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    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    25 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Anachronists

    Prithee kind readers, forgiveth my lateness in supplying this missive to all ye harried holiday shoppers! I decided to make a "Top 25" instead of a "Top 10" (Top 10 is soooo last week) and you know what? It took a really, really long time to put together. Like 2.5 times longer than I thought.

    Anyway, on with the show. I understand how difficult it is to find gifts for those weird friends or family that play in the SCA, go to Renaissance Fairs or enjoy the odd LARP. For I am one of those weird people, and it's hard to buy gifts for myself, even knowing exactly what I want.

    This is not to say that such treasures you will find below are on MY personal wishlist for this season. Nay! For I need no more things - but if the desire to include me on your shopping list this year overwhelms you, please note that purchasing any of the items below grants me a small commission. Or you may visit my Amazon store, "Another Time" where there are many more such treasures...

    1. Let's get in the mood, shall we? A Feast of Songs: Holiday Music from the Middle Ages contains many traditional songs from Germany, France, England, Sweden and Poland that range from the 13th to the 16th century. With 5-star reviews and customer comments like "Best Christmas CD ever" this one is sure to create that festive, yet historical mood for this holiday season.

    2. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! should appeal to the younger anachronists on your shopping list, but be aware that this is no rosy-cheeked tale of the middle ages as it 'should have been', as we in the SCA like to say. "In 19 monologues and two dialogues from youngsters of the village, set off by woodcuttish illustrations by Robert Byrd, the book serves up the year 1255 — lice, maggots and all." Read more of this review by John Schwartz of The New York Times.

    3. With all the interest in Pirates lately, more and more of these scoundrels are showing up at Renaissance Fairs, LARPS and SCA events. Did you know there are 44 definitions of the word "ARrrgghh?" Well, the The Pirate Primer contains every distinctive term, phrase, usage, and speech structure uttered by or attributed to pirates in film, television, literature, and historical accounts over the last three centuries. Outfit your hard-to-buy-for pirate with the power of pronunciation! Arrgh, indeed!

    4. Sail the Seven Seas of your backyard pond or pool with this awesome 17" Remote Controlled Pirate Ship! The dual motors probably make it glide through the water pretty quick, which is essential for escaping aggressive ducks and other such waterfowl that may attempt to board 'er. If only there were working THAT would be guaranteed to cause trouble.

    5. Considering a gift of clothing for your reenactor friends or family? This can be a nearly impossible endeavor. But not so when your loved one is a PIRATE! These breezy, 100% cotton Sailor Pants are the ubiquitous 'baggy pant' that can be worn within several costume combinations and still look RHA (Reasonably Historically Accurate). Two colors and two sizes are available, and the manufacturer mentions the feature of 'discreet deep front pockets'. Is that a bottle of Rum in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    6. OK, enough piracy. Time for some Gladiators! Are you one of those SCA nerd parents who are trying to teach your toddler LATIN? Don't lie. I know you are because I read your blog post about it. The Playmobil Roman Arena should help with your problem. Expensive, but just think of the educational experience! Morituri te salutamus! Lions not included.

    7. Whilst perusing the halls of the great Amazon for suitable armoriffic gifts, I tripped and fell laughing over the Black Barbarian Helmet of Extinction

    What lends this unassuming helm such nefarious powers? Is it the "historic black finish"? The legal disclaimer warns to check with your local laws before buying, so if you are thinking of getting these for all your Warcraft buddies, make sure extinction isn't illegal where they live.

    8. Got thee a bookish Knight for whom to shop? His tomes can be protected by these two polyresin Medieval Knights Bookends None shall pass! Or, maybe you'd rather just stick with books...

    9. The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art should definitely appeal to the art history buff on your shopping list. It details the meanings of the symbols (both hidden and obvious) that were common to the art of the Renaissance. "Magnificently illustrated", it automatically qualifies as a good coffee-table book.

    10. Those tricky Culinary Historians can be so tough to shop for. I mean, your local grocery store probably doesn't carry saffron, am I right? I bet unwrapping Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: A Concise History with 174 Recipes will bring a squeal of delight from any whose interest may lie in medieval cookery, or the exotic flavors of Islam.

    11. Shoes are an important part of an anachronists wardrobe. These Womens Renaissance Costume Shoes are probably not all that sturdy, being made of a 'suede-like' material, but the unique long-toe design insures that fit should not be too much of a problem, and they could also double as swim case the wearer need to escape from a pirate ship.

