Do you want to buy a maths themed Christmas gift?  Here is some inspiration to get you started, covering a wide range of different budgets and tastes.

Books

Every maths lover will enjoy a good book, but there are a bewildering set of options to choose from.  Puzzle book? Popular maths biography? Or something more difficult?  If you are looking for popular maths books then read this this article which includes a list of recently recommended books such as Humble Pi, A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker.  If you want a puzzle book, take a look at Martin Gardner (maths puzzle legend), the GCHQ Puzzle Book, or the Radio 4 Today Programme Puzzle Book.

Board Games

Lots of maths enthusiasts also love boardgames – and they are a great gift option, partly because you will get to join in and play with your own present! Most strategy games will appeal to people who love maths – consider modern classics such as Ticket to Ride, Catan, Carcassonne, or even Pandemic.  Some board games can be really pricey, so you could look at some cheaper options such as Exploding Kittens or Sushi Go.  You might even want to hark back to the classics of the 1970s including Mastermind and Battleships.  Some games have a particularly mathematical theme, including Set, Blokus and The Genius Square.

blokus board

Clothing

Most people will enjoy the gift of a mathematical pair of socks.  A smaller subset of your friends will be prepared to embrace a pair of leggings printed with equations.  The geeky Maths T shirt totally depends on the context – pick your slogans wisely and (  stay positive)…

Maths Experience Gifts

A lot of people look to purchase experiences rather than physical gifts.  This can be a good idea for a maths enthusiast, as there are lots of options when it comes to maths themed day trips.   You could visit Bletchley Park, or the Maths Gallery in the Science Museum, or even book your friend into a maths talk at a Science Festival.   Read this article on Ideas for Maths Themed Days Out.  Another great option is to take your friend to an Escape Room.

fountain pen

Beautiful pens and fabulous paper

Where do you like to write your maths? Paper? Smartphone? Tablet?  Parchment? Back of an envelope?  Chalkboard? Screwed up till receipt?  Do you prefer lined paper or squared paper, or are you a blank paper kind of person?  Writing is so last century?  Despite these different preferences, many of your friends will love to be given nice pens to write with and beautiful notebooks to write in.  The perfect gifts for many maths lovers.

Maths Art

Buy a piece of Maths Art for their wall.  A top choice could be artist M.C. Escher who amongst other things, gained inspiration from the renowned mathematician Sir Roger Penrose.  Otherwise, if you search for Mathematical Art you will find endless ideas including Fibonacci Spirals, Fractal Patterns and the Platonic Solids.  If you like making art yourself, then visit the website Artful Maths to get ideas of what you could do.

Maths Toys

There are some ‘toys’ which hold a deeper mathematical meaning.  They are things to display on your shelf, ready to be gazed at, pondered over and shown to your friends.  Examples include Shapes of Constant Width, the Hypnogizmo and the PhiTOP.  Two great websites for this type of Maths Toy include Maths Gear and also Grand Illusions. A number of years ago a Small Maths Outreach Kit was produced which contained objects which could be used at hands on science fairs. Many of these ‘Toys’ would also be great as Maths Presents.  (You can’t purchase the Small Maths Outreach Kit as a whole – instead you can source each item individually.)

Video Introducing the Small Maths Outreach Kit

Puzzles

We have already mentioned puzzle books, but what about physical puzzles?  Do your friends love to battle with something tactile?  Does it need to be fiendishly difficult to be the perfect present?  You might opt for a good old fashioned Jigsaw Puzzle, but you could also try these Hanayama Huzzle Puzzles – can you work out how to prise the pieces apart? Tangrams are a perennial mathematical favourite and you may also wish to check out Mensa which has an online shop selling puzzles.

Novelty Maths Gifts

Five minutes spent searching for Novelty Maths Gifts yields an eclectic range of options.  Silver Compass Earrings?  Ada Lovelace Soft Toy?  Or even a Precision Cheese Cutting Board in the shape of a Protractor.  There really are some amazing finds to be had!

chocolate fountain

Chocolate

Or maybe your friend has been working so hard at Maths, that they just need a break and chocolate could be the perfect Maths Present to cheer them up.  You could even direct them to this article on the Maths of Chocolate Fountains.

Shopping Ideas

Here are some suggestions for where you could source your Maths Gifts:

Happy Puzzle company

Maths Gear

Science Museum

Grand Illusions

Tarquin

Secondhand

You can also find lots of great stuff on Ebay, and in secondhand book stores or Charity Shops. Vintage/antique maths books can be surprisingly cheap!

Image credits

Featured image by Sydney Herron on Unsplash
Chocolate fountain by Mar López from Pixabay
Fountain pen by mik izi on Unsplash
Blokus by Aldaron, a.k.a. Aldaron, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons