Christmastime can be complicated when you’re not Christian.
Minority religions tend to feel out of place in a season when Christmas is everywhere you look. This is especially true for folks like me because even though acceptance of religious diversity is making strides, being pagan is still considered odd. Truly, paganism is just another path of spirituality and if you’ve ever felt moved by standing on a mountain top or sat very still because an iridescent dragonfly landed on your leg, you know that honoring our earth is the most natural thing in the world.
Maybe you’re like me, a practicing witch, and are looking for nice Yule ideas for friends, family, or a lover. If that’s the case, skip on down to check out some fun, witchy gift ideas.
If you’re here because someone you love has told you that they’re pagan or Wiccan and you want to buy them something for the holidays–thank you. It’s pretty awesome of you to take their spirituality into consideration as you get into the holiday spirit. Your loved one is going to be super touched that you put in the effort to respect their beliefs.
This blog is for you to give you some ideas of gifts that any pagan would be excited to receive, but also to give you a quick Yule run down and answer some of the questions you might have been afraid to ask.
Is it “witch,” “pagan,” “Wiccan,” or what?
Just like the many denominations of Christianity, earth-based religions have hundreds of different traditions–Wicca and Reclaiming would be two examples. Some are more organized than others. Like Christianity, while they may have significant differences, fundamentally pagan traditions tend to have more common than not. The best thing to do is use the language your loved ones use to describe themselves.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do?
Just because we don’t celebrate Christmas doesn’t mean we’re not in the mood to make merry this season. We pagans have an excess of holiday spirit. I mean, Christians have two major holidays and pagans have eight. We’re always up for celebrating. And Yule, which falls on the winter solstice, is a big deal. Yule marks the longest night of the year–the time when the days finally stop getting shorter and begin to get longer again. All across the colder climates, people have always marked midwinter in some way going back thousands of years. And it makes sense. It’s cold, dark, and our ancestors couldn’t get cozy with hot cocoa and Netflix to wait for spring. Humans needed to come together, make cheer, and remember that it won’t be dark forever.
Because there are so many traditions, I can’t say how your friend celebrates. I can only tell you about my traditions. We ring bells on the longest night to call back the sun. Yule is the rebirth of the sun and the rebirth of our sun god. So you could say it’s the birthday of a light-bringing god. You might have more in common with your loved one than you think.
Why do they have a Christmas tree?
They probably have a Yule tree. I’m looking at my Yule tree right now, all lit up and decorated with pine cones and glittery ornaments. The tradition of bringing evergreens into the home at midwinter and decorating them is an ancient, pre-Christian practice honoring the tree that stays green even when all other trees look dead. Plus, lots of non-religious folks have holiday trees and exchange gifts simply because it’s part of the culture.
They’ve said Christmas really comes for paganism. Is that true?
Saying Christmas is an exact copy of ancient pagan practice is inaccurate. Even modern pagan practice isn’t an exact copy of ancient pagan practice. But the truth is, many of the holiday traditions we associate with Christmas, like bell ringing, holly, and yule logs, come from folk midwinter traditions carried over from our pagan roots that your ancestors brought with them when they converted to Christianity.
What are good gifts for pagans?
First off, a nice gift for a pagan is anything that particular person would like. Being pagan isn’t the only thing they are, so if you know they’re obsessed with Stranger Things, for example, then maybe check out the best Stranger Things Christmas gifts if you don’t see anything you like on this list.
If you’d like to get them something that shows that you support and accept them, then check out these best Yule gifts that will make for a very pleased pagan.
1. Nature’s Blossom Candle Making Kit
The stereotype that pagans are slightly obsessed with candles is true. Many pagans use candles in their spells, but think of how much more potent it would be if you were charging the candle with intention throughout the whole process of creating it. Plus you can put small crystals into the wax which will slowly reveal themselves. I can’t recommend putting herbs into your homemade candles because they can and will catch fire. This candle making kit from Nature’s Blossom has all the supplies you need to create three eight ounce candles, each with a burn time of around 20 hours. Candles this size tend to go for around $15 so right there you’ve got $45 worth of candles.
