The gift-buying season has descended upon us once more, with all the foreboding of a Lovecraftian creature emerging from the deep. I’m lucky in that I only have about ten people to get gifts for, and I actually finished all my shopping in November. But if you haven’t, and you know that tea cozies and Elisabeth Gilbert books just aren’t going to cut it with your family and friends, then here are some ideas on holiday gifts with a bit more bite.
And if you want some more ideas, then check out some of the cool stuff on last years Christmas Gift Guide – I have deliberately NOT repeated any items/shops from one list to the next, so going back to that list will give you 25 more awesome ideas.
1. “Ghostly” cat paintings and prints by Endre Penovvác
I shared the link to Endre’s work on FB a couple of weeks ago, but I think it deserves more attention. We decided to purchase a print of Listening as a Christmas present for ourselves, and I can’t wait to get it up in our new home. My other favourite is Soft Step 2, which we might buy as a pair at a later date. I love the way Endre uses the white of the paper and very minimal . I know how difficult watercolours can be to work and these paintings are so subtle and striking. Some of the originals are still for sale, but you can also buy canvas or paper prints from Saatchi Online.
2. Crimson Peak Range from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Image from Spookula, who you should definitely follow, as she has an awesome Instagram.
Ghosts are real. That much I know. I’ve seen them all my life.
For anyone with even remotely gothic leanings, the movie event of the year was Del Toro’s decadent masterpiece, Crimson Peak. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab bring their to design scents for many of the characters and scenes from the movie in their Crimson Peak Collection. My favourite is the black moth scent – wild plum and blackcurrant with aged black patchouli, vetiver, red rose petal, tonka absolute, and opoponax. And Ghosts sounds pretty awesome, with it’s legacy of sorrow, violence, and undeath: chrysanthemum petals, crushed violet leaf, and funereal incense.
3. Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple
It always strikes me as odd when somone quite young releases an autobiography, but Molly Crabapple’s short life has so far been so interesting that I’m sure she could have filled a few volumes. Drawing Blood follows Molly’s travels as a young artist, nude nodel and burlesque dancer, through her days as the in-house artist at the legendary NYC nightclub The Box, to the moment that changed her life – the Occupy movement – and plunged her into a world of journalism, reporting from places such as Guantanamo, Syria, Rikers Island, and the labor camps of Abu Dhabi. Using both words and artwork to shed light on the darker corners of American empire, Molly Crabapple has swiftly become one of the most original and galvanizing voices on the cultural stage.
As befitting an artist, Crabapple’s biography is fully illustrated in her usual wity and fierce style. I have been a fan of her artwork for years – one of her Shell Game prints hangs in my bathroom – and I’d love to add this book to my bookshelf. Buy Drawing Blood from Amazon.
4. Yoga Mats from Baphomats
Know someone who loves yoga but wishes the gear were just a little more badass? Well, Bathomats can help. This . Hailing from coastal South Australia, Bathomats present hand-drawn, screen-printed yoga mats with heavy metal, occult, gothic and generally darker designs. My favourite is this Moon Cycle Black Yoga Mat, but there are several other designs to choose from. All the designs are sustainably created using non-toxic ink, and UV-cured by the sun. Buy from the Baphomat Etsy Store, and you can also follow Baphomats on Instagram.
5. Clothing or Vouchers from Deandri
Image from Samantha Ford
Deandri outfits have been popping up on several Instagram feeds I follow. If you were to imagine what clothing label a grown Wednesday Addams would shop at, that would be Deandri. Minimal, short, moto, schoolgirl, punk-as-fuck – this LA-based design team have got it going on. All clothing is handmade in LA, and all the shoes are handmade from animal-friendly PVC fabrics and Japanese pine wood. My favourite pieces are the Banshee top & Nancy Skirt set, the Moto Dress with red plaid skirt and the Collness harness. You can shop the Deandri store or follow Deandri on Instagram.
6. Ophelia Wears Black, Segovia Amil
I’ve been on a massive poetry kick lately, and Segovia’s instagram has been a joy to behold. She posts stunning portraits interspersed with lines of her poetry and the stories that inspire them. Her debut book, Ophelia Wears Black, just came out, and I’m strongely debating getting my hands on a copy. If you know a darkling obsessed with Poe or Byron, then shout them this collection of rich, intoxicating verse. Buy from Segovia Amil’s website or follow her on Instagram.
