Yule is quickly approaching, and let’s face it – shopping for presents can be yucky! Receiving presents can be yucky, too, when they’re just not right for you and you feel bad that the gift giver wasted their money on something that you’ll never use. To lower the yuck factor all around, here are some suggestions for gift giving, making it painless for you and beneficial to the recipient. You can shop quickly and easily with the click of a mouse, and your friends will love you for giving them such cool books.
Below I’ve listed some common types of friends – gardeners, artists, Celtophiles, college students, Goths, kitchen witches, dudes, lovers, the heavily armed, and the heavily nerdy – with some suggestions for books, plus a little something extra to bundle it with. If you have any trouble deciding, remember that you can browse inside each one of our books here on our website. Please note, though, that I highly advise only giving these books to your friends who are already witches, magicians, or Pagans. No one likes to get books about topics they couldn’t care less about – that’s just yucky!
Your Gardening Friend: I’ve heard that even in the dead of winter, true gardeners love “gardening porn” because it helps them get through the cold, infertile months, and fills their heads with dreams of the lush gardens they can start planting in the spring. I recommend Sacred Land, a treasure trove of ideas to connect you with your entire ecosphere – from bees and worms to faeries and garden goddesses. It also puts your small steps into a larger global picture of protecting the environment from pesticides and polluted water. For an even witchier take, check out Garden Witch’s Herbal, which includes spells, lots and lots of plants, and even covers subjects not normally found in herbals such as wildflowers and plants native to the Southwest. Finally, try out Mother Nature’s Herbal for more gardening-type stuff – almanac, organic techniques, and recipes. Wrap gift with some seed packets and a pretty trowel.
Your Artsy Friend: Everyone has beautiful talents, and you probably know a few people who pour their whole hearts into their particular form of expression. Here are three books for different inclinations: visual, auditory, and written. Henna Magic is a fabulously fun new book that looks at the magical side of henna art and application, with tips on what symbols to use, where to place them, and what herbs and oils you can add to the henna mix to best empower your blend. If your friend loves singing or dancing (or RenFests or SCA), you’ll want to give them Make Merry in Step and Song, a treasure trove of traditional English songs with lyrics and notations, mummer’s plays with scripts and props, and even complete instructions for dances such as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. Finally, if your friend is a writer or poet at heart, consider Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink, which is simply full of tips and tricks, writing prompts, and magical advice on the process of writing. Wrap gift with raw materials… paint, ink, henna powder, whatever floats their boat.
Your Celtophile Friend: Honestly, what this friend would love best for Yule would be an enchanted trip to the Emerald Isle. Since you can’t quite put that together, try a mental voyage to Glastonbury instead with Avalon Within, a book guiding women through five stations on their way to sovereignty. Tales of Celtic goddesses are interwoven with astral workings and meditations through the Isle of Avalon, including the White Spring, Glastonbury Tor, and many other sacred sites – gorgeous color photographs included. Or take a flight of fancy and give them a couple romance novels that are true to what we know about Druids, written by a modern Druid priestess: Priestess of the Forest and The Druid Isle. These are the first two in the series of three (in homage to the Celtic triad) but each stands equally well on its own if that’s all your budget allows. Wrap gift with Celtic-inspired pendant or keychain with designs such as triskeles or Celtic knots.
Your College Student Friend: For a young and spirited person who is just starting off on her own, here are a few indispensable texts to help her out. Witchcraft on a Shoestring tells you all about practicing witchcraft on a budget, including tasty recipes for meals that can be made inexpensively. Plus it reminds you that you don’t really need to spend money on the Craft in the first place! For those who are new to cleaning up their own messes or decorating their own apartments, Magical Housekeeping will make tasks like cleaning fun, and gives lots of great feng-shui-inspired ideas for interior design. Finally, Spirited speaks about the challenges and truths that being a young Pagan today entails. This one you could even give to a mature and very Pagan high schooler. Wrap gift with several boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese… or better yet, a gift certificate to a local eatery.
Your Goth Friend: Yes, there are all types of Goths. Whether your friend likes Baudelaire or movies about hauntings or The Cure, black is the main color in their artistic wardrobe. Since you’re reading this list, they must be into Paganism, therefore they gravitate toward magic having to do with the dead or with the darker emotions in life. For these special souls I recommend literally anything by Michelle Belanger or Raven Digitalis – Goth Craft, Walking the Twilight Path, Dictionary of Demons, Shadow Magick Compendium, and so on. Wrap gift with a small memento mori of some type. Failing that, some black nail polish.
Your Kitchen Witch Friend: When she’s not feeding you and a whole houseful of other guests, something is still brewing away in her mind. Her personal touch comes through in everything she does around the home. First of all, she’s got to have A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook – if she already has it, I can guarantee you it’s dog-eared and has things spilled in its pages. Next, try The Real Witches’ Kitchen, which goes beyond just edibles into other fun recipes like soaps, potpourris, herbal sachets and candles. Finally, the master kitchen witch will devour the Wild & Weedy Apothecary. It’s not written specifically for witches, but in its pages there is so much detailed lore and so many recipes about all the herbs we know and love – and then some – that it will keep her happily occupied for at least a year, if not more. Wrap gift with a few useful kitchen utensils, or visit a gourmet shop and pick up a fun ingredient like local honey, molasses, marinades, flavored oils – whatever catches the eye.
And here are some one-offs:
Your Male Friend: Sacred Paths for Modern Men. Appropriate for guys involved in men’s groups and/or Paganism; take a trip through the archetypes and connect them with spiritual anchors that will make you a better man.
Your Lover: Wicked Voodoo Sex. Full of sex tips, spells, aphrodisiacs and other notions and potions, this is the gift that keeps on giving.
Your Military Friend: Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces. Whether active duty, National Guard, military spouse or family member, or just considering a career in the military, they must have this book if they’re a Pagan and want to stay that way.
Your Word Nerd Friend: Magic, Power, Language, Symbol. They either took linguistics, teach English, or they compulsively copy edit every advertisement or magazine they lay their hands on. They’ll probably read this book three times.