The kit is perfect for beginners and comes with everything you need and easy to follow instructions. It includes the candle tins, soy wax, wicks, fragrances, and a melting pitcher. I’ve made candles on my own before and you have no idea how valuable that melting pitcher is. Anything wax touches pretty much belongs to wax forever. I learned this after sacrificing a Pyrex measuring cup to the forever-waxy residue. The included fragrances are light and calming. You get Lemon Blossom, Lavender Epiphany, and Soothing Chamomile. If you think your loved one would rather not have to do the work of making their candles, check out my post on the best luxury candles for more gift ideas.
2. Genuine Leather Refillable Tree of Life Journal
Many witches use what is called a Book of Shadows to mark down recipes, spells, messages, thoughts, drawings, symbols, and anything else they might need to have on paper. This handmade Leather Refillable Tree of Life Journal makes your Book of Shadows all the more magical. The image of the World Tree has such amazing detail from the tiny acorns on the tree down to the gnarled roots you’ll want to trace with your fingers. The front cover is breathtaking enough but you have to open the journal up to view the entire image of the immense oak. A leather cord and a pewter button (with perfectly matching oak leaves and acorn) work as a closure.
The hardest part of using such a beautiful journal is knowing that eventually it will fill up, but this is a journal cover. It slips over the cover of any 5.5 inch by 8.5 inch journal, so when you’ve filled one up, you can transfer the cover to a fresh, blank journal. This cover comes with a blank hardcover journal insert of 208 pages to start with. It’s handmade by artisans in the United States.
3. Abalone Shell Incense Burner With Stand & Smudge Sticks
Total honesty: I don’t own one of these. I don’t know how I don’t own one of these. I really want one of these. The inside of abalone shells have such a captivating iridescence and opalescence. At 5.5 inches long, these shells are a perfect size for resting smudge sticks and palo santo sticks which you burn to create a ritual, purifying incense smoke. Because these things can still be smoldering, you don’t want to set them down on just anything. This gorgeous shell can handle the heat. This burner comes with three smudge sticks of California white sage, each four inches long. I’ve found sets of three smudge sticks that go for around $8 so already it’s a pretty good deal. You also get the collapsible cobra stand that was carved from one piece of wood and fits together as a stand for your incense burner. These are also available in five inch shells, six inch shells, and unstained wood for the stand.
4. Essential Oil Storage Case
Essential oils are endlessly useful, but also a nightmare-and-a-half to store. Before I invested in a proper storage box, I had mine in an old makeup case and they were so frustrating that I just wouldn’t use them. An essential oil box helps you organize, save space, and gives easy access to all of your oils quickly. If someone is at all interested in essential oils, a storage case will make their eyes shine. This case holds up to 75 oils in three organized drawers.
There’s a handle on top for easier carrying, which mine does not have and I really wish it did. To secure your drawers, there’s a separate panel that slots into the front holding them in place. It even has a beautiful citrus and flower design on it. You also get a sheet of colorful labels to stick on the top of your bottles so you can identify them from above. I’ve never been able to make these work as the bottles end up being too oily for them to stick, but it’s a nice feature and would likely work on newer bottles. It has a natural wax finish and lovely dovetail edging. If you know that your friend doesn’t have many oils yet, really win their heart by pairing this with a set of essential oils.
5. Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy & Trance in the Shamanic Craft
For the pagan who loves to devour books, take a look at Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy and Trance in the Shamanic Craft by Gede Parma. I own this book (bought with my own money and not for a review) and I have read it cover to cover more than once. It’s a pagan book that manages to be a great read for beginners and those who have been studying the craft their whole lives. The writing style is lively and approachable. You’re definitely not getting a dry, boring textbook here, but it’s still packed with exercises, techniques, rituals, and chants, as well as intriguing explanations and thoughts around on shamanic and ecstatic Witchcraft.