7. Mummy Cat, Marcus Ewert & Lisa Brown
If you need a book for the little awesome people in your life, then Mummy Cat is the one. We purchased this recently for our Cthulhudaughter (because Goddaughter doesn’t really seam appropriate) and got a copy for ourselves. It has a happy ending, but it actually makes both my husband and I cry every time we read it, so be warning. The story is actually quite sophisticated, and it has some great info at the back about Ancient Egpyt, mummification, and heiroglyphs. Buy Mummy Cat from Amazon.
8. Lunatik Cosmetic Labs
Image by Marrrlindasdaaline
OK, I’ll say this right now – I have no clue about makeup. The only times in my life I’ve ever worn it is for productions, photo shoots, and my wedding. But, I have been seeing Lunatik Cosmetic Labs ALL OVER INSTAGRAM with their awesome pics, and people who know makeup have been raving about them, so … if your girl is into makeup, then try the High Definition Microfinish Pressed Powder in a planchette box. Or the Supernatural palette complete with coffin/bat box. And what’s even better is that all their products are talc and cruelty free, and vegan-friendly. I mean, holy shit! Buy from the Lunatik website or follow on Instagram.
9. Witch Hunter, by Steffanie Holmes
Yes, this is my book. I write the Gift Guide, I get to add my own stuff. Europe, 1351. Ada must hide her powers when a Witch Hunter arrives in her village. Unfortunately, he has his eye on her, and he is as handsome as he is dangerous. Will Ulrich’s heart thaw in time to save Ada from being burned alive at the stake? This steamy BBW romance novel contains elements of BDSM and dungeon play. Buy Witch Hunter on Amazon.
10. The Vorrh, Brian Catling
This was one of the most interesting books I read this year. I read it on my kindle and I am dying to get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it many, many more times. Beyond the colonial city of Essenwald lies the Vorrh, the forest which sucks souls and wipes minds. There, a writer heads out on a giddy mission to experience otherness, fallen angels observe humanity from afar, and two hunters – one carrying a bow carved from his lover, the other a charmed Lee-Enfield rifle – fight to the end. Buy the Vorrh on Amazon.
11. Jewels from Bloodmilk
Image from JenvonHaunt
I am sad to say that I don’t actually own any Bloodmilk jewellery, which is preety much sacrilege for any lady with a somewhat dark temperament. Designer Jess imbues her collections with personal stories, historical contexts – such as the Victorian Spiritualist movement – and mythological references. Her designs are bold but beautiful, enchanting yet slighly melancholic. I would love to own a piece like Easful Death: Large Onyx Ring or As Above, So Below: Mini Lorraine Cross one day. Buy Bloodmilk Jewels.
12. Nick Cave, The Sick Bag Song
Image from Pitchfork
I was so saddened to hear the tragic news about Nick Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur falling to his death after a bad LSD trip. Nick Cave is one of my favourite artists and to learn he suffered such a tragedy is heartbreaking. Right before the accident, Nick released the Sick Bag Song, a book recounting the Bad Seeds’ 2014 tour. Originally scribbled on airplane sick bags, the book became an epic of love, inspiration and meaning. You can buy copies, including limited editions, from the Sick Bag Song website.
13. Subscription to Paper & Pens
Image by Light & Pine
Got a writer in your life who like paper and notebooks and writing and drawing things? Paper & Pen offers subscriptions to receive awesome stuff like this in the mail. You can choose 1, 3 or 6-month subscriptions, and the recipient will receive a wonderful package of ephemera. Buy a Paper & Pens subscription from their website.
14. Exquisite Leatherbound Journals from McCall Co.
Image from McCall Co.
Even though I do most of my writing on sleek, modern iMac, I cannot resist the blank pages of a beautiful journal. I have a tendancy to stalk bookbinders on Etsy like a creepy fangirl. McCall Co. offer traditional book designs with exquisite detailing and a nod to the mysterious. My favourite in their current collection is The Scribe’s Codex, but they’re all beautiful. And if you don’t quite see the perfect book, you can get them to custom-design one for you. The perfect gift for a writer or a dreamer. Buy from the McCall Co. Website and follow them on instagram.
15. Absinthe Ritual Sets from Alandia
Recently, I’ve begun to discover the intoxicating secrets of the green fairy, and part of the joy of absinthe-drinking is the la louche ritual – where water is poured over a sugar cube resting over a perforated spoon above the absinthe glass. The water turns the absinthe into a milky green colour, and is said to unlock the essential oils of the wormwood. I’ve been looking for a decent set for a while, and I’ve heard many good things about the Alandia sets – they offer a range of glasses, spoons and fountains, as well as a stunning selection of absinthe you can order online. Visit the Alandia website.
What’s on your holiday wishlist this year?
Grab your copy of my latest dark fantasy, The Gauge War now!
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