PNC Solstice Gift Picks – Kids, military, books, art

Looking for the perfect Solstice gift for your favorite Pagan, Heathen, or Polytheist?  PNC-Minnesota’s 2011 Solstice Gift Picks with expert advice, reviews, and recommendations for the latest movies, books, and other holiday gifts and treats can help.  Today’s picks  include book suggestions from Elysia Gallo of Llewellyn, stunning art and jewelry picks, Solstice cards, kids gifts, gifts for Military Pagans, and ideas for the TechnoMages on your list.

Be sure to check out the section on sales and special gifts offered at local Pagan stores.  When possible, support your community by buying local or buying direct from the artist.

For Art Mavens

If you are looking for some thing WOW! that is also sacred, consider this White Wold Headress from Nature PunkAt $1200 it isn’t inexpensive, but at least you can be assured the animal wasn’t killed for it’s fur.  Nature Punk  sources their fur, teeth, and claws from roadkill, Fish and Game, or second-hand sources – ensuring that no animals are needlessly killed for the sake of the art. The artist believes that no part of any creature should go to waste if a purpose can be found for it. Nature Punk has many other wearable works of art in their etsy store.

Red Tail Arts offerings run the gamut from jewelry to runes.  Each piece is handcrafted by Amber Roth, who splits her time between her artistic endeavors and co-hosting a Pagan Podcast.  I love her work and had a difficult decision to make on what item to grab a photo of.  The incrediblepainted feather earrings?  (I want those) The painted animal totems on quahog shells?  Antler runes?  Amber necklaces?  I’ll stay with the wolf theme and show you one of her painted feathers.  Her etsy store is brand new, she’s still loading it all up, so you can be sure the gift you buy isn’t something people have seen for years.  Painted feathers start at $20, earrings are $20, and totems are $5.

Star Foster is the Pagan Portal Manager of Patheos.com and loves to shop on DeviantART for prints as gifts.  She says smaller prints, placed in inexpensive frames, are one of her favorite gift giving tips.  Below are a few of her favorites.  (Are you on Star’s gift list?  If so, perhaps one of these will hang in your home soon.)

Star’s last pick is pure decadence, but at a practical price.  She says Haumea Botanicals Solid Lotions are awesome.  That’s high praise because Star is a lotion connoisseur. Her hands get super-dry in the winter and the solid lotions are the best things she’s have found – plus they smell awesome and last a long time.  The solids are made from a combination of Beeswax, different Plant Butters and Oils, and Essential Oils.  All Scented Solids come in various shapes, sometimes Round, Star, or Diamond.  Medium bars can last up to 3-4 weeks and Large bars can last up to 4 or more weeks of moderate use.  Small bars cost $2, mudiums are $10, and large bars are $20.

For Bookworms

Elysia Gallo is the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Llewellyn Worldwide, based in Minnesota.  She’s also active in her local community as Membership Chair / Volunteer Coordinator for Paganicon and Twin Cities Pagan Pride, and blogs for Llewellyn’s Paganism blog, Reflections of the Moon.  Who better to give us her top three book picks for the year than Elysia?

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The Witch’s Bag of Tricks by Melanie Marquis is just that – a wealth of tips and creative ideas for the experienced practitioner to play around with that will guide them in personalizing their magic, improving their skills, developing spiritually, and rekindling that spark that brought them to witchcraft in the first place.

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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 makeup, and this book’s exercises based in neuroscience will give you a whole new approach to invocation while injecting some “woohoo!” into your life.

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The Woman Magician by Brandy Williams examines the ways in which Western Traditional Magic and our culture at large has thought about women, gender differences, the divine feminine, and more, and creates an initiatory system for women to explore their highest spiritual potential. Williams shows us how we can update our traditions and craft something new and more appropriate for our culture and times, focused on the woman’s experience in her own body and her own right.

TechnoMage

Perhaps the Pagans in your life are more apt to be plugged into technology  than blissed out with nature.

David Dashifen Kees (Dash), is a mild mannered web application developer currently living in the American Midwest. Having a background in computer science and education, he’s been working online since 1998 and has never regretted his decision to get involved with the world of the Web.  Recently he’s begun to think seriously about the integration of modern technology and modern magic on a path that he calls technocraft.  In addition to the Hail Columbia project, Dash is the Technical Coordinator for the Pagan Newswire Collective, an international series of local news bureaus, and helps coordinate the International Pagan Coming Out Day.

