69 weird but awesome things people are obsessed with this year

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

When you are looking for a treat for yourself because you survived another one of life’s obstacles (or, sure, a gift for someone else) it’s great to go with weird. Weird but genius things do double duty. They solve a problem in need of a solution, and they make you laugh or scratch your head in wonder. Visitors are like, “Where did you find that? How is this a thing?”

Products that qualify as “weird as hell” are the best way to go for Secret Santa gifts, things for friends and relations you don’t know well, and for people who already have everything. But, it’s also nice to spice up your home with puzzling — but useful — things to make every day more fun. Keep scrolling for 69 weird but awesome things people are obsessed with this year.

And when I say weird, I don’t mean useless. These are tools that solve real problems in interesting and off-the-wall ways. For example, you probably don’t know you want a putting green in the bathroom. But, as it happens, life is improved by the ability to putt-putt while you do private things.

And if wine is your thing, you know that you need to cork the bottle if you can’t finish it, right? You could use the cork that came with it... but where’s the fun in that? These silicone pickles will make you laugh and save the wine. And if you are shopping for a superpower, I found it. And it’s not even expensive! These gloves with built-in flashlights turn your thumb and forefinger into light-beam shooting magic with the help of a couple of batteries.

1. This selfie stick with a built-in stabilizer

When you want to shoot selfies or videos while you are walking, biking, or otherwise likely to shake the camera and create blurs, use this selfie stick with a built-in gimbal stabilizer. The remote lets you change the angle of your phone, it converts quickly to a tripod, and the gimbal quickly stabilizes the lens no matter what you are doing.

2. A clipboard-sized whiteboard for all your notes

If you need a place to jot quick notes at your desk or while walking around, this whiteboard does it without wasting paper. Made from frosted glass with an easel design so you can stand it on your desk, it comes with a dry erase marker so you can take notes and easily wipe them away and start every day with a clean surface.

3. The waterproof pad that catches in-shower inspiration

Why does inspiration always strike the minute you step into the shower and are stripped... of all methods of writing it down? Keep this pad of waterproof paper suction-cupped to the wall in there — along with its pencil — so you can capture the brilliance when it happens. The 40 pages are perforated so you can bring your ideas with you when you leave the bathroom.

4. This alarm clock that forces you out of bed

If you have trouble waking up and need a surefire solution, this alarm clock is not only loud, it also leaps off the bedside table, tears around the room, and hides — while screaming like R2D2 under attack. You won’t be able to sleep through that ruckus. And you will have to get out of bed to stop it. After that adventure, you are certain to be wide awake.

5. A pizza box full of pizza-themed socks

If there is a pizza lover in your life, this box of pizza socks is a gift that will get huge laughs, and turn out to be very practical. The box is realistic, right down to the little plastic “table” that protects the melted cheese from the box. And the pizza-themed socks are folded to look like a pie and represent four different flavors. Share if you wish.

6. These two towel masks for hot or cold facials

These soft facecloths are designed with cutouts for your eyes and nose so you can lie down and lay the cloth — hot or cold — over your face, and relax. Apply serums to your skin first and let the steam open your pores, or use the cloths cold to calm skin irritation, puffiness, and redness.

7. The wine opener that looks like a stretching cat

This adorable cat is more than just good-looking, it’s a useful way to get wine out of a bottle and into your glass. The ridgey tail is a foil cutter, and a double-hinged corkscrew pops out of the black cat’s belly to easily open a bottle. There’s even a beer bottle opener built into booboo kitty’s hind legs.

8. A heated massage cushion that makes any seat relaxing

Fit this heated and vibrating seat cushion into any chair — or car seat — and get a warm, vibrating massage every time you sit down. It’s a great way to beat the cold, relax muscles, and take your commute or chair-break up a notch in stress and back pain relief. The auto shut-off timer means you’ll never worry that you left the heat on.

9. The plant-based foot deodorizer that smells so good

Loaded with tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, eucalyptus, and citrus, this bright and fresh scented foot deodorizer is also good for your skin and toenails, so you can spray it into your shoes or onto your feet whenever you like. It stops the stink of going sockless or from spending long hours in your shoes. Reviewers say it really works and are stocking up so they never run out.

