It's Day 3 of our 12 Days of Christmas special- and today we're coming to you with gifts that could surpass those given in the original 12 days of Christmas song because they're all Classically related- what more could you want?
Have you left your Christmas gift shop to the last minute again this year? Racking your brain for weeks and still can’t find anything nice for that special Classicist in your life? Preparing to accept defeat as you head to the chocolate aisle in the supermarket to buy your universal but perhaps not as thoughtful as you'd like present?
Worry no more! Welcome to the ultimate Classical Christmas gift guide with our top ten picks for last-minute (or belated) Christmas gift ideas for those Classics lovers in your life! Ranging from books and decorations to handmade jewellery and bespoke experiences, this guide has everything you might need to become the greatest gift giver this holiday season!
1. Books - no surprises here, you can't go wrong giving a Classicist more things to read!
As a Classicist, your recipient probably has a book wishlist about a mile long! Getting them one or two of their most coveted novels or texts is an instant way to make them happy this Christmas. When it comes to books, there are so many options and shops that this is the perfect last-minute idea if you need that special gift ASAP. However, it is also very easy to get overwhelmed so here are some ideas for what is good right now in the Classical text market.
Classical texts themselves are a great way to gift a timeless piece that will more than likely come in handy for future study! Think about what kinds of authors or subjects your recipient has mentioned before and see if there is an interesting translation of that. Some examples are Emily Wilson’s ground-breaking translation of the Odyssey (£13.99), which is the first-ever published translation by a woman and brings a whole new angle to the Homeric tale. Furthermore, Stephen Fry’s recent reimagining of Homer in his book Troy (£8.49) is also a great read for any Classicist wanting something for their leisure time.
Speaking of leisure time, maybe your recipient prefers Classical novels that are based on texts, and if so they’re in luck! There have been so many recent publications of Classical novels that you no longer have to rely on Percy Jackson or The Song of Achilles. This year alone has seen the publication of Pat Barker’s The Women of Troy (£16.99), sequel to Silence of the Girls (£8.99), and Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne (£14.99), all excellent, feminist reimagining’s of Classical stories. Not to mention Madeline Miller’s extremely popular Circe (£8.99) from last year, or Phoebe Wynne’s Madam (£14.99) as an alternative to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. As said, you can never go wrong with books and once you get to the Classics section of any Waterstones of Foyles you will be spoilt for choice!
As you can already tell, we (like most Classicists), love books and there is never a shortage of good books to give. However, since it’s Christmas it might also be nice to splash out a bit and elevate your book-gifting game…
When gifting fancy Classical books, there are again tons of options. If your recipient loves the original texts, then leather or clothbound editions of their favourites will be a thoughtful and luxurious addition to their collection. Our favourite examples are the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics edition of Homer (£26.21), or the Penguin Clothbound Classics edition of the Aeneid (£16.99), or Ovid’s Metamorphoses (£25). Keeping with the theme of fancy editions of texts, a nice Loeb will definitely be a treasured gift for any Classicist trying to build a collection. They feature an enticing green cover for Greek texts and a striking red for Latin ones. The Hellenic Book Service by Tufnell Park, London hosts a huge collection of second-hand Loebs (alongside a massive collection of other Classical books), while the Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus has a whole wall of them.