A video recorder — especially one with HD — to make a log of rituals and other activities.  Amazon has a pretty good deal on the Toshiba Camileo S20 Full-HD Camcorder but others in that class are often around $100-150 dollars for those who are willing to spend that much.  As David regularly records his rituals, he’d love to use something other than his phone’s camera and microphone

An e-book reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.) is probably the #2 best gift you can get for anyone but if you’re getting it for a Pagan, you can pre-load it with some appropriate books that you might have otherwise gotten in paper.

Amazon.com (or wherever) gift cards!  Geeks are nothing if not practical and David says he greatly prefers gift cards to online super stores than cash as the latter usually ends up going to pay the bills which isn’t a very good gift at all.  With a gift card, you’re guaranteed that the person to whom you’re giving it will like what they’ve gotten since they can choose it themselves!

KIDS

Of course you can buy the usual toys for kids, it’s healthy for kids to play and that’s universal.  What gets more difficult is to choose gifts that reflect your family’s religion and ethics.  When you’re Pagan, Heathen or a Polytheist, that can be a bit more challenging.  Below are a few gift ideas for babies and children.

I am neither Wiccan nor do I have a baby, but I still want to buy this bib. This is one of those things that make me want to squeel OMGsHOW CUTE!  If you have a young one, or you know a Pagan family that has a wee little one, this would make an adorable gift.  This, and many other t-shirts, sleepers, and baby bags are available on cafepress.com.  $12

Another place to go for some amazing baby gifts is Treegold & Beegold.  They make baby and toddler items influenced by modern and historic earth-based Pagan spirituality. I love how their items have common symbology, imagery or themes of earth-based faiths on them. Where else could you find a Heathen Runic blocks patch?  That would look great on a baby hat.

 

Plum is pure genius.  They call themselves “the Netflix of baby clothes” — you subscribe to the service for a monthly fee and it works just like Netflix, except with boutique baby clothes.  Tell them what size, gender, and how many pieces you want and they ship it to you for free.  When the child out-grows the clothing or you are tired of it, send it back and you get the next batch of clothing.  All the clothes are washed before they’re sent out, and ones that come back stained are donated to foster care or recycled.  This is a low-cost way to keep your fast growing baby in cute clothes that also fits within the Pagan ethic of recycling and feeling the connection between us all.  Good gift for grandparents to give or for one parent to give to another.  Plum Subscription, from $33/month) Free round trip shipping.

Ladies, there’s a similar service out there for us called Rent The Runway.

Any picture book by W. Lyon Martin.  Really.  Any book.  The illustrations are eye catching and the book topics are engaging and cover situations occurring in Wiccan (not necessarily applicable for Pagan) households.  Aidan’s First Full Moon Circle looks especially interesting.  Here’s a bit of the plot:  “Aidan and his parents have been solitary witches for as long as he can remember. At the rising of the Harvest Moon, his family is invited to a local coven’s Full Moon Esbat celebration.   A fictional tale of a Wiccan nighttime gathering, Aidan’s First Full Moon Circle will engage young readers with magical images while introducing some coven ritual basics.”  Martin’s other books deal with similar topics Wiccan children may come across.  Ages 4-8/ $16.95

When she plays at Pagan festivals, kids come running to her like she’s the Pied Piper, but without evil intent.  Her music and her outfits are colorful and joyful and kids of all ages can’t help but to sing along with her.  I did.  Magic Mama   performs organic hip-hop and world beats for the whole family. She says she “delivers an empowering and hope-filled message of love and respect for all and inspires creative thinking and Earth-Friendly actions” through her music and that’s as accurate of a self-description as I’ve ever seen on MySpace.   Rodeo deGaia CD – $22.00  Wild Birds Migration CD – $16.00

Teens like jewelry and many are ecologically and socially aware.  This gift covers it all.  It may look like any other industrial feel bracelet, but the story behind it, and what it accomplished, brings it in line with our community’s ethics.   Article 22‘s PeaceBomb bracelets are made with repurposed Vietnam War scrap metal by Lao artisans.  For every bracelet sold, three square meters of land will be cleared of unexploded bombs.  That’s a powerful bracelet!  $16-$38

Military Pagans

To find gift suggestions for miltary Pagans we asked PNC Warriors & Kin blogger Lori Dake, Bress Nicneven from the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance (UMPA), and Selena Fox from Circle Sanctuary and Pagan Warrior Radio to help us.   Both UMPA and Circle Sanctuary are local organizations that send care packages to deployed Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist military members.  This is near and dear to my heart as I’m a military Vet and my son recently joined the USAF Reserve.

