Updated on March 5, 2021 by Asher Fergusson
If you have a loved one in your life who is a professor by trade, you might find it tricky to think of something clever to gift on holidays and for special events. Perhaps the recipient is not very materialistic, assigning much more value to the abilities of the mind. But when the occasion arises to give something special, you understandably want to find a present that suits their lifestyle. Here are 27 brilliant gift ideas for intellectuals and academics from any field or specialty.
27 Best & Unique Gifts for Professors
Bringing lunch from home is not only cost effective, but often a much healthier alternative to eating out or in the cafeteria each day. This unique bento-style lunch box makes packing a meal fun and simple. A stack of 3 leak proof stainless steel compartments allow for variety, stacking neatly and fitting into the stylish carrying case. When nestled in the insulated bag, this set can keep food warm or cold for 2-3 hours.
No, that title isn’t a mistake. Tequila Mockingbird is a book of cocktail ideas inspired by literature, and the name is a clever pun on the famous American novel. Intellectuals who enjoy a relaxing drink will appreciate the smart, creative recipes with clever names based on other fun reworkings of classic book titles. The price is perfect for pairing with a bottle of the recipient’s favorite spirit or a fine set of cocktail glasses.
Most academics have more books than they know what to do with. These beautiful agate bookends are made from slices of natural stones, revealing the colorful crystalized beauty inside. Available in 4 different weights to accommodate any size of book, there are also 6 stunning colors to choose from. A great gift for professors of geology and science, or anyone who appreciates the wonders of nature.
There is nothing quite like the rich, full-bodied flavor of coffee brewed in the french press style. With demanding schedules, papers to grade, and early classes to teach, many professors are coffee aficionados. A french press travel mug allows the recipient to brew a fine cup on the go and take it with them anywhere. Consider giving this unique gift with a bag of local coffee beans (in a dark roast for best results).
This collection of 4 puzzles make an attractive decoration for desks and reading room side tables, in addition to providing a challenging diversion for intellectuals. Crafted of attractive wood in various tones, each one is inspired by great thinkers from 4 different ancient civilizations. Brain teasers are a great way to relieve stress and practice using logic and reason. They arrive ready for gifting, arranged in a beautifully designed box.
Professors who commute to campus via bicycle will love this rustic, vintage-inspired cup holder. It can be adjusted to fit any bike handle, keeping beverages upright and handy during a ride. The fine, durable leather only looks better with time and exposure to weather. A leather cup holder is a stylish and practical gift guaranteed to please bike commuters and casual cyclists alike. Maybe include a travel coffee mug or nice water bottle to create a road-ready set.
Under $25 for professors
A pen is something professors use every day. They make notes for lectures, grade papers, maintain calendars and do copious amounts of research. This high-quality Swiss ink gel pen is made from beautiful red sandalwood and features a smooth, reliable rollerball for any type of writing. An ink refill is included, and it comes thoughtfully packaged in a box. It is a lovely present on its own, but the price point makes this pen an excellent add-on item to any other gift.
Academics tend to sit frequently, as do so many professionals who endure a significant amount of desk work. This can lead to pain and discomfort, hindering sleep and making it difficult to move with ease. A lumbar pillow is a great way to support the muscles and bones while sitting. This one is composed of memory foam, features an ergonomic shape and can be used at the lower back, shoulders, or neck to prevent aches and stiffness.
Those who wear glasses or use readers might find themselves constantly in search of their trusty pair. This eyeglass stand can sit on a desk, countertop, nightstand or bookshelf to offer a designated place and eliminate the annoyance of a time-consuming hunt. The quirky nose design is sure to amuse. It is handmade from artisan wood with a deep mahogany tone and sized to accommodate any type of spectacle.
Professors use slideshows to present materials to their students. It can be tedious to click through each frame manually, but this presentation remote offers a seamless solution. It’s compatible with both Microsoft and Apple products, as well as Google apps. The wireless device allows remote navigation between slides, plus volume control for videos and sound clips. It even has a laser pointer for easily discussing specifics of photos and charts. This tool simply makes life easier and promotes more professional appearances during lectures or conferences.
For academics, there is no such thing as too many notebooks for so many reasons. The Moleskine line of products has a cult following for its quality and durability. The neat design features sturdy vegan leather binding and an elastic band for keeping the notebook closed and pages protected. Fine paper is perfect for any type of pencil or pen as notes and outlines are preserved through time. It is available in 9 colors to match any personality or collegiate theme.
Professors are often on the road as guest lecturers, to attend conferences, or promote their written works. This set of organic toiletries includes everything needed for personal care while traveling. The products contain no parabens or other known toxic chemicals and have a natural, gender-neutral fragrance that anyone can enjoy. The liquid sizes are suitable for carry-on baggage and the set is conveniently packaged in a TSA-approved zip closure bag for easy transport.
Any collegiate professor will tell you that the most irritating questions they are asked occur when a student has failed to read the syllabus. This humorous coffee cup is laser-engraved with the phrase ‘Read the Syllabus,’ hilariously reminding everyone to start each course by doing the obvious. It’s made of BPA-free non-toxic stoneware and is both dishwasher and microwave safe. Adding humor to the enjoyment of a hot beverage or used to hold pens on a desk, this mug will certainly amuse teachers in any field of study.
Birthday gifts for Professors
It’s common for a professor’s desk to be a chaotic mess, making it difficult to find needed items or stay sane. This desk organizer with a neutral, modern design keeps office supplies in place and creates a professional appearance. No more searching crowded desk tops and cluttered drawers for a clip, sticky note or pen. There’s even a convenient spot to stand smartphones upright and keep them in sight. This organizer is available in 3 different colors that all look great with any type of academic decor.
