The Holidays are fast approaching and like it or not, it is time to open up our wallets and find the right gifts for the people we love. As joyous as this time can be, the holiday routine will leave many of us scratching our heads, wondering what the heck do we get everyone? If you have friends or family that are a little morbid, a little death obsessed, a little… dark- this list will make it all a little easier. Or, why not forward our list to your loved ones as a little hint? These are the best death positive gifts for the death obsessed this holiday season.
2017 Death Positive Holiday Gift Guide
Written by Lucy Coleman Talbot, The Little Book of Maudism is a collection of wisdom from what is considered one of the most death positive films of all time. “This is a philosophy, involving ten lessons for you to live by that Maude teaches Harold in their week together. To appreciate Maudism you don’t need to be spiritual or religious, but you can be. These teachings are quite simply about being human – what it means to be human.” Filled with wisdom and beautiful art, this is a great present for the death positive on your list.
Want to remind someone you love of the impermanence of life? Want to tell a friend that all that will remain of them one day will be their bones? Well then this might be the purrfect gift. This beautiful modern candle by PyroPet Candles makes a wonderful piece on its own. Unlike regular candles which melt into the ether, lighting this cat on fire reveals a beautiful metal skeleton underneath. A gift for those who like the pretty side of the macabre.
Paul Koudounaris is an interesting guy. You might know him from his awesome Instagram account or his other books. Like Paul, his subjects are strange, esoteric and wonderful. For Memento Mori, Koudounaris took photographs of death rituals from around the world to highlight the cultural diversity of death. We tend to have very rigid conceptions of death and dead bodies in the West and Memento Mori is meant to challenge that. It makes a beautiful coffee table book.
By now you are probably all aware of Caitlin Doughty, her book, her YouTube channel and her appearance on our #TalkDeath series. We still cannot recommend her new book enough. It’s a fun and easy read, a book which will challenge what you think you know, teach you a bunch of things you didn’t think you needed to know, and it give you a lot of historical background at the same time.
A Mortician’s Tale is a death positive video game that teaches you about the business of death. A Mortician’s Tale’s is centered around the narrative between Charlie, her colleagues, and friends through a simulated desktop. As the mortician it is your job to handle the requests made by the funeral director and family of the deceased. You deal with the complications of running a small business, the pitfalls of industry and everything else that comes with preparing corpses.
If you’re looking for a gift for that person who has everything, and you don’t mind spending a little money, Ryan Matthew Cohn’s work might be for you. His collection of oddities, bones and deconstructed skulls are exquisite. Cohn painstakingly takes apart human skulls and arranges them into re-articulated patterns. Cohn also sells handmade jewelry which can be found here. His work is a labor of love and makes for a very unique gift.
A new company, Gravedigger candles is making some pretty cool stuff. Their anatomically correct candles are made to resemble human bones (vertebrae above, for example). Their candles are sold on Etsy and make a wonderful conversation piece, or an addition to any coven. PS: We’re giving one of these candles away for free!
Buying a gift for the art loving goth in your life? While not specifically dealing with death, Courtney Brooke’s prints are dark, mystical and macabre. Her use of props, masks, dreamy colors and mystical dreamscapes make her photographs a great addition to any home. Her prints also come on tote bags, t-shirts, scarves and more.
Nothing says holiday spirit like deep conversations with family about death. Mortalls, is a death positive card game that encourages open and honest talks about end-of-life issues. Mortalls is a “Question and Answer game that has been crafted with creativity, compassion and a dash of humor to keep the discussion non-threatening and encourage participation.” Questions include “Would you want an open or closed casket?” and “What would you like your last words to be?” All that is required to play is an open mind, and imagination.
Sometimes the best gifts are free. This holiday season, why not collaborate with family or friends to make an online memorial celebrating the life of a loved one? You can collect photographs, write a biography, create a family tree, post your favorite memories and then share it with those you love. Keeper memorials are customizable, easy to use and absolutely free. Sharing a lifetime of memories has never been easier.
Caleb Wilde has been a favorite of ours for a while! His blog has been insightful, honest, funny and dark. There is no reason to expect any less from his new book Confessions of a Funeral Director. Caleb reflects on mortality and the powerful lessons death holds for every one of us in this compassionate and thoughtful spiritual memoir. If you enjoyed Caitlin Doughty’s book, you’ll certainly love this.
If your coffee just isn’t dark enough, consider adding these little skull shaped sugar cubes to your morning cup! They are handmade and come in adorable packaging. As their Etsy shop mentions, they are great for weddings, dinner parties, as cake toppers or for gothic dinner parties. Because they skulls are made with extra fine sugar, they are perfect for lovers of absinthe.
Not only are the art pieces by Mechanique Macabre beautiful, dark and original, they are all cruelty free! Most of their work includes the use of animal bones, teeth and skulls but they are all sourced from found remains. Their mounted skulls on vintage picture frames make a wonderful gift as do any of their rings and necklaces. They best part: all their pieces are really affordable!
Mourning jewelry has a long history dating back to the Victorian era where mourners would don intricate and macabre pieces of jewelry to signify their grieving. These pieces would also often be sent to the family of the deceased as a way of saying “you are in our thoughts”. The macabre nature of the jewelry comes from the belief that we should always meditate on death (memento mori). The person you’re buying this for better be worth it!