The Gifts of Christmas Past – Finding the Perfect Gift for Every Self-Confessed History Geek

Ahh! It’s that time of year once again when shops are ringing with constant Christmas classics, Santa’s elves are busy packing the sleigh, tacky Christmas jumpers are whisked out of wardrobes and everyone is in competition to eat the most chocolate.

How exciting!!! 

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Windsor Castle at Christmas

However, there is always that other side of Christmas which I’m sure most people dread – Christmas present shopping. December is the time of year when you kick yourself for not being more organised, as you are constantly trying to weave through the crowds and avoided the trap of ‘raffle presents’.

No one wants a ‘raffle present’ – something which no one really wants to buy, or something which anyone particularly wishes to receive. Yet retailers are full to the brim with raffle presents, because they were well-aware that there will be people – such as myself! – who will race around, trying to find the perfect Christmas gift at incredible short notice.

Well, it is my aim to help make the Christmas Craze a little less stressful to all you history-buffs out there! Are you a History Nerd who wishes to treat yourself during the festive period? Or do you know a history-obsessed loved one, who would really appreciate a history-themed gift?

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Hampton Court Palace lit up for Christmas

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then this is the place for you! I’ve decided to list ten heritage organisations who host online shops, such as the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces. These organisations are more-often-than-not charities, whom aim to preserve England’s past. By purchasing a gift from their online shops, you are not only buying a perfectly unique historical gif; you’re also helping to maintain the world’s heritage for many future generations. I bet your Christmas shopping has never been so rewarding?!

As you go through the list, you’ll discover that I’ve included a link to the organisation’s online shop. What’s more, I’ve highlighted some of the shop’s most unique and special gifts, which I think would be perfect for history-fans of all ages and covers all price-ranges.

Now, enough of my waffling on! Let’s go Christmas shopping!

TUDOR TIMES’ ‘TUDOR BOOK OF DAYS’:
For all you history-buffs out there, you may already be aware of Tudor Times’ Tudor Book of Days? Several historians including Alison Weir, Nicola Tallis and the blogger Haley Nolan, have all raved about this new product and it’s not difficult to see why!

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Tudor Book of Days Diary

‘Tudor Book of Days’ is a beautiful diary, which is based on the popular Book of Hours that dominated Medieval and Renaissance society. The Book of Hours listed all the holy days and hours for prayer, as well as acting as a useful record for births, marriages and deaths. Now Tudor Times have used that idea in order to create their own ‘Tudor Book of Days’. Now alongside a list of important Tudor dates, events and characters, you can jot down your own important occasions in this stunning Tudor-themed diary.

Check out where you can get your hands on your own ‘Tudor Book of Days’ at: https://shop.tudortimes.co.uk/products/tudor-book-of-days

THE CHRISTMAS COMPANY:
Ok, so The Christmas Company is not a charitable organisation which aims to persevere the world’s heritage. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that this company offers the widest range of historical-themed Christmas decorations. The website even has its own section dedicated to ‘History-Buffs’ such as myself!

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Winston Churchill Tree Decoration from The Christmas Company

I have to admit that my Christmas tree is covered with historical figures, such as Marie Antoinette, Henry VIII and Queen Victoria. You can purchase all of them and more, at The Christmas Company! (My next purchase will definitely be Louis XIV as the Sun King. I recommend that you all go and check him out, because he looks fabulous)!

As you can probably tell, I have purchased a lot of tree decorations from The Christmas Company and I have yet to be disappointed by their level of service. Not only do they sell a vast range of historical characters to vamp up your Christmas tree, but they are also all of fantastic quality.

Go and find your perfect historical hero or heroine, who would take centre-stage on your own Christmas tree at: http://www.christmascompany.co.uk. (You never know, you might end up with a tree like mine)!

NATIONAL TRUST:
Now who wouldn’t love a present from the National Trust? Whilst browsing their online shop, I have to say that I also discovered some incredible gift ideas.

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Nymans Garden is one of the National Trust’s Gift Experience options

Firstly, a little bit more on the costly side is the option to purchase a Gift Experience with the National Trust. These Gift Experiences are perfect for all the history or garden lovers in your family. These Gift Experiences are available at several National Trust properties across England. They include an opportunity of meet the location’s Garden Team, as well as the chance to tour the gardens and partake in a practical session. Sounds great right?! 

