If you have pirates on your list, it can be even harder. What might your pirate-loving friend want for Christmas?
Pirate fans usually got that way by watching movies or reading books. There are no new movies about Golden-Age pirates this year, but a good pirate read is a great way to spend those cold, dreary months waiting for pirate festivals to start again.
The Pirate Empire series by TS Rhodes is something new for a lot of pirates. A set of well-researched novellas featuring a kick-ass female captain. Scarlet MacGrath only wants three things out of life – A decent meal, a glass of rum, and a good man waiting for her in the next port. Too bad life never works out so simply. In book one, Gentlemen and Fortune, Scarlet fights off the bloody-handed Red Ned Doyle, goes on a secret mission for pirate king Henry Avery, fights the Royal Navy and gets dragged into a effort to free a boatload of slaves.
Book two, Bloody Seas, finds her in desperate straits, battling wayward merchants, cannibals, and Captain Robert Davenport of the Royal Navy as she and her crew try desperately to stay alive in the unforgiving world of Golden Age piracy.
In Book Three, Storm Season Scarlet and her crew land on the island of Nassau, home of the pirate empire. Here she meets old friends, and makes new enemies before setting out on a perilous journey to Port Royal, center of British law, and home port to the intriguing Captain Davenport.
These first three books of The Pirate Empire series are available now, with more coming out in 2016. Available in paperback or in a Kindle edition.
But if your favorite pirate is more involved in drinking than reading, why not spring for a pewter or stainless steal tankard? Gifts like this are available from many sources, including online shops like Amazon. A tankard with a solid bottom can hold both hot and cold liquids, while glass or plastic-bottomed examples can be had for as little as $10.
Kraken rum is a good choice. It's tasty, and the bottle comes with an embossed sea-monster. I’m also fond of Pyrat brand rum (made by Patron). Not only is Pyrat an excellent rum, but the bottle has been molded with a shape similar to an old onion-bottle of the 18th century, and with glass that contains bubbles, much like hand-blown glass from the time.
Of course, if you want to go authentic, historic bottles are available through antique dealers or Ebay. But beware! An authentic bottle from the sunken city of Port Royal can be had, but be prepared to pay upwards of $600!
Historic coins can also be had (for a price!) through coin dealers such as Admiral Nelson Shipwreck Coins. I’m the proud owner of a few “pirate pennies” but authentic solid gold doubloons are available. Prices vary, but if you don’t want to sink thousands, Amazon also offers cast metal replicas for prices under $20
Your friend might also enjoy an antiqued map of the Caribbean. Many versions are for sale, but keep an eye out for authenticity. An accurate map with an antique feel seems to me a far better choice than a fantasy with “Pirates of the Caribbean” stamped on it. But you know your friend.
Of course, nowadays almost anything can be pirate themed. A quick trip through Google, revealed pirate themed chef’s aprons, shower curtains, bedspreads and cell phone covers. But beware! Your pirate friend may not be into whatever it is you’ve chosen. Know your subject, and use caution before shelling out your hard-earned cash for some odd object just because it has a skull-and-crossbones on it.
That said, there are a few really fun object that I, at least, wouldn’t mind receiving for the holidays.
I-clipmagnetic bookmarks with skull and crossbones. The things really work, and look like nothing else. I use them to mark pages that I return to over and over.
Pirate bottle opener. This little guy is everywhere, but he’s cute, and who doesn’t need another corkscrew?
A modern replica of an 18th century liquor bottle. Various versions of this are available. I’m pretty sure that this version was used on the set of the Starz series Black Sails. It would be especially thoughtful if you concocted one of the rum drinks from my post Authentic Pirate Rum Drinks to fill this beauty.
Last, it’s hard to go wrong if you buy your friend a pirate T-shirt. I’m especially fond of the ones that look like a pirate costume, though endless choices abound. Just make sure the size in right. After all, those of us who dream of pirate go through our pirate shirts pretty quickly.
And one more note: If you'd like to give a gift to your favorite author, review their book! Book reviews help drive sales. and nothing says love like a thoughtful review that proves you've enjoyued their work.
So dream of pirates this Christmas, and have a wonderful time. Yo Ho Ho Ho and a happy holiday to all!