I know that putting these yearly Hexmas lists together is kind of silly, but I have fun with it! I’m not sharing them in the hopes that someone will run out and purchase any of these things for me, and I’m not sharing them as gift guide suggestions; they’re always such a random collection of weird little obsessions, I can’t imagine anyone would have much interest in them other than me! I guess it’s sort of a reminder to myself that I’ve had my eye on these things, and if I wanted to I could treat myself for the holidays and after all…why not? And of course, if you were inspired by any of these things for your own gift-giving purposes, that’s good, too!
Some of these are recent finds or trends that appeal to me, for example, that pinafore a little further down the page just advertised to me by Instagram (but I won’t lie, I’ve always loved a pinafore and you can laugh at me all you like for it It’s the truth!) And some of these items I have been lusting over for quite some time now…like those moody floral pajamas, a version of which has probably shown up on every Hexmas list since I started sharing them here. Anyway, there’s no rhyme or reason to any of this stuff, so don’t even try to figure it out, hee!
WOW! It’s been a long dang time since I have compiled a list of wished-for Hexmas gifts. WAIT, no it hasn’t! I made one just last year. How could I have forgotten that? Oh yeah, I know why: because last year, as we who can still joke about such things like to say, was approx. one thousand weeks ago.
I’m into the mustardy yellows now, which is a bit of a new thing to those who are used to my monochromatic palette, and overall I think in these lists you’ll see a bit more color than I’ve had a preference for in recent years. Interesting! What does it all mean? (Is a thing that I am sure no one is asking.) All in all, these lists today are a bit of a mishmash, none of it really connected or thematic… although I suppose the slippers and teas and bath related items would certainly point to a longing for calm and comfort and soothing experiences? And maybe a few sparks of magic for the kitchen and the home? Well, I guess let’s not try to overthink it.
It’s really just an opportunity to say, here’s some stuff I like! I don’t actually expect anyone to buy and gift these things for me; as I have noted before, there’s no one who can shop for you as well as you can. So I like to make these lists for myself every December, and then slowly treat myself to the things on them over the course of the winter and throughout the next year. And don’t get me wrong – I love it when people think of me enough to buy me a gift, and I am grateful…I just don’t ever expect that someone is going to read my mind and get me that thing that I really, really, want. And god forbid I actually tell them!
So here it is, then. The luxuries and fripperies I’ve got on my personal 2020, utterly selfish Hexmas wishlist. I’m not sure that these things will be of any interest to anyone but me, but perhaps you will find some last-minute gift ideas here, for either friends or family…or yourself. Happy Hexmas to us!
I can’t even remember the last time I put together a list of fripperies! I say, it’s been much, much too long.
The theme for this year’s Hexmas holiday wishlist is “Hexmas Sleepies”, I guess! These are a few things I have either been lusting over, or, I have purchased and highly recommend, and they all seem to fall into that category of “soothing balms for frizzled folks” and for wrapping up the day on a lovely, luxurious note, before bed.
1. Silk Ines pyjamas from Morpho and Luna. This moody floral pajama set is from Morpho and Luna’s 2017 collection and the design is apparently a modern interpretation of the mythology of Persephone and Demeter. For two whole years now I keep peeping at them but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet.
2. Unwind Your Mind. This is the book that ASMRtist Emma WhispersRed of YouTube just released and if you haven’t fallen asleep to the sounds of her brushing someone’s hair or perhaps her guided meditation with Tibetan singing bowls, you’re really missing out. My copy is sitting atop a stack of books as tall as I am, but I’ll get to it soon, I promise!
5. LUSH Sleepy Lotion At first sniff, you almost think this wonderfully purple lotion is going to be too sugary, but somehow it’s not. Sleepy is a lovely lavender whose sharp herbal edges have been tamed by rich and subtly sweet tonka, and trust me, you need the matching shower gel to go with this as well.
6. Parachute Turkish Cotton Waffle Robe. This robe is an INVESTMENT. It is the most incredible thing you will ever put on your body and I cannot sing its praises enough. If you have never ever before paid attention to anything I was trying to convince you of, hear me now: this robe is as luxurious as it is practical and you need it in your life.
