The 2017 Slice Holiday Gift Roundup

by Julie Barr on December 1, 2017 · 1 comment

in Alumni Life

One of the hottest toys of this holiday season, the Women of NASA LEGO set has two MIT connections.

Holiday shopping season has officially begun. Whether you’re almost done or haven’t even started, you may want to consider adding to your list these unique gift ideas, crafted by MIT alumni and friends.


Make your own rebuildable drones out of LEGO bricks with a Flybrix kit. Started by Amir Hirsch ’06, SM ’07, Flybrix sends you everything you need to build a drone, crash it, and build it again.

Little Bits
For young inventors, Little Bits kits feature an array of build-it-yourself bundles, from droids to a smart home kit. The company, founded by Ayah Bdeir SM ’06, sells education-minded sets and gadgets that offer fun and engaging ways for kids to learn and engage in STEAM-related fields, as well as platforms to engage with other learners online.

MIT Hatch’d
Thanks to the MIT Museum, discovering MIT-generated gizmos is easier than ever. The MIT Hatch’d section of their website sells many products developed by MIT alums, students, or staff.

A wi-fi enabled stuffed animal, Talkie keeps kids connected to their families and friends, and it will soon promote language learning, reading comprehension, spelling, pronunciation, and more. The parent company, Toymail, was co-founded by Gauri Nanda SM ’05 and had a successful appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank.

The Pen. Rewritten.
Pen enthusiasts and technologists alike can appreciate the simple, intuitive redesign of the pen by RIIND, a company co-founded by Clayton Poppe SM ’09, MBA ’09. Poppe says it’s the omnidirectional binary twist mechanism that makes it one-of-a-kind.

Tim the Beaver Cookie Cutter
The officially licensed culinary tool of MIT’s lovable mascot, Tim the Beaver, this cookie cutter perfectly imprints Tim the Beaver on your dough.

Women of NASA LEGO Set
One of the hottest toys of the season—sold out just four days after launching—the Women of NASA LEGO set is out of this world. The brainchild of MIT News deputy editor Maia Weinstock, it features four pioneering women including Margaret Hamilton who led the software engineering division of the MIT Instrumentation Lab, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program.


Nervous System
Nature-inspired jewelry takes the shape of algae and dendrite at Nervous System, a design studio co-founded by Jessica Rosenkrantz ’05. In addition to jewelry, their portfolio includes puzzles, lighting, furniture, building facades, and even a customized, 3D-printed midsole as part of a recent collaboration with New Balance.

Senreve Handbags
These handbags from Senreve come in a variety of designs and colors, sold only online. Senreve co-founder, Wendy Wen ’09, launched her handbag company in 2016 with the goal of creating a minimalist brand—in fact the logo doesn’t even appear on the bags.

Find the perfect bra from the comfort of your home with ThirdLove. The company—co-founded by husband and wife duo Heidi Zak MBA ’07 and David Spector MBA ’07—moved the fitting and purchasing process online and offers half-cup sizes.


Function of Beauty
A hair care company with a unique proposition, Function of Beauty offers custom formulas for each customer. Founders Zahir Dossa ’08, MEng ’10, PhD ’13 and Josh Maciejewski ’07, SM ’08 launched the company with a chemist; the company ships the formulas in bottles personalized with your name.

Mother Dirt
Get clean with dirt—that’s the promise of Mother Dirt, a line of products that embrace and nurture the body’s good bacteria by creating biome-friendly products to help rebalance the skin and reduce its dependence on conventional toiletries. Mother Dirt, founded by Jasmina Aganovic ’09, is the consumer brand company under research company AOBiome, co-founded by David Whitlock ’77, SM ’78, which developed the science behind the products.


Mars Rover Rescue
In Mars Rover Rescue, animal characters face real-life challenges of life on Mars. The children’s book, by Andrew Rader PhD ’09, aims to pique kids’ interest in space from a young age, through the adventures of animals.

And Keep Reading
Each month, the Slice of MIT Podcast features conversations with an MIT alumni author. Check out the list of past podcasts!

Need more ideas? Make sure to check out Slice’s archive of holiday gift ideas from 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009.

Happy shopping!

Inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement of these products. 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Kantrowitz December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

Two word puzzle books written by Mark Kantrowitz ’89 can be found at

Perhaps MIT should create a virtual bookstore of books written by MIT alumni (e.g., through affiliate links or an collection).


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