‘Tis the season for warm coats, hot chocolate, family gatherings, religious celebrations, and, well, let’s face it, shopping. For those of you who groan at that very word, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of gift ideas for the history fanatic in your life. The best part? We’ve included one that will cost you absolutely nothing.
We can attest to the notion that historians love to read. Buying a book for a historian might be the most hassle-free option for any gift giver. One of our favorite books this year was the Smithsonian Institution’s World War I: The Definitive Visual History written by R. G. Grant. This book is especially timely given that 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Additional titles related to World War I can be found on the UK-based Society for Army Historical Research’s Recommended Reading List 2014. All of the books are recommended by military historians. The list features a wide range of titles covering many wars and conflicts from the French and Indian War, to the Battle of Waterloo, to Iraq and Afghanistan. For those who want to mix in a little fiction with their facts over the holidays, check out this year’s popular titles in historical fiction courtesy of NPR’s Book Concierge.
A Historical Getaway
Why not take the historian in your life on a mini vacation over the holidays? Maybe there’s a historic hotel in your city that your loved one has always walked by and admired. Perhaps a cozy bed and breakfast in a historic town close by would be ideal for a long weekend. We recommend that you start planning your getaway by visiting the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Hotels of America website. You can search by geographic area, experience type (romantic, pet-friendly, etc.), or, our personal favorite, by historical time period. Plus, if you book a hotel through the website, you’ll receive a free one year family membership to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a $30 value).
Historical Memberships and Subscription Fees
Yearly membership fees for professional organizations, research institutions, historical societies, and museums add up, becoming quite expensive for professional and amateur historians alike. Subscription fees to research databases, historical magazines, and other publications are also costly. We suggest doing a little research yourself by talking to your favorite historian. Do they need to renew their American Historical Association membership? You could do it for them. What database can they not live without? For the family historians out there, a membership to Ancestry.com is crucial (six month memberships start at $99). Is there a museum exhibition coming up that they can’t wait to see or a historical magazine they look forward to receiving each month? $12 will get history buffs an 11 month subscription to Smithsonian Magazine as well as other benefits included with a Smithsonian National Associate Membership.
No one said holiday shopping has to break any wise consumer’s budget. We’re big fans of podcasts here at Taylor & Hammel and often listen to them on our commute to work, when traveling to our next archival repository, or while we’re just out walking the streets of Washington, D.C. Many of the historical podcasts we listen to are free or nearly so. Check out The Telegraph’s list of best history podcasts and then tell your historian friends about them. After all, sometimes it really is the thought that counts!
Think we missed something? If you have other great gift ideas for historians, tell us. In the meantime, happy holidays!