Find out more about the Gift Experiences at: https://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/our-gift-experiences/c399

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The ‘Best of National Trust Hamper’

If gardening isn’t really your thing, then perhaps food will pique your interest? The National Trust promote a marvellous range of food hampers, all at various prices. The National Trust is renowned for its amazing food products, because it is unique and delicious produce. At the National Trust’s online shop you can purchase a ‘Taste of Christmas Gift Set’, a ‘Best of the National Trust Hamper’, a ‘Cheer Up Your Cheese Gift Set’ and even a ‘Chocolate Lovers’ Gift Set’ – (my personal favourite!).

 

Buy the perfect food hamper at: https://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/hampers-gift-sets/c749

Are you wishing to explore more of what the National Trust has to offer on their online shop? Then head over to https://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk to find the perfect Christmas pressie!

ENGLISH HERITAGE:
I had so much fun exploring the English Heritage’s online shop! Mainly because it sold such an interesting range of family games. My ultimate favourite has to be the English Heritage’s version of ‘Guess Who?’. This widely popular game has been adapted ever-so-slightly by English Heritage, because their version includes famous historical faces such as Richard III and Elizabeth I. Not only will this game bring all the family together, but it would also spark up any future history lessons for the young‘uns still at school.

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English Heritage’s ‘Brave Knight Operation Game’

Discover ‘English Heritage’s Guess Who?’ and other family favourites, such as ‘ Brave Knight’s Operation Game’ and ‘English Heritage Monopoly’ at: https://www.english-heritageshop.org.uk/toys-games

Similar to the National Trust, English Heritage also seeks to protect a lot of England’s historical locations. Any purchases from them would therefore greatly support them in their cause. Browse through all of their unique products – (including puzzles of several of their historical properties!) – at: https://www.english-heritageshop.org.uk.

HISTORIC ROYAL PALACES:
Have a bit of cash to splash on that special loved one? Do you have any avid Tudor lovers amongst your social circle, who you just know this present would lighten up their Christmas?

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The Dolls of Henry VIII and his Six Wives

Well, how about purchasing a doll-version of Henry VIII and his six wives? Altogether, Henry VIII and his wives are sold at £1,450 – ideal for any collector. Yet, understandably the price for Henry VIII and his wives may be a little steep. Therefore, there is the option to purchase each character individually for £200. Perhaps your Tudor-fan has a favourite Tudor queen, or have a soft-spot for Henry VIII himself?! All the dolls are all exceptionally crafted and brightly coloured. They would make any Tudor-buff’s day, as well as liven up the decor of the home.

The Henry VIII and the Six Wives Dolls are to be found (as well as links to the individual dolls) at: https://www.historicroyalpalaces.com/artdolls-kinghenryviii-sixwives-handmade-collectors-tudor.html

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‘Spencer Tiara Ring’ from Historic Royal Palaces

What’s more, Historic Royal Palaces offer a vast selection of jewellery, which are all inspired by their palaces and the fascinating monarchs who walked through within their walls. The jewellery option include children’s necklaces, gentleman’s cufflinks and collectable pin badges – the perfect stocking filler. Several years ago I received the ‘Spencer Tiara Ring’ as a Christmas present, and I have to say that it was one of the best Christmas presents which I have ever had! You can find the ‘Spencer Tiara Ring’, (as well as many other Diana/monarchical-inspired jewellery pieces) at: https://www.historicroyalpalaces.com/jewellery.html

Historic Royal Palaces are a charity, which aims to preserve the legacy of several historic palaces in England and Ireland. Their palaces include the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Banqueting House and Hillsborough Castle. By purchasing gifts from their online shop, you are helping Historic Royal Palaces in their mission to maintain those palaces for many more years to come. https://www.historicroyalpalaces.com

HISTORIC SCOTLAND:
I was inspired to look through Historic Scotland’s online shop after returning from my recent road trip. Scotland possesses exquisite landscapes alongside a magnificent past. Therefore any history fan out there would love any unique gift which Historic Scotland has to offer: https://shop.historic-scotland.gov.uk.

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‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Scarf from Historic Scotland

For those who have fallen in love with the series ‘Outlander’, would love to own an Outlander themed colouring book. If they have no idea what ‘Outlander’ is, then do not fear! Historic Scotland also promote a ‘Colouring Book of Scotland’ on their website too. Both colouring books can be discovered at: https://shop.historic-scotland.gov.uk/the-official-outlander-colouring-book.

If like me, your gift recipient is a fan of Scotland’s most infamous heroine Mary, Queen of Scots, then this is the present for you! Historic Scotland sells a lovely Mary, Queen of Scots scarf, which is admittedly a tad pricey. Yet you can rest assured that it would be truly treasured by any Team Mary member: https://shop.historic-scotland.gov.uk/scarf-mary-queen-of-scots.

