The end of the year is just around the corner; but before we get to New Year’s there’s one last item to scratch off your list: Christmas. Buying Christmas presents can be overwhelming, not only as far as prices, but sometimes finding the “right” thing to buy someone is just as difficult. I would know- T and I ended up buying for 15 people this year! If you have someone who is a Mason, or who is involved in an apendant body, or is even interested in Masonry, there are tons of options out there for you to choose from, in a large range of prices. So fire up your Amazon Prime (worth it!), and let’s scratch some people off your gift list.
You can never go wrong with a book. There’s hundreds of books on Freemasonry and its related subjects, possibly even more. Here’s some I recommend.
Written by Bro. Hodapp, Freemasons for Dummies is an excellent book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Masonry, whose SO is a Mason, is a new Mason, or has been involved in the craft for years. It covers a wide range of topics, from the History of the Templars, to top ten lists of Masonry. It is a wonderful resource, and I really feel that anyone who has even the slightest inkling of interest in Freemasonry read it. T and I have both read it cover to cover, and I use it as a resource for writing here.
A Bridge to Light is essentially an abridged version of Morals and Dogma. It describes all of the degrees of Scottish Rite Masonry, including a brief synopsis of each degree, as well as the regalia for each degree. It also gives the bottom line, and gives the virtue that each degree is trying to convey. I would not recommend this for someone who is not already a Scottish Rite Mason. Knowing what is coming with degree work really takes a lot of the magic out of it. This book is totally okay for any wives or non-Masons to read, as it gives away no secrets. As a bonus, its required reading for the Master Craftsman Program!
Okay, so, The Lost Symbol is a work of fiction. I repeat, this is a work of fiction. See how it’s written by Dan Brown? That’s how you know its fiction. That being said, it’s a pretty decent work of fiction. The reason I recommend this book, is the amount of accuracy within it. Yes, not everything said about Masons in it is true, but a lot of it is. Brown really did his homework for this one. It’s also an upcoming film.
There are tons of books out there, from Masonic history, to philosophy, to ritual assistance. If you aren’t sure what someone’s specific interests are, and these three don’t seem to fit the bill, I would start with The Lost Word, an online Masonic book retailer.
There are thousands of different types of jewelry related to Masonic organizations. Rings, necklaces, earrings, cufflinks, tie clips, if its shiny, they will put a S&C on it. Bear in mind that the vast majority of this stuff is from India, and not so great high quality heirloom kind of stuff. If you are okay with that, I will stick a list at the bottom of the “major” masonic retailers where you can get all sorts of stuff.
When buying a gift, usually the one thing you want to stay away from is a ring. Rings, especially for Master Masons, are a very personal thing, and is usually picked out by the individual, given to them by their mentor, or passed down in the family. If you are looking for Masonic rings, some good stores are JemsByJem, and MasonicRings.
For everything else, check out the mass market shops, Amazon, The Master’s Jewel, or, surprisingly, Etsy. There’s a lot out there on Etsy, but be sure to search for something like “square and compass ring” instead of “mason ring”, unless you want a ring made from a mason jar.
As I said above, if they can put a square and compass or other masonic symbol on something, they will. Hats, shirts, motorcycle jackets, ties, gloves, you name it, you can buy it. Again, the mass market shops have the largest variety, but there are also a lot of smaller shops out there. Grip or Token is awesome for baseball and stocking caps, and I think that Fraternal Ties can’t be beat for ties and pocket squares.
Posters, coffee mugs, Christmas ornaments and more, they can all be purchased with a Masonic flair. Again, the mass market shops will give you the widest range of items. But don’t discount the little guy. The Masonic Family Catalog by Klitzner has some oddities. Who knew I always wanted a Shrine purse hanger? Fossil Bluff makes some really gorgeous pens and other handmade gifts. Even the Scottish Rite store has a pretty decent selection.Your Grand Lodge may even sell some items on their website. Don’t forget, if you are looking for something really specific to be made, you might want to ask a seller on Etsy, or even try your hand on Thumbtack.
These shops are essentially mass market shops. They churn out a ton of items, at a decent price. There is nothing wrong with this, however, sometimes their quality tends to be a bit lacking. However, they do, in my experience have the largest selection of cloth goods by far, as well as a wide variety of rings. These are the guys that usually come and sell items at Grand Lodge. They are however, pretty good as far as out of print books are concerned. If you are after a hard to find book, for example, The Eastern Star; The Evolution from a Rite to an Order, these places are going to be your best bet.
I hope that this helps figure out some gifts for folks, or even items to add to your own wishlists!