10. This weird stretching strap that relieves foot pain

Stretching your Achilles tendon, metatarsal muscles, ankles, and feet presents a logistical challenge that makes it hard to stay consistent about doing those helpful stretches. This weird wearable strap lets you do that stretch, engaging your toes and entire foot while sitting around watching TV or working at a computer, so it will help you stay consistent. It can be used for a variety of other stretches, too.

11. A strange but effective tool for managing hot teabags

If you burn your fingers every day fishing a hot teabag out of your cup and squeezing it dry before you toss it, this tool will protect and serve. The two slotted spoons go into the cup together, grab the bag, pull it out, and wring out the excess delicious tea through the drain holes as you squeeze.

12. These slicers for when you crave halved grapes or tomatoes

The salad — fruit or otherwise — would be better if the grapes or grape tomatoes were sliced in half, but this is modern times and none of us have time for that. That’s why this tube that slices lots of grapes, cherry tomatoes, olives, or similarly shaped foods in half has become necessary. Just load it with grapes, slide the handle to slice them all in half, and pour the halves into your recipe.

13. The swatter that’s fun and kills bugs on impact

These bug zappers are so much more than the fly swatter your dad was forever wielding in the war against marauding insects. These load the swat with 4,000 volts so that you only have to make a slight impact with the offending bug to terminate it, permanently. This is a two-pack of small-sized swatters that are rechargeable and sport a glowing indicator light.

14. These temperature-based color LEDs for the faucets

Screw these light attachments into the faucet of your sink and watch as the LED lights glow in response to the movement of water, creating unique and moody lighting in the sink that changes with the water temperature. Cold water is blue, but as it warms, it changes to green, and when it gets hot, it glows red so you can tell how the water feels before you touch it.

15. This bracelet that stores a hair tie around your wrist

You can stop shopping for hair ties that don’t cut off your wrist circulation. This silicone bracelet holds a hair tie ready for use on your wrist while protecting you from the excessive squeezing of too-tight elastics. Just pick the size that fits you, a color you like, and put any hair tie in the bracelet for when you need to ponytail on the go.

16. The pan that makes cute animal-print pancakes

Whip up the cutest batch of pancakes ever with this 10-inch non-stick pan that has seven cute animal molds so each flapjack turns out with a different darling imprint. You can cook an entire batch of small pancakes — perfect for kids — at once. Reviewers “absolutely love” it and say it’s “amazing!!”

17. These lightsaber chopsticks for high energy meals

Next time dinner calls for chopsticks, use The Force to get rice to your mouth, or be ready for attacks from your fellow diners, by arming up with this pair of lightsaber chopsticks. They are battery-powered, safe for eating, light up in green or purple, and are bright enough to make eating in the dark fun and easy.

18. The night light that turns your toilet bowl into a party

The bathroom is small, so utilize the space you have for lighting solutions by putting this colored LED light into the bowl — and voila, the porcelain throne is now a night light. It’s easy to install. Just hook the flexible arm over the bowl and pick a color, or set it to cycle through all 16 hues. It’s motion-sensitive and only comes on in the dark so the batteries will last for ages.

19. This clever storage container for pickles & brines

Making refrigerator pickles, marinating vegetables, or storing anything that sits in liquid just got a lot easier to deal with. When you lift the handle under the lid of this container, a strainer lifts the pickles or whatever you have stored in it above the level of the liquid, so you can grab one without getting your fingers wet.

20. An adorable bug for cleaning your desk

This might look like an adorable ladybug toy, but turn it on and it starts sucking up dirt, dust, crumbs, and eraser peelings to clean your desk (and looks darn cute in the process). It’s actually a small vacuum cleaner! It’s easy to empty, runs on two AA batteries, and comes in four different bug designs so you might want one for your dresser, dining table, or counters, too.

21. These essential oil pellets that aim to help you boost your immune system

These bead-sized lozenges are loaded with essential oils — wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary — as well as immune-system-boosting ingredients that, reviewers say, keep illness at bay. They are designed to be convenient to take even if you are traveling because they are tiny, and are packaged in a pocket-sized container with a pop-top.

