Happy Krampusnacht everyone! It’s that special time of year when we gather round the fire and hope that we will not be carted away to the lair of a horned sasquatch with a sadistic streak and a penchant for children…oh the holidays! It’s in Krampus’ honour that we present this year’s holiday gift guide. If you survive the Horned One tonight, celebrate by buying the perfect gift for all the macabre folks on your list.
Fragrance is my jam so I know the minefield it can be to give it as a gift. Many a sweet friend has bought me a bottle that I’ve never used. But for the brave out there here are some smelly gems that go great with a dark aesthetic and a winter wonderland.
Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio: This can be a challenging scent for those used to dainty florals, but if you have a budding fumie in your life that loves the smell of a crackling bonfire in the winter then this is the gift for you. It is a beautiful mix of smoke, woods, and ambers that will make you feel all warm and toasty. I like to layer it with Incense Pure to create a sexy femme fatale smoky incense that has sillage for days.
Dance of Death by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Part of their Ars Moriendi series, Dance of Death is a beautiful fragrance for someone that loves gothy scents but doesn’t want to smell like clove cigarets. Bone powder orris intertwines with beautifully aged myrrh on an earthy bed of black musk. It smells like a beautiful demonic manger.
Baudelaire by Byredo: They call this a men’s leather fragrance, but I say hogwash. Firstly, perfume is genderless and secondly, this is an inky, black pepper, papyrus extravaganza. There is a leather accord, but it only shows up in the dry down and reads more as warm skin. I love this scent in winter. It is rich, robust, and I adore the ghost of it that lingers on my scarf. Plus, its Baudelaire, I always end up reading something from the Fleur du Mal when I wear it.
Biblioteca De Babel by Fueguia 1833: This little beauty is named after a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. While that’s enough of a reason for me to buy, even if you are not a fan of magical realism, this is worth a sniff. It smells like you just sat down in a squishy leather armchair after pouring yourself a glass of cognac in a timeworn, but deeply loved library. This is the bottled essence of my life goals.
Holiday movies can be a bit dull so this year let me suggest two films that will provide a nice break from the saccharine heart-warming film fests and would make a nice Blu-Ray stocking stuffer.
Krampus: Last years Krampus was a fantastic dark comedy/horror film that subverts the tropes of the traditional holiday movie. Between the laughs and the jumps it has a good message and will surely get a conversation started. It has a really great cast and some wonderful CGI and practical effects.
Rare Exports: When was the last time you saw a Finnish film? Never you say? How about a movie about reindeer herders? No? Well, then you kind of have to see this 2010 film. It is charming, dark, and will really make you want to up your sweater game. Fins got some sweaters.
I was charmed when I found out that the traditional Icelandic Christmas gift is a book. Iceland publishes more books each year per capita than any other nation, and the shops are just bursting with books for the holiday rush. Oh to be an Icelander. As a person that loves to read and hates e-books, this just gives me all the feels. So if you are giving books this year. Here are a few recommendations.
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath: I’ve followed Porath’s blog of the same name for a few years now. I love the art and the celebration of all kinds of women from all over the world. I didn’t learn about women like Nzinga Mbande until I was in my Masters and it literally makes me want to cry to think there are little girls that are going to grow up hearing the stories of women that haven’t received the attention they deserve. I’ve always said this needs to be a book and the book gods clearly answered my prayers. Not every story is for little ones, but it is conveniently broken up into ratings from G-R.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: I love Neil Gaiman, and The Graveyard Book is one of his best. It is suitable for both children and adults and is a masterpiece of fantasy. It’s the kind of book you can get lost in, and I would also suggest the audiobook if you are on the go. Gaiman reading Gaiman is a delight. Plus, the titular graveyard was modelled in part on Abney Park in London, which is a wonderland of foliage and graves and one of my happy places.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty: A great non-fiction/memoir about how Doughty got into the funeral business and her interested in death and dying. It’s a fun read and a nice starting point if you are interested in learning about the funeral industry. Also, an excellent audiobook choice.
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: People are familiar with the Mütter Museum, but the biography of the man behind that collection, who helped revolutionise medicine is just as strange and fascinating. It’s not heavy duty history, but if you want context for your next visit or are a fan of the museum, you have to give it a read.
The Kind of Things That Are Not For Everyone
To end our gift giving roundup, here are few gift ideas for the very hard to shop for person in your life.
Definitely Not Poison Skull Bottle Stopper from ThinkGeek: What’s not to love, its practical, its’ shiny and it’s a skull. It’s a triple threat gift!
Pentagram Harness by Malice Lingerie: There all over Instagram! These harnesses are all the rage, and I’ve seen some (granted attached to bras) for $200. Don’t waste your money. You want the versatility of an unattached harness. The Malice harness is great, affordable and looks cool af. A great gift for a fashion-forward witch.
GYST: I know what you’re thinking, “Damn it Nuri, you did it again, you got me to scroll down because of girls in their underthings, and then you snuck in estate planning” Yes, I did, but hear me out. With GYST you can give the gift of estate planning to a loved one. That means things like help with an attorney, getting your living will together, your power of attorney and living trust. This is by far the most pricey item on this list, but hey, nothing says I love you like the gift that protects a person’s house, money, kids, and medical wishes. Also, you get a whole box of straw.
Taxidermied Bat in Glass Dome by Loved to Death: You don’t think you need it. Then you see it….and now your house will not be complete without it!
Angolan Quartz Carved Skull by Skullis: I’ve always wanted a replica of my own skull, which with scanners and 3D printers is a reality now. However, since I found Skullis the dream has upgraded to a model of my own skull…in Angolan Quartz! We aren’t there yet, but I guess any old quartz skull will do for now.
Happy holidays everyone. I hope this year is full of love and happiness for all of us, and thank you for making the first year of Death/Scent an amazing adventure!