7. Kindred Black Immortelle I have a few other offerings from Kindred Black and I am so impressed with the quality of the oils and the beauty of their packaging, and I feel like their immortelle oil belongs on my shelf (along with the jojoba, argan, and zdravetz, which I own –and love!–already.)
I gotta tell you, I supported the hell out of some small businesses last night, after vowing earlier in the day that I wasn’t actually going to do any shopping at all. Funny how that works after a glass or two of wine.
I usually do a little bit of Hexmas shopping for myself, it’s true. Receiving gifts is nice, but as I’ve said before, it’s pretty unlikely that (unless you’ve given someone a detailed list, which I think is kind of lame and I refuse to do it) no one is going to get you EXACTLY what you want, so you’d better just take care of it yourself!
We are traveling to DC for the winter holiday this year, which means that whatever shopping I am doing for anyone–including myself!–had better be done way ahead of time, and for me, a month ahead of time actually is pretty early. Now that I’ve got myself covered, I can start thinking about everyone else. Isn’t that what RuPaul says? Close enough.
See below for a list of some vendors that I love and who are running some really lovely sales and discounts right now*. As always, I would never promote anything that I would not spend my own money on, so all of these items are things that I have indeed purchased for myself. Just last night, actually.
I’ve never really been one for being out and about on Black Friday, as I don’t love the crowds (and I’m not certain I can think of anything I’d actually want badly enough to leave the house for!) but I get that sometimes people make a whole day of it, and that it can be a lot of fun. And blah blah, consumerist culture whatever–I get why some people have a problem with the day and all it represents, too, but as I get older I try to be much more mindful of not shitting all over the things that people like to do, so I’m not making judgments one way or the other. For myself, I feel pretty good about supporting trustworthy, talented small businesses and artisans, and that’s never a bad thing to do, right?
Did you go out yesterday? Stay in? Shop all the things? Did you actually by gifts for people other than yourself? Feel free to share in the comments!
I have previously written on the importance of holiday shopping for one’s self. No one is going to get you what you really want, so save yourself the trouble of those painful, plastic grimaces you must flash when acknowledging a gift that missed the mark–if you already have a treat or two at home waiting for you, you can give a genuine smile when you thank so-and-so for that fruity nightmare Bath and Body works candle or that weird tea sampler that is mostly comprised of herbal tisanes but still has the gall to call itself “tea”. (Ugh! Major pet peeve.)
I joke. Somewhat. I’m always grateful when someone has thought enough of me to buy me a gift, but let’s be real. No one knows me and what I want better than I do. Here’s a few things on my hexmas list this year. They may already be on their way to me now! What are you going to surprise yourself with in 2016? Tempt me in the comments!
Listen, I’ll level with you here. There’s no one who can shop for you like you can.
Unless you are providing your friends and loved ones with highly detailed lists which note exactly what something is and where it can be found (which I’ve come to think of as kind of tacky, but your mileage may vary!) it is unlikely you are going to receive that weird/macabre/grotesque/OH DEAR GOD WHAT IS THAT item on your list for which you have been longing intensely.
So here’s what you do. Your holiday shopping is, I assume, done and over with, correct? You can breathe a sigh of relief. Pour a glass of wine…or a shot of whiskey…or whatever your poison is – except – please, for the love of all things holy, not one of those vulgar energy drinks.
It is now time to focus on you and what you want – and no, I am fairly certain it is not that Bath and Body Works gift basket in some gross, fruity scent you’ll never wear or that gaudy hummingbird wind-chime from someone who learned 20 years ago that you liked hummingbirds and never listened when you told them gently that your tastes had changed since you graduated from high school.
(And don’t get me wrong – I love it when people think of me enough to buy me a gift, and I am grateful…I just don’t ever expect someone is going to get me that thing that I really, really, want!)
It is now time to throw a few gifts for yourself under the tree! Consider the following items and please note that they all have the mlleghoul stamp of approval, for they have been purchased solely by and for myself.