Bress Nicneven:   A hand written letter describing the intimacies of your daily life as it pertains to your own spirituality and beliefs.  Being in the military separates one from the rest of society, community and even ones own family at times.  Most men and women ‘serve’ because they want to serve a cause greater than themselves, because they love their families and because the want to learn skills that make them more valuable as members of society.  Writing a personal letter from the heart helps these men and women feel more connected to their community as a whole.

Candles are physical ritual tools that are not very easy to come by, as most PX Stations don’t carry candles.  They are like gold to a Pagan Solider.  Other ritual tools may be fashioned from items used in daily military life, drawn or imagined…however, candles do not fall into any of these categories.  So send candles!  Its always an excellent gift!

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Rev. Selena Fox: Some examples of Winter Solstice gifts for military Pagans include battery operated candles, a Tiger’s eye stone, and an ID-sized laminated blessing card.  All three gifts are easily portable and can work well for Pagan soldiers serving in a variety of settings, including in war zones.   The candles make it possible to practice the tradition of kindling lights at Yule even in barracks, on ships, and in other places where live flames are not an option.  A Tiger’s eye stone can be worn under a uniform or carried in a pocket for protection, continuing a Pagan soldier tradition that dates back to ancient Roman times.  The blessing card, laminated for durability, can be carried in a pocket as a tangible reminder of spiritual support and community. Laminated Military Pagan Prayer cards are available for free from Circle Sanctuary and are included in Yule Care Packages.

Lori Dake:   Downloadable Media: Gift cards/Promo codes for MP3s and eBooks make wonderful, uplifting gifts for our Warriors who lack personal storage space and are always on the move. Pagan authors may wish to consider donating electronic copies of their works via Operation: eBook Drop.

Pillow Cases: These are personal items significant others really appreciate receiving, as this type of bedding isn’t always available and is a simple reminder of home that can be blessed before shipping.
Homemade, non-perishable treats: The troops really look forward to “Cake in a Jar”, jerky, dried fruits, hard candies and nuts, especially when packed with air-popped popcorn and packets of salt – even if it arrives a little stale. (A cake recipe can be found here.Faith and Magick in the Armed ForcesA Handbook for Pagans in the Military by Stefani E. Barner  Issues that face Pagan military members and their families are explored in depth—practicing their faith, relocation, overseas deployment, preparing for combat, returning as veterans, working for peace. Religious freedoms, legal issues, and rights are clarified, and resources for help are given. Faith and Magic in the Armed Forcesoffers knowledgeable advice, helpful rituals and meditations designed specifically for the military experience, and candid interviews with Pagan service persons and their loved ones.   $7.98In addition to these gift ideas, you could donate to UMPA or Circle Sanctuary so they may send a care to a deployed Pagan service member in your Pagan Vet’s name.   Lori Dake has raised thousands for the troops with her PNC Clip For The Troops campaign.  And Pagan Warrior Radio‘s November 22 show focuses ways of sending support at Yuletide to military Pagans deployed in war zones and elsewhere overseas.
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Cards

Of course you should check out your local Pagan or Metaphysical store for holiday cards that celebrate our holidays, but you might want to take a peek on etsy.  Buying local is great, but so is buying direct from the artist.

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4 thoughts on “PNC Solstice Gift Picks – Kids, military, books, art

  1. Kyrja says:

    I am delighted to see this listing and the suggestions. Terrific!! May I also suggest “Rupert’s Tales: The Wheel of the Year – Beltane, Litha, Lammas and Mabon,” the first in a series of read-aloud books written specifically for Pagan children. Book Two, featuring our furry friend as he learns about Samhain, Yule, Imbolc and Ostara is due to be released in or near February, 2012 – along with a coloring/activity book with images from both Wheel of the Year hard cover titles at the same time.

    Brightest of Solstice Greetings to all!

    Kyrja

  2. Anastasia says:

    Many amazing pagan craftsmen are preparing for the holiday seasons. I appreciate this list since there are items here I didn’t know about. Hazel (http://dreaminghazelstudio.com) creates amazing art and holiday cards for various events. Another option is the House of Night Young Adults series written by PC and Kristin Cast, a very magical series that has been compared to the Harry Potter series. Folks can find amazing gifts that don’t look pagan, too, but are still supporting pagan artisans. Thank you for the great list.

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