15. Lap Desk — $$
Sometimes after a long day, it’s more appealing to work while reclining in bed or sitting on the sofa. This lap desk offers optimal support for a laptop computer of any size, creating a level surface for typing or scrolling. A padded fabric wrist pad and leg props provide comfort and ergonomic ease of use. Expertly crafted from environmental wood, it’s also a stylish piece that won’t be an eyesore.
A quality button-down shirt is an important part of a professor’s work wardrobe, and is something they can make use of on a daily basis. This 100% cotton version by Amazon Essentials features comfortable fabric and a fit that anyone can wear. Choose from 15 colors and patterns to suit the recipient’s personal style and taste. It’s great for professional engagements, but can also be a go-to piece for events and weekend outings.
The button-down shirt is a crucial part of every man’s closet, but this is particularly true for academics who must dress to stand in front of classes and attend conferences. The Amazon Essentials product is a well-made option, sewn from 100% cotton oxford fabric. It’s machine-washable, and therefore a wonderful low-maintenance alternative to dry clean only shirts. It comes in 9 different colors, so there’s something for everyone. The ‘regular’ fit looks great on nearly every shape or size.
A proper light can help reduce eye fatigue and makes reading or grading papers much more convenient with increased visibility. The Acegoo LED reading lamp is a highly-rated option, equipped with an adjustable arm and rotary lens. It’s dimmable, creating a custom light experience for any setting. It is chargeable via USB and has another port for powering phones or other devices. Easily mounted to a wall or bed headboard, the soft metallic finish and modern design fit a variety of decor styles.
With all the paper they handle throughout the course of a day, it’s common for professors to have dry, cracked hands. This fine hand cream is the ideal remedy, made with moisturizing shea butter and coconut oil, as well as honey and almond extracts. It can be used as often as needed to soothe dry skin. There’s no oily residue left behind to smear device screens or stain paper. L’Occitane is a trusted brand using only natural ingredients, and does not test on animals. The scent is gender-neutral.
Wit’s End is a highly-rated board game that appeals to intellectuals and academics of every specialty. Combining trivia, brain teasers, and riddles, it’s an entertaining way to spend an evening with colleagues or friends. 1200 challenging questions from a variety of subject matter provide hours of conversation and laughter. Cards draw from music, geography, history, arts, sciences and more creating a dynamic game night experience.
Christmas and holiday gifts for professors
The Kindle Paperwhite is the latest e-book reading device, offering a realistic paper-like view of the text. Even in bright sunlight, the pages can be easily viewed. A single battery charge is typically sufficient for weeks, and it’s even waterproof for worry-free reading at pools or beaches. Thousands of titles are available for $2.99 or less, so it’s a very economical alternative to traditional books. The Kindle Paperwhite is super thin and available in 2 sleek colors.
For professors with busy schedules, each day might be different and it can be difficult to stay organized. Appointments, office hours, travel plans, and class schedules present a unique challenge that isn’t easy to manage. This leather-bound desk calendar is a classic way to manually keep track of every hectic day, providing a prominent visual of all tasks. It fits nicely on any sized desk, in addition to being compatible with any style of decor and having a professional appearance.
Professors wear ties all the time, and could always use something new to add variety to their professional wardrobe. This collection of 5 attractive ties offers a fresh selection for daily wear. Each tie is accompanied by a matching pocket square for more formal occasions. Thoughtfully packed in a gift-ready box, they have a silky texture and high-quality construction. These ties are made with special elastic for easily creating a neat knot.
Feminine professors will appreciate a beautiful accessory to brighten their classroom attire and add something interesting to an outfit for other special events. This stunning floral silk scarf is the perfect addition to a professional wardrobe or for dressing up at fundraisers and conferences. The print is reminiscent of vintage designer styles, and the colors are bright but neutral enough to match nearly anything. The quality silk is shiny and soft, making it comfortable and breathable for all-day wear.
Professors rely upon technology to write and publish, create presentations for lectures, teach virtual classes, access email, or for many other reasons. An Acer Chromebook is brilliantly integrated with Google apps for a variety of uses. It’s lightweight, making it ideal for travel or on-the-go lifestyles. Built-in virus protection and up to 12 hours of battery life make it an excellent value for the price. The Acer Chromebook is available in this professional gift set, which includes a case and wireless mouse.
Lugging around books, papers, notes and personal items can be stylish as well as utilitarian. This leather messenger bag has plenty of room for everything needed, and is crafted from attractive, high-quality cowhide. It’s even waterproof, so items are safe and dry no matter what the weather brings. The gender-neutral design is simple yet refined, with a vintage-inspired appearance that anyone will love. A large padded laptop sleeve provides security for the most precious cargo.
When spending time at home and trying to relax, a nice pair of slippers is something every professor can appreciate. These feature a fine boiled wool upper for warmth and comfort, as well as a durable synthetic sole for lasting wear. 8 colors are available for all personalities and tastes. The sizing is unisex, and the style is too. They’re a comfy way to wind down and read or grade papers after an exhausting day on campus.
Even the most unmaterialistic of academics will appreciate something thoughtful from this list of brilliant gifts. Whether the gift is useful or amusing, comfy or unique, there is always a meaningful way to give to professors on special occasions. The budget doesn’t matter much; there are great options at every price. Consider one or more of these gifts for the professor in your life.
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