example, I found a customizable Periodic Table keychain and a DNA strand necklace on Etsy, which were perfect for my teachers and the people at my lab. If you’re more artistically-inclined, you might like making your own gifts! This year, I’m making a diaper cake for a family friend (yup, that’s a thing. It’s a bunch of diapers, but decorated to look like a cake), and we’re also making mini Christmas wreaths from our tree branches. A lot of these things aren’t too bad to handmake, so I recommend going on Pinterest for inspiration! But, to give you some gift inspiration, I’ve created a list of a few items for you to check out as you find gifts for the important people (and science geeks) in your life!

(P.S. None of these are sponsored or affiliated with the blog. However, many of these items were gifts that I gave to my friends and teachers!

1. DNA Double Helix Necklace

Okay, isn’t this just the most adorable thing? Personally, I’m obsessed with this, and I think it’s so elegant but clever. I love small jewelry like this, so I think this is a really clever gift for a biologist. You can also search for different molecules, like chemical compounds, microscopes, or planet necklaces!

2. Astronaut and Space-Themed Fuzzy Socks

These socks are just so cute, I absolutely love the tiny floating astronauts and the adorable little planets! I’ve definitely been wearing a ton of fuzzy socks around the house myself, so I would love a nice set of astronaut-themed socks. There are more than just space-themed socks though, I’ve also found socks with math scribbles on them!

3. Biology-Themed Christmas Tree Ornaments

These Christmas ornaments are also super cute, with some iconic structures in biology! Alright, while I find them pretty iconic, my mom said that she had no clue what they were supposed to be when she first saw them. But to me, I think they’re adorable.

These would definitely make some very unique cookies for Christmas, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a science-themed cookie before. But, I think it would be cool to give all your gingerbread men some lab coats, pipettes, and lab equipment!

5. GiantMicrobes Plush

I saw these EVERYWHERE. When I was looking for gift ideas on websites, I kept coming across people talking about these GiantMicrobes plushies. Which, to be honest, are quite adorable. They have a ton of different microbes and biology-related plushies, ranging from infectious viruses to vaccines!

6. Science-Themed Keychain Holder

These are also pretty handy, obviously for carrying keys. If you’re giving a gift to a college student, I will say that ID card holders and lanyards are very useful. At most colleges, we have to scan our ID in and out of every building, and it’s a hassle to take it out of your purse every time!

7. Petri Dish Soap

I thought this was hilarious—soap shaped like Petri dishes? Fun fact, I have a soap-collecting hobby, and adorably-shaped soaps are definitely something that I love. Even for people who don’t have a soap-collecting hobby, this is still a really nice gift!

8. Custom Scientific Publication Mug

If you work at a lab and your lab recently published a big paper, this is a good chance to celebrate that accomplishment by printing the paper onto the mug! This is especially sweet to commemorate first papers or major breakthroughs for a lab PI or a Ph.D. student.

9. Science Artwork

There is a wide variety out there, from watercolors of pathogens to planets, and they’re all very beautiful pieces! I’ve linked a print of the Milky Way, and I love the adorable drawings and the fact that they included both the Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt.

10. Solar Printing Kit

This one is something quite specific that I happened to stumble across as I was browsing through Etsy, but I think it looks really, really cool! I personally love making cards by hand, so I imagine that the cards you can make from these prints would look quite pretty.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful in your gift-shopping journey! For all my college seniors out there, good luck on surviving your regular decision applications, and have a happy holiday season!

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