If you are not already entranced by Segovia Amil’s dark, captivating beauty on instagram, you’ll be bewitched by her words in Ophelia Wears Black, her first published book of poetry. “Ophelia Wears Black is a collection of poetry and prose focusing on the shadow aspects and dark side of the human experience through the eyes of a young girl. Divided into four parts, each mirroring the cycling seasons, we follow Ophelia into her own re-imagined Underworld where she learns to make sense of and find the perfection and necessity of her own inner darkness.”
I have not been able to put down Folk Horror Revival: Field Studiessince receiving it a few weeks ago, it is some of the most compelling, fascinating writing I have ever read on one of my very favorite subject. Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore. AND 100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.
Music & Art & Baubles
Lost Voices: Volume 1 – Keening and The Death Wail: Lost Voices explores vocal improvisation in folk culture. Volume 1: Keening and the Death Wail considers Keening (a traditional improvised vocal lament) practised by women in ancient Ireland and worldwide. Includes a 31 page booklet exploring the history of the art of keening with a cd of audio examples.
Easeful Death labradorite coffin ring from bloodmilk (sorry for my hands, I know those pointy witch claws are en vogue right now, but I can’t knit with those nails and I’d probably put my eye out.) “Cast immortal in sterling silver, bat wing and leg bones molded from the real thing, are composed into a beautiful setting cradling a labradorite coffin cut jewel.”
Death and the Maiden art print, by artist Tenebrous Kate of Heretical Sexts: “The virginal blush of youth and the icy hand of death, Eros and Thanatos, vanity and decay. Emerging from the imagery found in Medieval depictions of the Dance of Death, the motif of Death and the Maiden is at once macabre and erotic.”
Littlest friend bat cloisonné pin from Cat Coven. Perfect for lapels – whether they’re gracing leather jackets or spooky granny cardigans!
A ghostly white resin hand pendant on recycled black leather from artist Alice Rogers of Trances and Portents.
Eau de Mort parody ad art print by the incomparably lovely Becky Munich. This one is a bit of a cheat since it was a gift, but I have several prints from Becky hanging on my walls and there is space for several more -so no doubt many purchases from this talented artist will occur in the future!
I also treated myself to a sampler set from The House of Orpheus, which is something I have been meaning to do for a while. Enodia is lovely beyond compare – “… ancient goddess of the streets. She is the Nachtfalter, the moth, the night butterfly. Guided by the moon and associated with Artemis, Hekate and Persephone. Black Storax would have been in the incense burned in offering to this goddess of the street and so we base this perfume in Black Storax, with notes of Black Agars Wood, Moroccan Myrrh, and Vanilla. It is exalted by the alchemical oil of silver”.
Also! I’ve loved the candles from Burke and Hare for awhile now, so much so that I tend to burn through their offerings much too quickly. On a whim, during a recent sale, I picked up Dragon’s Blood: “…fragranced with the precious red resins that create the alluring scent known as Dragon’s Blood. It is a potent and earthy fragrance, infused with cedar wood and patchouli essential oils. The scent combines sweet and spicy notes to form a sophisticated complex blend. “
It’s getting to be that time of year again. That time wherein you, with growing unease and guilt which will soon turn to a strange resentment, realize that it’s the eighth year in a row you’ve promised yourself that you wouldn’t forget to send holiday cards out to friends and loved ones and yet here you are waiting until the very last minute and it’s very likely that you don’t even have all of the addresses that you need. You certainly don’t have any actual cards handy.
(And speaking of cards, your cousin sends out cards in a timely fashion every single year, and she even hand-makes them for God’s sake. Why can’t you be more like your cousin?)
When it comes to store bought greeting cards, if you are anything like me, you most likely don’t care overly much for the dopey, saccharine offerings immediately available in your Barnes & Noble or Hallmark or where ever normal people do their shopping for such things. Babies in mangers and wise men and red nosed children building snowmen? UGH. GROSS.
In this vein I’ve* put together a Hexmas card list brimming with dark themes and weird imagery from artisans whose aesthetics I greatly admire. Below you’ll find humor and beauty and even a bit of naughtiness; Krampus and ghosts and cats – a little bit of something for everyone! Or, well, at least folks like us.
And of course, if you think there is something/someone I have missed – please let me know in the comments!
*with thanks to Becky, Jamie, and Kate for your suggestions!