THE ROYAL COLLECTION:
How could we forget about our furry friends?! The Royal Collection’s online shop was the only retailer who tailored a collection of Christmas gifts for our pets. It was so much fun! My favourite product has to be Buckingham Palace’s Red Crown Dog Toy. As the Royal Collection states, it is the ideal treat for your canine companion. It also harks – (or barks!) – back to the Royal Family’s love for pampered pooches.

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Corgi Soft Toy which can also be found at the Royal Collection Shop

You can find your furry friend’s very own Red Crown Dog Toy at: http://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/crown-dog-toy-red.html

Now I know a lot of people try and avoid fragrant gift sets. They are more-often-than-not classic ‘raffle presents’, which everyone has received at some point in their lifetime and is not very inspired by. However, the Royal Collection sell a selection of their very own hand creams and scent diffusers, which would not fail to please the gift’s recipient. They are fragrances which you would fail to discover elsewhere. What’s more, they are placed in beautiful packaging, which would make everyone feel like they have received luxuries worthy of the royals. You can find the Royal Collection’s full selection of hand creams and scent diffusers here: http://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk/gifts/gifts-for-her.html/

The full range of royal-worthy gifts can also be found at the Royal Collections Online Shop: http://www.royalcollectionshop.co.uk

THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM:
Who doesn’t like building models during Christmas? And what will be better than building a model of a WWII Spitfire, or a battleship? Well you can find all of those models and LOADS more at the Imperial War Museum Online gift shop: http://www.iwmshop.org.uk/product/26264/Lancaster_bomber_construction_set

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‘Rainy Day Games’ from the Imperial War Museum

What’s more, the Imperial War Museum also offers a unique ‘Rainy Games’ collection, which includes a range of classic games and activities, such as marbles, tiddlywinks and pick-up sticks: http://www.iwmshop.org.uk/product/26092/DC_Rainy_day_games

The whole range of gifts found at the Imperial War Museum can be browsed at your own leisure at: http://www.iwmshop.org.uk/?_ga=2.60287981.1366266091.1512229739-1648695301.1410291215

BRITISH MUSEUM:
For all those tiny-tots who are perhaps looking forward to their first Christmas, then they are not missed out either! The British Museum houses their own collection of Beatrix Potter merchandise, which includes a brilliantly crafted ‘Peter Rabbit Pull Along Toy’. I wish I had something as wonderful as that when I was toddling around! https://www.britishmuseumshoponline.org/invt/cmcn496410

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Peter Rabbit Pull Along Toy

Now, I’m impressed that I’ve gotten this far down the list without mentioning a single book. History books are the ideal gift for any History Geek, but the books sold at the British Museum are unique. The offer many literary classics – including Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ and Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ – in an amazing ‘Gift Edition’. These ‘Gift Editions’ have wrapped these classics in a gorgeous cloth-bound cover, and decorated the covers with dazzling illustrations. Not only will these books act as the centrepiece for any bookshelf – they would also help support the maintenance of this renowned museum. The books can be found at: https://www.britishmuseumshoponline.org/books+media/gift-editions/icat/gift_edition_books

Find more merchandise at the British Museum online shop, which would help to preserve the museum’s applaudable cause and collection at: http://www.britishmuseumshoponline.org

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY:
Last but by no means least… the National Portrait Gallery! If you’re looking for that exclusive, yet slightly wacky Christmas gift, then this is the shop that you need to head to: https://npgshop.org.uk.

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Anne Boleyn Wristwatch

The National Portrait Gallery advertise their very own portrait ‘watches’, which features various famous historical faces such as Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Audrey Hepburn.

I have very recently purchased the ‘Anne Boleyn Wristwatch’ from the National Portrait Gallery, and I have to say that I have been very impressed with it! Not only does it catch everyone’s eye, but it has received a number of complements and has ignited much interest. Several of my friends are now hoping to purchase their own watch sometime soon, and they are all history fans so I can confirm first-hand that it would be the perfect history-themed gift. The full selection of watches can be found here: https://npgshop.org.uk/collections/watches

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The Brilliant ‘Richard III Portrait Cushion’ from the National Portrait Gallery

Secondly, the National Portrait Gallery also houses the widest range of portrait cushions that I have ever seen! How would you like your sofa to be decorated with cushions which have Anne Boleyn and Richard III’s face plastered all over it?! You could also purchase the whole collection of cushions, which include the portraits of Thomas More, Lord Byron, the Brontë sisters and Leonardo Da Vinci… Doesn’t that just sound absolutely outrageous, yet also absolutely incredible? The whole collection of these fantastic portrait cushions are to be discovered here: https://npgshop.org.uk/search?q=cushions

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