It’s that time of year again…time for gift shopping! Whether you celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice, Christmas or Hanukkah with your family and friends, the season has come to be synonymous with the giving of thoughtful gifts, trinkets or tokens of goodwill. This puts some degree of stress on all of us; though giving is joyous, often the expense and energy spent on tracking down “the perfect gift” is not.
I am a book lover, so I happen to think books always make good gifts. There’s no need to worry about whether it fits or is the right color; no need to buy batteries or complicated hook-ups to operate it; no need to stay up all night on Thanksgiving to get the best deal on it. It’s entertainment (or edutainment?) that can be used again and again, even if the power goes out for a week in a freak snowstorm.
Also, if you’re one of those people who happen to think that supporting local businesses is a smart idea, many of us are blessed with local independent booksellers who will bend over backwards to see their customers pleased, including specially ordering books for you. If you don’t have a local bookseller and don’t want to patronize the big boxes, you can always order directly from the publisher’s website – which, in turn, allows more of the proceeds to go to the author.
Finally, we all know people who now read on gadgets – let’s not forget them either! You can buy gift cards for the Kindle, the Nook, the Kobo, and the Sony Reader, and they can pick what they like best.
If you’d like to buy a printed and bound media artifact, though, here are some suggestions. You can view my suggestions for 2010 here in case you had a certain type of person in mind, and remember that all Llewellyn books linked to below have a “browse inside” feature so you can check it out before checking out. Happy shopping!
Why not put together a decorative gift basket including a book and some related extras? For example, Alaric Albertsson’s intelligent and thorough book on Anglo-Saxon magic, Wyrdworking, would be lovely paired with a set of runes or the author’s specially designed pictorial rune cards. Know someone who’s having a serious run of bad luck? Try giving them Ellen Dugan’s Practical Protection Magick along with a deep red or purple seven-day candle, cedar, lavender or vetivert essential oil, dragon’s blood incense, black tourmaline, hematite, lapis lazuli or malachite, and a sage smudge stick. And if you know someone who could use more love in their life (either with their current partner or with a potential new one), stuff the basket with The Witch’s Heart by Christopher Penczak, along with some rose water (available at many Middle Eastern delis), wheat pennies (coins that are actually made of copper, the metal sacred to Venus), yarrow, raspberry leaf tea, and a nice chunk of rose quartz, watermelon tourmaline, or peridot.
We all know people who just can’t wait to get started on their next craft project. These are the people who usually give you some exquisite hand-made gift that makes you feel bad you bought their gift in a store! This year you can give them a book or two geared toward a new crafting hobby – but one that’s magical. Try out Wandlore by Alferian Gwydion MacLir, which includes everything you need to know about making and consecrating a wand, or Magical Candle Crafting by Ember Grant, which teaches you how to make your own magically infused candles for a wide variety of spells and special occasions. If you drop the right hints with your gift (and throw in a tree branch or a hunk of wax), you might receive a handmade wand or batch of candles next Yule!
Are you experienced?
Lots of witches who are fairly well established in their practices think that there is simply nothing new under the sun and haven’t bought a new book on witchcraft in years. Hopefully one of these titles will surprise them! For the (slightly twisted) child at heart, try Fairy Tale Rituals by Kenny Klein, which provides deep rituals and magic based on well-known fairy tales. If you know a witch suffering chronic burnout, whose magic hasn’t changed since the ‘90s, or who seems to have lost that magical spark – get them The Witch’s Bag of Tricks by Melanie Marquis as soon as possible to reverse the damage. I guarantee they will thank you later! Finally, for the feminist in all of us, give The Woman Magician by Brandy Williams – a thoughtful and wide-ranging discourse on women’s role in magic over the long centuries, and how we can take our Western magical traditions and craft something entirely new, entirely focused on the woman’s experience in her own body and her own right. This one is particularly hard to sum up neatly, so I do recommend using the Browse Inside function!
Off the beaten path
Finally, there are those who are always looking for something different. The Path of Druidry by Penny Billington is a druidry book like no other, firmly based on the reader’s own observations of nature as well as the tales of the Mabinogion. Brain Magick by Philip Farber is a fun romp through how our brains make magic happen – occurring across all times and cultures, magic is definitely part of our biological/chemical makeup, and this book’s exercises will show you how to find it. And, if you know someone who lives literally off the beaten path, chances are they’ll appreciate the collective wisdom, shared stories and practical advice found in The Small Town Pagan’s Survival Guide by Bronwen Forbes.
And more stocking stuffers…
Check them out!