As my blog title would imply, I am an historian by training. As you could imagine, that means that I adore all things related to history. Obviously, I have more history books than any one person should, but there are also far more creative ways to celebrate the past. Today I am sharing my gift guide for the historians and history lovers in your life! These are some of my favourite, creative history gifts that will impress your history buff, and let them enjoy the past a little bit more. They are all available online for order, and there is still plenty of time before the holiday madness begins to put your order in! Without further adieu, let’s dive into the past!
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Royal Family Special, Coloring Heaven
You may have spotted this colouring book on my Instagram here and there- it is the perfect form of relaxation for anyone who loves royal history! The book mostly features the current British royal family, but also includes some of our favourite Tudors and Victorians, as well as heraldic designs for those days when you just want to zone out. If your loved one happens to be a fan of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there are quite a few wedding and tour pictures to colour, as well as a few family pictures. And in case you thought it was forgotten, of course there are the corgis! What I love about this colouring book is that there isn’t an overwhelming amount of detail like the design-based ones that dominate the market now. Stocking stuffer, perhaps?
From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847-1928, Julia P. Gelardi
From Splendor to Revolution is not a short book, but it is worth the time and investment. Some readers like a book that they can finish in an afternoon. However, some want one that will last weeks. This is the book for them! I find that the when it comes to Romanov history, oftentimes only Nicholas and Alexandra (and their children come up). This book covers several different Romanov women, both those who were born into the family and those who married into it, from different generations. Yes, it is an incredibly tragic study but entirely worth the read! With Amazon producing a new show about the Romanov family, this is a timely gift to give, and quite frankly, always of the moment for any royal history enthusiast. I’ve also got Julia Gelardi’s first book, Born to Rule on my Christmas list this year because I was so impressed with From Splendor to Revolution!
Tea Fit For a Queen: Recipes and Drinks for Afternoon Tea, Historic Royal Palaces
Although “but coffee first” echoes round the world with a bizarre intensity, there are many of us that prefer our cuppa tea to coffee. From Historic Royal Palaces, this is a short but fun guide to the history of tea. There are also recipes and tips for hosting your own afternoon tea. Although some of the recipes take some baking experience, some are quite easy to get started with! The foreward is by Joint Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces herself, Lucy Worsley, which lends it a bit of gravitas. It isn’t an overly long book, so it is perfect for an afternoon of relaxing and pampering. I would recommend this for anyone who likes to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea, or anyone who likes to fancy themselves somewhat of a royal watcher!
While the The Tudors is nowhere close to historically accurate, it sure is entertaining and brought a whole new generation to Tudor history, which I am grateful for. Before Game of Thrones and Westworld and even the sweeping historical Downton Abbey, there were shows like The Tudors– this is the perfect for the Tudor enthusiast, as well as the epic tv show fan in your life. I have each individual season because I received them (as holiday presents) each year as they released, but you can now buy the entire show in one easy collection! It’s a lot of fun to watch now because you can spot a lot of now famous actors in the first roles, including Aidan Turner of Poldark and Henry Cavill of Superman fame. Also, if you are looking
for more suggestions for a Tudor historian, you can pair the television show with a Tudor book!
The Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace, Lucy Worsley
One of my absolute favourite books, I recommend this to pretty much anyone on the planet! The Georgian Court at Kensington Palace was fascinating in every possible way, and there is something for everyone in this book. Lucy has the best way with words; she brings history to life brilliantly but never makes it dry or boring, and Courtiers is no exception. You meet William Kent, the painter behind the King’s Staircase, Peter the Wild Boy, backstabbing aristocrats, visiting royalty, and all sorts of characters you couldn’t imagine if you tried. The Georgian residents on Kensington Palace often get shoved aside for Queen Victoria (in her childhood), Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales, but the eighteenth century occupants deserve far more attention than they get!
Henry VIII and Wives Tree Decoration Set, Historic Royal Palaces
This is the only item on this list that I don’t currently own, and I will soon hopefully- I will be purchasing this on my UK trip in February! What I love about ornaments is that you can hang them on a tree but you can also string them from the mantle or keep them as desk decorations at work. I firmly believe that if any monarch is recognisable enough to get their own set of tree decorations, Henry VIII (and his wives) is. I own a few other Historic Royal Palaces pieces, and they are all fantastic quality, they are definitely ornaments to invest in. I personally plan on using this decoration set next Christmas to create a “Find the Wives” game. (There is no shame at all here.) This would be exactly the thing to get someone who loves history and Christmas!
I have just finished up this audiobook, and it was wonderful! While the Tudor and Stuart monarchs are quite popular, I think that a lot of us are less well-versed in the continental European monarchies. I will fully admit to knowing very little about the monarchy of Bohemia, but now that I’ve had a taste, I will definitely be looking for more to read! This book is fantastic for the historian who wants to branch out from the familiar and learn more; although it seems fairly straight forward and focused, it weaves close to a dozen notable seventeenth century figures together in a complex and fascinating tapestry. It is well written and exciting, and moves very quickly. The audiobook narrator was wonderful, but I think that it was be a good gift to read in physical form as well!
Oh, my love of Mary, Queen of Scots knows no bounds, and that includes loving Reign, as historically inaccurate and ridiculous as it is. Covering Mary’s arrival at French court, the series follows her marriage to Francis, the Dauphin of France and her return back to Scotland to claim her country back. Although I wouldn’t use it to learn any historical events but if you want to see the most gorgeous haute couture and costuming that has ever been on television and listen to well-curated soundtrack, Reign is the show for you! It is great fun and the twists and turns keep you guessing each episode. And if all of that wasn’t enough for you, Megan Follows, the original Anne of Green Gables is captivating Catherine de Medici. This is another case where I own each individual season but you can conveniently purchase the complete series now!
Jane Austen Finger Puppet, The Unemployed Philsopher’s Guild
This is purely a goofy gift, but the famous author finger puppets are some of my favourite desk accoutrements- there is nothing to spark up a conversation at the office like a James Joyce or Jane Austen finger puppet. They stick onto things with a magnet, and under $10 CAD makes for an affordable and fun gift, and would be great as a stocking stuffer or as a Secret Santa gift. You can get a wide range of authors, philosophers, and scientists, so you can probably find the perfect finger puppet for everyone on your list! (I also have James Joyce, who for some reason, looks much happier than melancholy Jane!)