    12. We all know someone who needs tall boots. Whether for wading through the BS (Black Swamp - what were you thinking?), cavalier activities or just looking dashing, the all leather Edward Knee Boot makes a fine addition to a Lords or Ladies garb closet. Just be sure to convert your size, Ladies, as they are only sold in Mens sizes.

    13. The holidays are a fine time to play board games. In Shakespeare The Bard Game players are Elizabethan theater entrepreneurs who gather scripts, props, actors and money to stage shows! Unlike other trivia-style games, knowledge of the Bard is not required to win, so this can be fun for commoners, too.

    14. Made of suede velvet and constructed with buckram using traditional methods, the Captiano Hat will satisfy any cavalier or piratical Lord or Lady upon whose head it shall jauntily display. Displays of plumage accompany this renaissance reproduction, so it is best to know your recipients' preference before ordering. Especially in the SCA, the color of plumage in ones' hat can indicate certain preferences that are quite personal in nature.

    15. For a gift that keeps on giving, try a subscription to Renaissance.

    This bi-monthly magazine includes the largest and most up to date listing of all Renaissance fairs and festivals in the world. Because of the great research material, articles and reviews, these are the magazines that never get thrown away at the end of the subscription.

    16. While shown here on this saucy wench, the Muffin Hat can be worn by both sexes, assuming your head is the right shape. Especially good for the gentlemen whose hair is thinning, and needs to protect his sensitive dome from sunlight. Owing to personal experience, this is the hat that can be rumpled up under your car seat for a year and still look fine.

    17. Some reenactors like to be authentic right down to their smallclothes. Surprise your Lady with these sexy Bloomers, which, having elastic and being made of cotton, are NOT authentic, but hey, this appears RHA as far as I'm concerned. Great for laying around after hours at the fair or playing Warcraft in. Should you be so lucky to have a Warcraft-playing girlfriend.

    18. Learn fun facts of the Medieval Age and engage a young archaeologist with this Medieval Knight Dig & Play set. Encased in plaster, a fully armored Knight rests, awaiting the careful digging and cleaning that will release him to pose with his sword and shield.

    19. Any and all SCA should appreciate Pennsic War - A Video Documentary. If you've never been to Pennsic, you will marvel at the spectacle that is the largest gathering of SCA folks in the world. If you have attended, this will evoke fond memories - you may even see someone you know!

    20. Schools and Masters of Fencing: From the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Centuryis touted as the standard reference on historical swordsmanship since its 1885 publication. What may seem 'dated' at first has yet to be surpassed. A must-have for all students of the sword!

    21. If you hesitate to give 'real' weapons for the holidays, the Medieval Mace Toy Weapon will provide hours of entertainment at home or work without the worry of spilling blood. The soft satin ball Mace with plastic chain and handle can help you defend your cubicle against the scourge of TPS reports! Get medieval on your spouse without fear of bruises! Just make sure to buy two so you have an evenly matched, chivalrous fight. But before you go outfitting your Paladin with these, they do NOT hold up to the rigors of LARP combat.

    22. Chess is another great pastime that has a colorful and ancient history. These polystone Medieval Chessmen are just waiting for a face-off on the checkered field of battle! You'll need your own board to go with these finely detailed warriors, and this Tournament Chessboard makes a nice match.

    23. Bring out the Medieval Martha Stewart with this cute Castle Cakes cakelette baking pan. OK. I lied before when I said I didn't want anything on this list. Doesn't this look like such fun? I'm thinking edible diorama with Peeps attacking...and...Oh. Wait, let me save that one for Easter.

    24. It's no secret why 10 million people play World Of Warcraft - it satisfies their urge for a fantasy role-play environment. Or, the chance to PVP and earn Honor. Be it a Paladin, Mage, Warrior or Rogue that you know, they will all appreciate a 60 Day Pre-Paid World of Warcraft Card

    25. Still stumped for ideas? Well, I did the best I could. There's always calenders like this Antique Maps 2008 Calendar Always a good fallback if there's any interest in history or maps at all.

    Well, this concludes the 25 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Anachronists. I shall endeavor to start earlier next year.


    1. But, but - Castle disses Fabris! And Fabris is the Man!

      Excellent finds all. I already know at least one friend of mine who will squee at the cookbook. Thank you for the post.

      - Lucrezia

    2. Actually, if you're lucky enough to be local to a Trader Joe's, then you can get saffron at the grocery store. Cost Plus has it, too.

      Now, long pepper, on the other hand ... that's trickier. (But, oddly, available through as well!)

      Arwen :)


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