22. This clever multi-tool that fits in your wallet

This helpful multi-tool is designed to go with you everywhere so you’re never without a bottle opener, screwdriver, wrench, peeler, can opener, knife, or tiny saw — among other things. All of these tools are engineered into a credit-card-sized piece of steel that slips into a wallet. And it comes with a money clip, keyring, carabiner, leather case, and metal card case so you have plenty of ways to tote it along.

23. A frog that separates egg yolks from whites

Turn the annoying task of separating egg yolks from whites into a game by using this funny frog to do it. Crack the eggs, then squeeze the frog and touch its lips to the yolk, and release. Froggy will suck up the yolk so you can drop it in another bowl and go back for another. It’s easy and pretty fun, too.

24. These silicone heel cups for a daily healing foot spa

If your heels are cracked and dry, these heel cups are a great way to do an intensive moisturizing treatment any time. Slather your heel with whatever balm you prefer and strap on the heel cups to steep your heels in the goodness. You can go about your life while your heels heal as the product soaks in.

25. The stainless steel wands for cooling facial treatments

Keep these gel-filled stainless steel wands in the fridge so they get nice and cold, then set them over your tired or puffy eyes and face to cool down and reduce eye puffiness, tighten skin, shrink pores, and calm inflammation. The rollers stay cool because they are filled with a gel that holds the temperature steady. And they come in a storage case so they stay clean in the fridge.

26. This cute diffuser that looks like a lightbulb

This multipurpose diffuser appears to be a lightbulb with a palm tree in it, but fill it with water and essential oils, plug it in, and press the cute happy-face controller button for a soothing experience. It diffuses the scent and injects a bit of humidity into the surrounding air in a manner both charming and effective.

27. A relaxing vibrating head massager

When your head hurts or tension threatens to bring on a headache, this massager has five soft fingers that reach under your hair — without tangling it — to bring vibrating stimulation and relax your head. It feels good and stimulates your scalp. But you can use it on your neck, arms, or anywhere for a gentle, vibrating scratch and massage. It runs on two AAA batteries.

28. This weird gizmo for fast whipped cream at home

Even if you can’t master the whisk and bowl method of whipping cream, you can go homemade — and flavored just the way you like it — with this pump top whipper. Just fill it with heavy cream and pump the handle. Add some flavorings, if you like, and in a few minutes, you will have delicious whipped cream for your coffee or desserts.

29. A fake rock so you never get locked out

Hide this clever fake rock in your garden with a house key — or the key to anything you might lock yourself out of — stashed inside. When you find yourself out and about without a key, it won’t turn into an international incident. Just locate your rock, pull out the key, and go right back inside. A plastic cover keeps the key securely in the rock and the realistic top blends into your landscaping or garden.

30. The pickle stopper that preserves your wine

If you don’t finish the entire bottle of wine, put a pickle in it. This two-pack of silicone pickles makes for a laugh and a fresher glass of wine tomorrow because the squishy silicone creates an airtight seal on the bottle. And when it comes down to it, a wine bottle with a pickle sticking out is undeniably hilarious.

31. These lobster claws so your paws don’t burn

Put your mitts into these red lobster claws before you touch that hot pan. Not only will you provide yourself with the perfect opportunity to mimick Mr. Crabs of Spongebob fame, but you will, importantly, not burn yourself. These easy-to-don red silicone pinchers are super heat resistant, so are just the thing for quickly grabbing anything that’s too hot to handle.

32. An insulated water bottle with a built-in speaker

If you plan to carry a water bottle, make it a good one. And this one is not only a water bottle with a pop-up sip spout, it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. The speaker screws onto the bottom and has big, easy to use, volume buttons. The bottle is also a hydration reminder that will glow to remind you to drink water.

33. A fork in a holster for the pickle jar

Do you grab a new fork every time you want a pickle or stick your fingers into the cold vinegar? There are two camps on this, and both are solved by this holster for a dedicated fork that rides on the pickle jar, always ready. Just open the jar, draw your fork, stab a pickle, and slot the fork back into the holster for the next time. It works for olives and other addictive fridge snacks as well.

