Christmas approacheth, and the e-mails keep coming, as relentless as pistachio vendors in eighth-century Aleppo: Jeff, what should I get for the medievalist in my life?
Come on, people; shopping for medievalists is easy. Here are some suggestions for unusual presents that are bound to be more gratefully received than those Medieval Times gift certificates everyone got stuck with last year.
If your medievalist adores Byzantine church history, Got Medieval sells an awesome assortment of household doodads with primates on them.
Do your loved ones live where Beowulf and business markets intersect? Then hit them with gift subscriptions to The Wiglaf Journal, which “comes to the aid of today’s executives in vanquishing their challenges.”
Let’s pretend this also doesn’t sound dirty: Set your mouth on fire with Dante’s Inferno Balls.
Medieval Icelanders deployed the term “downward-facing dog” with unseemly specificity. Nonetheless, a lesson in runic yoga will de-stress your workaholic Viking.
If your kid’s reenactments of the Fourth Lateran Council with R2-D2 and Spider-Man on a dune buggy don’t feel sufficiently reverent, then you’re in luck: get thyself a Pope Innocent III action figure.
Grendel’s mom sez: “Preserve your child’s teeth and hair in a pewter castle-shaped reliquary—but catch the shrieks in a cup of gold.”
Like mistletoe, chipmunks, and cranberry-lamprey casserole, Charlemagne is an essential part of any old-fashioned Christmas. So buy Matt Gabriele’s new book, The Legend of Charlemagne in the Middle Ages, or the new paperback edition of Charlemagne’s Mustache. If cerebral tabletop games are your thing, try the highly abstract Carolus Magnus. If you reek, de-stinkify thyself with Charlemagne Shower Gel.
Incubus wearing you out at night? Secure your bedchamber with a dragon-themed lock and key.
Place a tiara on the brow of the lady in your life. (Or the man. I’m not here to judge.)
Men and women of academia, I ask ye: of what use be tenure if it alloweth ye not to herald your arrival in the classroom?
This year, shop secure in the knowledge that the best medieval-themed gifts can avert the most awful of Christmas disasters. I can hear it now: “The heavenly aroma still hung in the house. But it was gone, all gone! No lamprey! No lamprey sandwiches! No lamprey salad! No lamprey gravy! Lamprey hash! Lamprey à la king! Or gallons of lamprey soup! Gone, all gone!”
(And yes, if you do want to feast like a late medieval big-shot, there’s always tinned sea lamprey from Russia. You would even say it glows…)