Puzzled what to get someone for Christmas?

The holiday season is upon us, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday already making way for Thoroughly-Frustrated Shopper Thursday, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer up some puzzly suggestions for holiday gifts.

As you might expect, I come from a puzzly family. So Christmas has always featured brain-teasing toys, 3-D puzzles, and whatever else parents and other relatives could find to keep us busy and baffled. My younger sister has passed this tradition on to the next generation with puzzle boxes for my nephews, ensuring that any holiday money is well earned by mid-afternoon.

Here are a few ideas for the puzzle lovers in your life.

For any Rubik’s Cube masters in your household, Eric suggests a marvelous variation with The Brain Cube. Instead of matching colors, you’re matching the geography of the brain, ensuring that each fold and wrinkle lines up with its neighbors. This is a real brain-teaser, available at Marbles — The Brain Store.

We’ve featured ThinkFun products on the blog before — most notably their puzzly day-to-day calendar — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They’ve got puzzle games and brain-teasers galore, suitable for all ages and levels of difficulty. (This hexagon one caught my eye while I was browsing.)

The folks at Hammacher Schlemmer offer all sorts of gadgetry and products, and two of them caught my eye as I perused their catalog for gift ideas.

The first was the maze bank pictured above, The Labyrinthine Piggy Bank. Any coins that fall off the track are safe and secure, but only someone with the patience and dexterity to navigate the ten feet of track within will be able to gain access!

The second piqued my interest as a lover of words and wordplay. It’s The Lexicographer’s Extended Scrabble game, a 21×21 grid with more tiles and squares than the original, allowing for more flexibility and more elaborate words. Perfect for the verbivore Scrabble enthusiast in your life.

If you’re looking for pen-and-paper puzzle goodness, our pals at PennyPress and Dell Magazines offer perfect stocking stuffers, as well as digest-sized and full-sized puzzle books. Whether it’s logic, crosswords, word seeks, fill-ins, sudoku, variety puzzles, or the Brain Boosters shown above, they’ve got you covered.

And, of course, you can’t go wrong with a one-year PuzzleNation gift subscription! With access to ten different puzzle games, as well as score tracking and two-player mode to solve with friends,  hours of puzzle-solving fun await.

This is just a small sampling of the puzzle-wonderful delights available this holiday season, but hopefully these suggestions will help you trim down your shopping list this year. So good luck, keep calm, puzzle on, and I’ll catch you next time.

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