If you’re not familiar, ecstatic witchcraft refers to practices (chanting, journeying, dancing) that help you step outside of yourself and experience the mystery and unity around us free from our egos. Given the material, this might not be the best choice for a very young pagan. I love that this book is very LGBTQ inclusive, so if you’re looking for something for a queer witch friend of yours, this has it all. I am a part of the same Witchcraft tradition as Gede Parma, and the reason I came to find the Wildwood Tradition was through my love of this book.
Price: $12.11 (33 percent off MSRP)
6. Stag Dragon Tee Shirt
This is on my personal Yule list. The shirt sports an image of our Horned God, surrounded by a dragon with a body made of flowers, vines, and antlers. The god is holding a cat who looks more than a little appreciative for his the protective arms. Cats are often symbols for witches in general, for spirit familiars, and the goddess. The artwork is unbelievably detailed. The teeth of the stag god have texture and even the small claw of the dragon has a lined, almost chicken-foot like, look to it. It comes in a size small to XXX-large and is available 11 colors including red, light blue, white, and green heather.
Edit: I’m seeing this is now expected to arrive after Christmas. Keep an eye out for an update from me.
Price: From $23.99
7. Wheel of The Year Wall Plaque
This wall plaque with art by Maxine Miller is cast resin with a warm, hand-painted stain. The wheel of the year is literally shaped like a wheel and there is a slot to hang it up behind each holiday so you can actually rotate your wheel as the season turns, moving the current celebration to the top. Each spoke of the wheel points to one holiday with the name included and a beautiful carving of an image associated with that festival marking its place on the wheel. There’s holly and pine for Yule, crocuses for Imbolc, and pumpkins for Samhain, including pumpkin blossoms that are only just making tiny baby pumpkins. The plaque is just under a foot in diameter and also comes in a darker stain and a gold metallic finish.
8. 60 Herb Sampler Set
I showed this to my very witchy partner and his eyes lit up like you wouldn’t believe. For those of us who work with herbs, it can take a long time to amass the sort of collection that you dream of. This sampler is a short cut to almost every magical herb you might need. Often we only need a small amount of a strange herb for a spell but you end up having to buy loose dried herbs by the half ounce, which is so much more than you need. These come in just under a quarter of an ounce, which isn’t a ton, but it’s perfect for a sampler.
You get to work with a huge range of herbs that it might otherwise take you years to pull together. Not all of the 60 packets are herbs you’ve never heard of, so expect to find some peppermint, black tea, basil, and poppy seed, but you’ll also find herbs like gotu kolu (one of my favorites), wormwood, shepard’s purse, and angelica root. I can’t think of a single witch friend who wouldn’t absolutely flip out over this herb set.
Edit: I’m seeing this is now expected to arrive after Christmas. Keep an eye out for an update from me.
9. Raw Amethyst Crystal Pendant Necklace
Who doesn’t want to wear their very own crystal garden around their neck? This miniature glass terrarium is filled with real, dried moss and a raw amethyst crystal. It has such a magical, fairy-land look to it. These are all handmade and individual so yours will be unique in the world. The glass dome is about one inch tall so it’s not tiny, but I’m willing to put up with some serious chunkiness in my jewelry if it looks like this. There’s an attached nickel-free bronze chain that’s about 30 inches long and it comes in a velvet bag. If amethyst isn’t your thing, this is also available in citrine.
10. Morning Star Incense 12 Fragrance Assortment
If you haven’t tried Morning Star incense yet, you need to. When we think of incense, most think of those wooden sticks with the actual fragrance part attached to it, so when you’re burning it you’re getting your incense smoke along with the smoke from burning wood. Senko style incense, like Morning Star, get rid of the wood all together. These are thin, sticks that are made entirely of incense so you’re only getting the pure fragrance of the incense. We use these in our home all the time and love that we don’t have to deal with throwing away sticks anymore.
Buying just one of these boxes can run you around $4 so this set of 12 is an incredible steal. You get sandalwood, pine, musk, patchouli, jasmine, rose, cedarwood, amber, vanilla, green tea, lavender and cinnamon for a total of 600 incense sticks. You should be set for a while with this collection. There’s a small ceramic incense burner in every box, but I prefer to burn mine stuck into a small bowl of sand.
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