[Ansteorra] Ideas for gifts for Christmas

willowdewisp at juno.com willowdewisp at juno.com
Wed Nov 10 23:18:37 PST 2010

Dear folks here is more grandmotherly advice
If you are new and are going to your first SCA Yule gift exchange here are some things that you should know.
First I would start going to thrift stores and garage sales.
You are looking for something that looks medieval or Renaissance. You may want to look on the Web first . The stores that sells things to the SCA and reactors can give you some good ideas. 
Fabric is a good choice. The Fabrics at Jo-Anne's and Hancock's are not really right any more so I would look in to the places that sell Linen. I used to think that going to other places and buying cotton or cotton poly was a better deal but now with those fabrics going for 6 and 8 dollars the sales on Linen are a better deal and have the advantage of the prestige of being period. 
Cloth is getting expensive so a bright bold color in cotton or linen is always welcome. Still that can take up the better part of 20.00 dollars. Trims are something that is needed and is getting expensive. Cheaptrims  on the Web has the best prices that I have found.  You can buy 20 yards and keep some for yourself and give some away. 
For early personas geometries are better. In the medieval period the over and under leaves are good  along with  knot work and geometries. Things are fancier for the Renaissance,but stay away from flowers that look like real flowers or designs that overlapped themselves. Those things came about right after our period along with panel lace. I believe that more complex patterns in textiles came from advancement in  machines along with a desire to break the patterns of yesterday. If you look at period brocade and textiles you will see orderly patterns but the period of the 17Th century you will see very complex designs with patterns overlaid on patterns. 
Go look at paintings of Henry the Eight and you can get a lot of ideas of Renaissance design. 
Table settings are always useful for new people and fighters, but they really need something to put it in so a feast basket makes a great gift. Always go to a thrift store for a good basket. You can get a great one for 5 dollars or less and the same basket would cost you 20.00 at Walmart. 
You need one that is large enough to fit a dinner plate flat and a bowl and goblet and napkin and a table covering.I like one with tall sides. If it has a high handle remember that that makes it hard to pack. Check the handle out to make sure that they are on securely. Feast baskets can get heavy. 
If you don't have enough money or time to outfit the basket put it in the gift exchange anyway. Someone needs a basket and will really like it. If you want to put everything in lets start with the drinking vessel.
Stay away from brass. I don't know about hard drinks but brass makes soda taste terrible. 
Pewter is a question because there are two kinds of pewter Old and New. Old Pewter is a dullish gray and very, very soft. It is that way because it has lead in it. Lead isn't good.  New Pewter is a lighter silver gray color and is much harder. Old pewter can be bent with your hands New pewter is hard to bend. New pewter has a look that reminds you of cast aluminum. Everything that is sold for drinking or eating in stores today is New pewter so go look at it and you will see the differences. 
I like metal because it doesn't break. Nickle silver will do all right but it is usually a dull silver. Silver plate is very nice and I like gold plate. 
Glass is period but I would go to some of the Norse website to look at period glass. Hobnails were very period and Romans have molded glass. Good clear glass crystal was created to look like clear rock crystal so we can use it for a replacement. 
Wooden bowls and the bowl shape in metal was used up until the late periods. I like to drink out of a bowl . I just found a gold plated one at a thrift store for 4 dollar and that is my find of the season. Metal drinking bowls were prized by the Norse. 
That leads us to horns. Be very careful about drinking horns that come from Russia. Many of them are put together with lead soldier and again Lead is bad. You can find site on the Web that will help you prepare a horn for drinking. Drinking horns and SCA should get you some hits. 
Make sure you look at the bottle of Ceramic things. If they bear the warning of "not for food or drink" they are probable are painted with Lead paint.. Don't get too worried . Eating off lead is bad but if you only do it once or twice a year you should be OK. We want to kept away from Lead if we eat off it everyday or store food or drink in it. People in the middle ages knew about the dangers that is why they warned stewards not to let drink or food stay on or in metal vessels for long. They simply said it made people sick. 
I am tired so I will take up this thread another day. Just remember finding the right thing makes it better than how much it cost.  If their is a dollar price just add in your time and in an hour whatever you get is over the dollar amount. 
Scholarships for Moms
Grant Funding May Be Available to Those Who Qualify!

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list