34. This wrinkle release spray so you don’t have to iron

No time to press your wares? Spray your wrinkled outfit with this unscented, plant-based wrinkle release spray and hang the garment up for a few minutes while you get ready to go, and it’ll be wrinkle-free when you’re ready for it. Even better? If you have wrinkled curtains, spray them, and let them iron themselves.

35. An adorable family of kitchen utensils

Bring adorability into your cooking projects with this six-piece set of silicone cooking utensils that looks like a colorful family. The feet suction to the counter so they stand on their own, which means no searching for a spoon rest, and you can store them in plain sight because they double as decor.

36. The fidget that keeps your hands busy so you can focus

Give your fidgety fingers something to do so your brain can focus on reading, studying, or work without irritating everyone around you by snapping your pen or tapping the desk. This aluminum fidget toy is sized for adult hands, feels solid and satisfying to manipulate, and is very quiet.

37. A mask with headphones for sleeping through anything

If your neighborhood is noisy, your bed partner snores, or you are traveling by train or plane, this light-blocking sleep mask with built-in Bluetooth headphones can help you sleep through all of it. The fabric that touches your skin is silky, there is padding around your eyes and nose, the volume controls are on the front, and the headphones are thin so you won’t feel them — even if you sleep on your side.

38. These clever shelves that suction onto windows

When your succulents need sun or you want a place to keep supplies in a bathroom that’s all glass or tile, these suction-cup shelves are your solution. Three powerful suction holds the shelves in place so you can set as much as five pounds on each one. They come in four sizes so you can find the perfect fit for your space.

39. The flashlights you can wear like a superpower

With bright LED beams built into the thumb and forefinger, these flashlight gloves can be your functional superpower when walking the dog, working on your car, or dancing in the dark. There’s a switch on the back of your hand that lets you turn them on and off easily, they take two small button batteries, and over 7,000 people give them five stars.

40. These nubby dryer balls for fluffy towels & less ironing

Toss these nubby little balls into the dryer with your towels, clothes, or comforter to fluff and separate your fabrics as they dry. It will reduce the time it takes to dry, give more loft to your towels, comforter, and sweats, and reduce the need for ironing. This is a set of eight so you have plenty to go around.

41. A cleaning gel that grabs dirt in crevices

When your keyboard is full of dust and crumbs or your car is in desperate need of some detailing, this lemon-scented cleaning gel is the fun way to get it done. Instead of struggling to get a duster into crevices, push this squishy gel in there and then pull it back out again. It will bring all the dirt with it, is super fast, and is also reminiscent of playing with Play-Doh.

42. These huge claws that shred meat fast

If you like to barbecue and want to shred pork butt or whip up pulled-beef tacos, put away your two-fork system and put on a pair of these meat shredder claws. Instead of a difficult, time-consuming task, shredding meat is fast and fun and the results are professional. A big handle gives you leverage and those huge claws tear right through the meat. They come in four colors and over 18,000 reviewers give them five stars.

43. A rolling massager for your tight muscles

This simple rolling massager really gets into tense muscles and helps them relax, whether you roll your feet over it, rub it over your tight hamstrings, or ask someone else to roll it around on your back (what a pal). You can put oils on it or use it just as it is.

44. These elastic laces that turn any shoes into slip ons

Install these elastic shoelaces into your favorite shoes and that will be the last time you ever need tie those shoes. They stretch enough so you can easily slide your shoes on, but hold shoes firmly enough that your feet don’t slide out. They come in 36 colors, are adjustable, and get almost 13,000 five-star reviews.

45. A hand warmer that doubles as a backup battery

When it’s cold out, keep this hand warmer in a pocket to keep your digits from freezing. Or put it inside your coat to keep your core warmer. It has three heat levels — 104 to 113 degrees, 113 to 122 degrees, or 122 to 131 degrees — so you can use it to maintain a steady core temperature or to really apply heat to your cold limbs or sore muscles. When you don’t need the heat, it will charge your phone.