…but okay, see, here’s the thing with my gift lists. I’m really not creating them for anyone who isn’t… me?
But if you’ve got someone in your life who is maybe 75%-95% like me in some way or another, then I think you probably can’t go wrong with any of these titles. These books–fiction, short stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, cookbooks, etc.– are all steeped in varying amounts of strangeness or magic and were all enjoyed over the course of the past year, although they weren’t all necessarily published in 2021. Any single one of them would make an excellent Hexmas/holiday gift for a like-minded friend or kindred spirit!
I have already read and written about a majority of these books in the semi-monthly Stacked installments here at Unquiet Things, so in the lists below I won’t be retreading ground I’ve already previously covered. I mean, it’s the holidays! I’m busy! I don’t have time to write that all stuff up again, but differently, so it sounds like you haven’t already read it! But if you’d like to know more, you can use my blog’s search function for reviews and further thoughts. Otherwise, you can judge by the beautiful cover art and trust that they wouldn’t be on this list if I didn’t love them and think they were the best of the best of everything I have read since January of this year. To make it easier, the favorites from each list will be bolded and at the top.
I will note that there are maybe 2-3 books listed below that I haven’t finished, or read the whole way through. They’re either the kind of book that lends to reading between other things, or else they are the pages you dive into at random when the mood strikes, or when you are looking for inspiration.
As a bonus, include a few small gifts with the books you generously gift away, to ensure an even more pleasurable reading experience for your recipient!
Idea one: a reading journal. Something to scribble thoughts or questions in as they read. This can be any blank book that catches your eye or one of which the aesthetic seems a fit for your friend. Here’s mine! I always keep a notebook and a pen nearby when I’m engrossed in a book. Whether it’s to jot down an unfamiliar word or turn of phrase, to capture a phrase or sentiment that particularly ensnared my heart or set my imagination alight, or make notes on this, that or the other interesting tidbit or topic for further research, I have found my book notes absolutely essential to deepening my experience of and engagement a story while I’m reading it.
Idea two: bookmarks! Does your friend have a favorite artist? Sometimes these creators sell miniature versions of their works in the form of bookmarks or postcards. Otherwise, you can find beautiful and unique bookmarks in museum gift shops, or you could even try your hand at watercolors or decoupage or whatever and make one yourself! Me? I’m not super crafty so I just pick up bookmarks from artists when I see that they offer them. Here is a gorgeous one from Caitlin McCarthy that gets quite a bit of us.
All of the above titles are Amazon Associate links. I don’t do ads on my site or make any money from it, but as an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny bit from qualifying purchases. I just realized that I’m supposed to be putting this disclaimer on posts that contain these links, le whoopsie.
I probably never would have gotten around to starting a YouTube channel in 2020– or any other year, for that matter–if not for the badgering of my baby sister, who has been on me to start one up for a while now. I’d personally rather read a blog post about something than watch a video about it, but I’ve accepted that not everyone feels that way, and so to keep up with the rest of the world and to practice being flexible and adaptable and learning new things in general, I chose this ridiculously terrible year to get started. And I’m pretty proud of myself! Nine months later, I continue to upload videos, although not exactly consistently, and while I’m no award-winning cinematographer, I daresay my efforts have visibly improved along the way.
From reading lists and hauls, to author chats and Q&As, to my obsessive love of perfume to those “what I do in a day” type videos, I think I’ve got a handle on the things I want to present on my channel, and surprise, surprise–it’s exactly the same type of thing I would write about on my blog. Which is okay, I think! Because people who are reading my blog aren’t necessarily stopping by here to watch my videos, and vice versa–and that’s fine! I’ll just try and connect with people wherever they are.
So what’s the plan for 2021? I literally have no clue, but I’d like to keep on track with my one-video a month plodding progress, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions or anything, in particular, you would like to see or hear me talk about, leave a comment and let me know!
See below for links to everything mentioned in the Hexmas holiday gift haul!
And a bonus that didn’t make it to the video, are these incredibly snazzy dangle earrings that my Best Good Friend sent me! A bonus about having hair that looks like a Fizzgig is living on your head, is that now everyone can see my ginormous danglers! From Haus of Sparrow on Etsy, if you are interested.