The Wild Hunt 2020 Winter Solstice “Gift Guide”

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TWH – For the last five years, The Wild Hunt has been putting together a list of interesting finds that we think could make a perfect gift for our readers’ favorite Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists.

Our team scours the web over the previous year and keeps a record of what has caught our eye. Our gift guide has always been independent – we have never been paid or compensated in any way for listing a product.

We usually share our list on Thanksgiving weekend. From Black Friday to Giving Tuesday, we give a nod to the hypocrisy of dysfunctional excess and the annual collective performance of gluttony in praise of capitalistic commercialism.

This year is different, though. The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered many individuals and frayed the connections between many communities. Collectively, we are coping with loss: loved ones are gone, jobs and income are gone, and in too many ways, the world that was is gone.

The Centers for Disease Control’s list of “higher”-risk activities for spreading COVID-19 includes “shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving.” The CDC conspicuously added a lower risk activity: “Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.”

That remark clearly underscores the pain that some retailers are feeling. That “some” very likely includes the small retailers that form the backbone of the Pagan economic community.

While the National Retail Federation wrote earlier this month that holiday shopping had begun in early November and was bullish on overall holiday sales rising between 3.6 and 5.2 percent over last year, they admitted to overweighting large retailers.

“Given the pandemic, there is uncertainty about consumers’ willingness to spend, but with the economy improving most have the ability to spend,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers have experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago.

“After all they’ve been through, we think there’s going to be a psychological factor that they owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday. There are risks to the economy if the virus continues to spread, but as long as consumers remain confident and upbeat, they will spend for the holiday season.”

The NRF notes, though, that “not all retailers and categories have rebounded as quickly, including small and mid-sized retailers.” Many of us have found small stores trying to move online, or closed altogether.

Some of us drove and found store upon store closed trying to move what they can online. One small business owner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told reporters that his income “went from what it was, to zero.”

The Pagan community’s economic strength is likely fragile: that is a guess because we only have anecdotal data to support our claim. But our community relies on small retailers and niche businesses – crafters, vendors, artists, and musicians – for our gifts. Those makers also rely on events and festivals and conferences, none of which have happened this year. They have all been impacted, and we can step up to help.

Yuletide presents [Pixabay]

With all that said, TWH recommends three things this year.

First, we invite our readers to share some time with their loved ones. We’ve probably over-Zoomed at this point, but these connections remain critically important. Consider taking a course online with a friend. Ardantane, Cherry Hill Seminary, and Temple of Witchcraft are a few of our community’s providers that offer excellent courses that range from magickal practice to formal academic study. There are also online concerts by Pagan artists to attend together, as are readings from practitioners.

Second, we hope you have an opportunity to “get out there”. As we mentioned last year, while it’s not “Pagan,” strictly speaking, for those living in the United States, the $80 America the Beautiful pass allows for unlimited annual visits to all national parks and other federal recreation areas in the United States. It’s a shareable and unforgettable way to create adventures together. There are free annual passes for current U.S. military and their dependents, and free annual passes for US 4th Grade Students. Some states offer similar passes and opportunities to their sites. While they aren’t necessary to get out in nature, there are some breathtaking places in nature to see with one.

Third, while TWH does not accept advertising or promotions, we invite Pagan businesses and creators to share a link on our Facebook and here on our site in the comments section about products you offer. Please tag away!

As we have said in the past, we think buying Pagan is important. Pagan businesses support our community and keep fellow Pagans working as artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs. We hope our guide inspires you to look across the internet, as well as in your own local community, to buy Pagan.