46. The floating globe that turns magnetism into magic

Give your desk a bit of a decorative miracle by plugging in this LED light with a globe that magnetically floats inside the frame. You can grab the globe out of it and toss it around while chatting on the phone or when you want to confirm where Bolivia is, and it will float again when you thrust it back into the magnetic beam.

47. This hilarious toy that cleans the microwave

Pop the hair off of this angry toy and fill the body with water and vinegar (or cleaning solution) and put it in the microwave for a few minutes. Steam will shoot hilariously out of the top of her head, which invites a chuckle or two. However, that steam will also soften all the cooked-on gunk inside the microwave, so when you’re done laughing all you have to do is wipe it off.

48. These bags that let you put messy foods in the toaster

Want grilled cheese but don’t want to clean up? Assemble the sandwich, put it in one of these three reusable toaster bags, and drop it into the toaster. The bread will toast, the cheese will melt, and none of the crumbs or drippy cheese will fall into your toaster. It also works for heating up pizza or any sandwich you wish was hot.

49. The slippers that clean the floor while you dance

Kill two chores at the same time by getting up off the couch, putting these mop slippers on everyone’s feet, and having a dance party. Everyone will have fun and get some exercise, and the floor will get clean. They stretch over your feet — or a mop frame — and there are 10 of them, so you will always have some handy (for yourself or friends!) when the mood to dance and clean strikes.

50. This scent-killing bar of soap that’s made of steel

Alert the press — this bar of soap is made of stainless steel. It works better for getting bad smells off of your skin than real soap that actually has suds because sulfur molecules bind to the steel when you rub your hands on it, which completely removes the smell those molecules cause. It’s weird. But it works.

51. A pop-up UV cleaner for your phone

Unzip this slender case, pop it open, and drop your phone (or keys and jewelry) into it. A beam of UVC light will kill all the germs, viruses, and bacteria on the surface of your objects in just 30 seconds. It’s perfect for travel because it’s rechargeable and flattens for transport.

52. The gloves with built-in dish cleaning scrubbers

When you put these gloves on to wash the dishes or car, you’re instantly holding the scrubber you will use to clean. Just lather up your palms and start scrubbing away. The hands are covered with scrubby silicone nubs that hold soap and are mildly abrasive to clean off messes. The glove arms are long enough to keep your hands and sleeves dry.

53. This drink holder for the shower

After a long day of work, grab a cold one and step into the shower for a relaxing mood shift into the evening. If your main complaint about the shower beer plan is that there’s nowhere to set down your drink, this cup holder is what you need. Suction it to the wall and it will hold a beer, soda, cocktail, or wine glass.

54. A smart notebook you erase in the microwave

Go ahead and jot your notes on the 80 pages of dot-grid paper in this weird notebook without worrying about wasting paper or finding your notes again. Because, you can zap your notes to the cloud service you prefer using the Rocketbook app. Your notes will be searchable and transcribed when they get there. When the notebook is full, microwave it to erase all your notes and start fresh.

55. This Nessie spoon so you can create mythical meals

It simply doesn’t make sense to cook pasta and soups with an ordinary spoon when you can instead spot Nessie swimming in your pot, and bring some ancient legends into the kitchen. Nessie’s belly is a strainer that makes testing the doneness of pasta or veggies easy. You can use her to strain the contents of small pots or even cans of beans.

56. A pasta timer that sings when dinner is ready

Drop Al Dente (*chef’s kiss*) into the pot when you put the pasta in and he will start to sing at pasta-ready intervals. He belts “That’s Amore” when your tortellini is ready at three minutes, and The Godfather theme when your dry tagliatelle has been cooking for the requisite seven. You’ll hear “Tarantella Napoletana” when your spaghetti is done at nine minutes. And he’ll croon “Prisoners’ Choir” when a compact pasta like fusilli is good to go.

57. The magnetic light & pickup tool that doubles as a lamp

If you drop your keys into a drain, spill all your screws into the thing you are building, or drop something down a gutter, this telescoping light with a strong magnet on the end is the thing to get it back for you. It extends to 22 inches, the gooseneck end bends in any direction, and A magnet in the light picks up your lost metals. There’s also a magnet in the handle that lets it stick to a metal surface to become a task light.

58. This titanium toothpick for when you need to pick while out in the world

This small, slender toothpick will be ready, on your keychain, when you leave a steakhouse and discover a chunk of meat lodged firmly in your teeth. It’s so small and light — just 2.8 grams — and stays screwed into its small cylindrical case on your keychain, so you’ll likely forget you have it till that moment. It’s strong and sturdy enough for the job, though, because it’s rendered entirely in titanium.

59. A bit of whimsy for your dish sponge

Instead of setting the dish sponge down on the counter, tossing it into the sink with the dirty dishes, or any of the prosaic alternatives for sponge storage, create a whimsical vignette on the counter where a cute (cartoon) mouse might rest at night with this bed-styled sponge rest. The pillows stay with the bed and a sponge is included.

60. This game of putt-putt golf for the potty

Have a game of golf every time you go to the loo with this putter for the toilet. A plastic cup with a flag, felt green, two golf balls, and a shortened putter — because you will be sitting — make your throne time more fun. There is even a do-not-disturb sign for the door because you’ll probably be in there a while (bogeys are all good here).

61. An ear spoon/endoscope that looks into your ears

Want to see what’s happening in your ear, up your nose, in the back of your mouth, or in your child or pet’s ears? This tiny endoscope with a built-in light lets you get a look in there. Connect it to your phone and the tiny camera films what it sees and shows you right on your phone’s screen. Two soft, replaceable ear spoons let you clean up with gentleness and precision.

62. This magic wand for massaging your own sore muscles

When your back hurts and there’s no one handy to give you a massage, this wand lets you work out those muscle pains yourself. The long curved arm reaches places you can’t so you can use the nubby ball to work the pain and tension out of your muscles. Since you know just where it hurts and what makes it feel better, you might find this is even better than getting someone else on it.

63. The wrist rest that looks like a baguette

Why spend every day parked in front of a boring desk-scape when this squishy, tempting baguette wrist-rest exists? It clings to the desk in front of your keyboard, offering a soft and gentle landing for working wrists, while reminding you of delicious sourdough bread. It would be particularly cute in a kitchen workspace or that of a baker.

64. A gel-filled mask to cool tired eyes

Store this eye mask in the fridge for when your sinuses flare, your eyes are hot and tired, or puffiness is threatening to ruin your look. Then strap it on and cool down your peepers with ease. The cutouts let you see what you’re doing while you chill, and the size is adjustable so you can get the fit just right.

65. This face cream that’s loaded with snail secretion

The secretion (mucin) that snails leave behind when moving about contains an ingredient called chondroitin that is used in skincare products for its regenerative and moisturizing qualities. And this cute snail-shaped container is loaded with the stuff. One user says it, “does wonders and absorbs quickly, never breaks me out, and is perfect for moisturizing and replenishing without feeling greasy.”

66. A pillow that stands in for a missing partner

When the bed is empty but you long to cuddle, this hug-in-a-pillow is here for you. It’s comfortable, the arm holds on and never tires, and the pillow is quiet, agreeable, and always there when you need it. You can remove the shirt to wash it whenever you like, too.

67. This foot roller so you can massage your own barking dogs

The wooden rollers on this dual foot massager let you choose how much pressure to apply to your sore feet. Just set it on the floor and rub your feet on it, pressing down when it feels good and backing off when it hurts. It feels amazing on tired hooves and is therapeutic for plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and other foot problems. It comes with a reflexology chart to easily target your relief.

68. The sushi roller that creates perfect sushi fast

Load up some rice, add some fillings, close up this weird plastic roller, and extrude your perfectly rolled tube of sushi rice onto a bed of nori. It’s an unconventional but effective way to make whatever form of sushi you want, either with fish, veggies or the experimental filler of your choice.

69. A dog treat maker for customized pup cookies

Whip up eight special treats for your pup in just a few minutes with this waffle-maker-style dog treat grill. You can use ingredients you probably have on hand, with none of the additives or high prices, and spoil your canine companion with their favorite flavors and fresh-baked goodness. Just pour the batter in — it comes with recipes — and wait for the indicator light to say your treats are done.

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