20 Christmas gift ideas for history lovers
Need some inspiration for what to gift history-obsessed loved ones this Christmas? We’ve rounded up 20 of the best history presents on offer, from stocking fillers to big-ticket items
As the countdown to Christmas continues, we’ve picked out 20 delightful presents that we think history lovers would love. Designed to suit a range of historical interests and budgets, there’s something for everyone on the nice list here.
And if you’d like to stow a history book or two under the tree, read our roundup of 2022’s best history books here.
Julius Caesar pen holder
Et tu, Biro? This is a pen holder with a difference, as ancient history lovers can take a leaf out of Brutus’ book and stab this 3D-printed bust of Julius Caesar in the back with their pens and pencils – repeatedly.
Anne Boleyn’s “B” necklace
Perfect for fans of Wolf Hall or The Tudors, this reproduction of Anne Boleyn’s iconic “B” pendant necklace will be a welcome addition to any Tudor enthusiast’s jewellery box.
Want to relax like an ancient Egyptian? We’d recommend senet – a boardgame beloved by pharaohs that sees players move their pieces across the board, mimicking the soul’s journey through the underworld to reach the afterlife.
This handcrafted set makes the game accessible for modern players, coming with detailed instructions on how to play.
Second World War 1945 coin set
For those with a bigger budget, a set of historic coins from the Royal Mint is a standout gift. These nine coins – which were in circulation during the final year of the Second World War – are presented in bespoke packaging that details some of the milestone events that led to Britain’s victory.
Henry VIII’s armour apron
Modelled on a suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, this printed apron will transport bakers from their 21st-century kitchens to the majesty of the Field of the Cloth of Gold – although this cloth is 100 per cent cotton.
Colosseum 3D jigsaw
Are you not entertained? Any recipient of this majestic 3D Roman Colosseum jigsaw certainly will be. The puzzle set also includes an LED light, to illuminate the thrills and spills of the ring.
Viking horn tealight holder
Set a stormy atmosphere with these unique tealight holders. Inspired by Viking drinking horns, these décor pieces carved from ox horn will be sure to get guests talking – and maybe even toasting.
Henry VIII’s disappearing wives mug
This mug brings the famous phrase “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” to life in a whole new way. Simply add a hot beverage and watch as portraits of the queens disappear, and their various fates are revealed.
A hieroglyphic journal
Move over, bullet journals. This hieroglyphic journal contains 200 pages designed to help the owner draw out hieroglyphs on graphed paper and then translate them into English. An excellent addition to the stocking of anyone who’s interested in ancient Egyptian culture and language.
HMS Victory in a bottle
The HMS Victory was the jewel in the royal navy’s crown, serving as Lord Nelson’s flagship when he stormed to victory during the battle of Trafalgar. Rather than travelling to Portsmouth to see the Georgian ship in all its glory, bring a piece of naval history home with this mini-Victory in a lightbulb-shaped bottle.
Historic properties scratch-off poster
Set a challenge for history explorers with this gorgeous scratch-off poster from English Heritage. It includes 292 historical properties and gardens to visit across England, from famous locations like Hadrian’s Wall to fascinating areas of interest off the beaten track.
For history that hits closer to home, try an AncestryDNA kit. These tests shed fascinating light on people’s heritage, from the ethnicity of their ancestors to uncovering new family connections.
Shakespearean insult calendar
If you don’t want to be accused of being a mad-headed ape this Christmas, make sure you add this to your shopping basket. With a colourful insult from the bard himself for all 365 days of 2023, it’ll bring a smile – or a scowl – to its recipient’s face every day.
Stonehenge chess set
Taking inspiration from the landscape of Stonehenge, this chess set combines the beauty of the game with the majesty of the stone circle. The board is emblazoned with a stunning birds-eye view of the neolithic standing stones, and the pieces are reimagined as objects connected to Stonehenge, from the stones themselves to spear heads.
Morse code kit
Do you know your dots from your dashes? This clever kit from Imperial War Museums is designed to put your morse code skills to the test, as you can build your own morse machine and learn more about the history of the language.
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Medieval cat coasters
If you had to picture medieval illustrations, it’s fair to say your mind wouldn’t immediately leap to cats wearing crowns or walking on their hind legs. But both feature on this quirky coaster set, which showcases four eye-catching medieval cat illustrations. A purr-fect present for any history geeks with feline friends.
If you know someone who still has the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat, they can belt out the tunes in comfort while wearing this historical hoodie mimicking Alexander Hamilton’s costume.
For the less musically minded, LightInTheBox has a range of other historical hoodies on offer, from medieval knights to Second World War military designs.
Viking beard beads
Bring your beard or braid game to a new level with these hand-crafted alphabet rune beads. Based on the Norse Futhark rune alphabet, this set of 24 silver hair beads mixes fashion and Viking history.
Turn your tweet into a cuneiform tablet
Swap mindless scrolling on Twitter for turning tweets into a piece of history. Dumb Cuneiform will transcribe any 140-character message of your choosing into cuneiform – a writing system popular in the ancient Middle East – and imprint it on a clay tablet for you, so your inside jokes will last forever.
A digital subscription to HistoryExtra
What do you get the history lover who has everything? A subscription to us can’t go wrong (at least in our humble opinion!). They’ll unlock access to 2,500 articles, 1,000 award-winning podcast episodes and numerous video lectures – all for £34.99 a year.
Claim your summer book + FREE access to HistoryExtra.com when you subscribe to BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed