Another gift question: Niece Edition
December 10, 2020 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I could really used some suggestions for what to get my niece for Christmas, whom I haven't seen in a year for obvious reasons. Basically all I have to go on: - she is 7 - she is apparently super, super into witches right now, possibly with a Wicca angle. -She is a smart cookie but doesn't seem hugely into reading. - I am in the UK and will need to receive this and then post it on before Christmas.

I got her nice art supplies for a while but she has an ipad now so pencils and stuff seem redundant. I'm not sure what is witchy but not too "babyish" for a 7 year old!
posted by stillnocturnal to Shopping (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would get her one of those witch cookbooks out there.
posted by bbqturtle at 10:24 AM on December 10, 2020

A tarot deck with nice art? "Healing" crystals? (Even when she grows out of her witchy phase they're still pretty rocks!) DIY candle kit?
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

A Ouija board?
posted by pangolin party at 10:42 AM on December 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Dress-up costumes and props for playing pretend.
posted by tinymegalo at 10:43 AM on December 10, 2020

Best answer: I think all of these recs should be available in the UK:

Llewellyn's 2021 Magical Almanac or Llewellyn's 2021 Witches' Datebook - both of these cover standard Wiccan/wheel of the year holidays, moon phases, sabbats, a bit of astrology. The Almanac has more everyday magic stuff - Llewellyn is a longtime publisher of this stuff, none of it is spicy or especially stuff-intensive, it's mostly verse spells and intention-setting exercises. The datebook serves as a pretty decent planner/calendar.

Crystals are cool but you'll probably have to overlook how wildly unethical the crystal industry is; it's very hard to find actual ethical crystals. But, if you can support a local witch shop by buying them there it's only about as bad as buying skeevily-produced clothing in a local shop. At 7, crystals are going to be so fascinating, but do obtain local if you can.

Most people's first tarot cards are some version of the Rider-Waite deck, which do drive a great deal of the "conventional wisdom" interpretation. There are many many other decks out there though that are more inclusive, and more fun, like cat- or other animal-based decks, flower or nature-based decks. Again, find a local witch shop/bookstore, you can probably even email them and ask for a rec. They need your money, and generally love to give advice.

I give a lot of advice to new witches with restrictions like not being able to burn candles, and that's that anything that represents fire is fine - LED candles, a tiny red LED flashlight, a drawing or figurine of a fire (check dollhouse/fairy garden supplies! A basic altar usually has a nice tray or cloth for the surface, items that represent earth/air/fire/water, a bowl for salt, a vessel for water - those latter two can be fun to source from thrift shops or your own cupboards; I have a handmade ceramic toothpick holder for my salt, and an old thrifted cordial glass for my water. If you think she's already building out an altar of her own, which I would be if I was 7 and really into witches, you might just offer some accoutrements for it like the glass or a special teacup, little bowls and containers for spells, a mini-cauldron, a cool little mirror, some really nice paper for writing spells, little jars for moon water or spell jars.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:45 AM on December 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

Helena Garcia, from Great British Bake Off, has an online store I'd recommend. ( Witches by Helena) My husband has bought a few things for me from her, and they've shipped to the US well, so I'd imagine you'd be even better off.
posted by librarianamy at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Look, I loved polished rocks at that age. Get her a hunk of rose quartz and a book about minerals and their properties. Here's one possibility. Here's a pinterest link.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So I am the parent of a 7 year old boy, and he is sort of very obsessed with anything he might consider a treasure box. And I recall being the same around that age, as evidenced by the fact that due to my parents being pack rats who rarely discard anything that one of their children might be nostalgic for, he has inherited a couple boxes of treasures. The tiny bars of gold, rock necklace from a field trip gift store, magic glitter wands, sea glass from the beach, a tiny skull etc. etc. (Child shares my morbid interest in skeletal remains ok)

So, what about either something like this curated treasure box from Etsy or just find a cool magickal empty box and send that, or box plus you put a few things in it. Me, I would probably write up a 'spell' too, such as a spell for self-confidence or a spell for peace in your heart..... on a pretty card, in fancy writing, ingredients included.
posted by MustangMamaVE at 11:00 AM on December 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to see if you can encourage some reading (or being read to, if you or her grownups are able to), Terry Pratchett's young adult book "Wee Free Men" is about a nine year old girl becoming a witch via rescuing her little brother and the Baron's son from an evil Queen. If she gets into it there are several more about the protagonist and then about 30 other books set in the world the young adult books are set in. It's available as an audiobook too if you think she'd be into that.
posted by macfly at 12:39 PM on December 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Get her the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett! The protagonist is 9 in the first book (Wee Free Men) so she is well within the target audience range, and 15 in the last one so it'll keep her for a while. (There's a fifth book but I feel it shows Sir Terry's decline a bit.) Pratchett's conception of witchcraft is really wonderful and full of valuable lessons for mundane life, but the magic is also very compelling. (On preview: jinx!)
posted by babelfish at 12:41 PM on December 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

This is a US store but I bet you could find any of the things in this adorable Junior Witch's Kit from my fave store ever. Some sweet books especially for little witches and more!

Little Witch's Gift Set
posted by fairlynearlyready at 1:28 PM on December 10, 2020

Response by poster: I totally forgot about Terry Pratchett! Do you think she's old enough for those? I don't really have a good sense of what "7" means. Am I right in thinking its a little young for candles?

I'm a big science nerd so I'm a little uncomfortable going too far down the crystals-are-magic route, since there's a whole lot of people trying to sell that as truth, rather than fun. I guess gifts shouldn't be about my hangups though, food for thought.
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:34 PM on December 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Molly Ostertag's The Witch Boy series (there are 3 books so far) is really nice! They're graphic novels, so they're good for kids around your niece's age who are probably on the cusp of reading more intensively, but maybe not super into it at present (my 7y.o. is in this zone right now).

The books are about a contemporary multi-generational family of witches and shape-shifters, plus some human friends. The protagonist is a boy, but there are also several foregrounded and strong female characters in the book. The stories are really lovely, and the characters demonstrate thoughtful listening, caring, and growing (this, I find, can be strangely elusive in books for kids around this age - they're often very action-oriented for some reason). The magic feels grounded in life, in a way (a bit more Wicca-ish in this sense). I enthusiastically recommend them.
posted by marlys at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would not allow 7-year-old-me to have had candles (as much as she would have loved them).

Thirding Wee Free Men, and heartily endorsing its sequels, which display a deep sense of ethics as well as a suspiciously accurate insight into the philosophy and community of Wiccan-witchcraft while still being humorous fantasy novels.

If you think she'd be into crystals, a rock tumbler might be a more fun starting point. But be warned that a rock tumbler is noisy when running and can't be left with the grit inside for more than a few days or it cements itself shut (ask 7-year-old me how she knows this...).

One other idea is a reference on secret alphabets (runes, etc.) and other magical symbols.
posted by heatherlogan at 1:51 PM on December 10, 2020

Best answer: Young for candles, yes. That's why I suggest representative fire.

Looking around at parent-centric reviews, the Tiffany Aching books might be a little scary and/or complex for 7, and maybe that's especially true for someone who's not a hugely enthusiastic reader. I see parents saying more 9-10. I can definitely vouch that the audiobooks are spectacular, whenever she's ready, and maybe preferable to parent-read or silent read because there's some pretty distinctive accents.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:04 PM on December 10, 2020

The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes is a very gentle book that would probably be suitable for reading with a parent. The pace is a little slower than a lot of modern kids’ books, just FYI.

She might enjoy her own set of battery-operated tea lights, a cape, a black cat stuffie, or a treasure box, as suggested above.
posted by corey flood at 2:54 PM on December 10, 2020

Response by poster: Great answers in this thread, thank you everyone! I ended up ordering a cloak that hopefully I'll have time to do some embroidery on, and The Witch Boy books. I'll see if I can find a local witchy ship for crystals and battery candles.

I'll keep Pratchett on the back-burner for when she's a little older.
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:01 AM on December 11, 2020

Response by poster: Also I only stopped marking best answers because it could have easily been every answer here, thanks again.
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:02 AM on December 11, 2020

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