Wow, is it really December already? We’ve got our tree up, but not yet decorated, and the menorah is out (of course, all you have to do is take it out of the box), and that’s about as far as we’ve gotten as far as holidays at our house, gifts aren’t even really on the radar yet. I have to assume that at least some of you are on the same page as myself, and might be on the lookout for a gift for a Masonic family member. I covered this topic as well last year, but this year I wanted to show off some of the more unique options out there.
Everyone loves heirlooms, even more so if they can be passed from Mason to Mason throughout the generations. Sometimes though, you find that you’re better off getting something secondhand in order to get that unique gift. There’s lots of options here: books, aprons, but the biggest is jewelry. A word of caution, however, try and buy from a reputable seller. There’s tons of Masonic costume jewelry out there, and what you thought was 25k gold, might actually be gold plated, or worse, just plain plastic. eBay tends to be a better option than Etsy, due to the lower prices, but both are viable options. Also, don’t be afraid to check out your local pawnshop or even craigslist. What you find might just surprise you.
There are so many cool, unique options out there if you decide to buy something that has been handmade. Etsy is the place for this, although there are some other sites out there as well. Don’t limit yourself to just sellers with Masonic items, many people that do glass etching or woodworking will be able to do most any of the logos for any Masonic organization. 3d printing is also becoming very popular, and tends to be fairly inexpensive. Scotch glasses, jewelry boxes, embossed journals, the possibilities are limitless. Don’t forget that for the most part, these are not copyrighted, so you don’t have to worry about that, although your state and country laws may vary.
Education is the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it comes to Masonic education. Although initiates receive copies of the ritual work when they join, there are countless books out there on Masonry. History, how-to’s, esoteric books, meditations and reflections, even Masonic fiction exists. Besides, doesn’t everyone need a copy of Morals and Dogma? If you’d rather give a gift that goes a step further, why not enroll them in the Master Craftsman program? I’ve talked about this before, but the short story is, it’s an education program put on by the Scottish Rite, that has readings and tests, and even a fancy pin to show everyone you finished. And, as long as they get it done in a year, you can buy them the next level next year!
Charity is really the name of the game when it comes to Freemasonry, so why not donate to a Masonic cause in someone’s name for a gift? There’s tons of options out there, including the Shiner’s Hospital for Children and RiteCare. If you want to take it a step further, find out what organizations and charities their Lodge or Chapter is working with this year. If you’re not sure, contact your local Grand Lodge, or barring that, you can never go wrong with keeping it close to home and donating to an organization in your local community.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, check out these Masonic retailers.