The holidays are coming up, and it’s time to start thinking about what gifts to get for your friends and family. I’m guessing that most of my readers have at least one person in their circle who might be described as a goth. If you don’t share their dark and spooky proclivities, it can be hard to know what to get for your black-clad friend. Of course, each goth is an individual and I can’t claim to speak for the whole subculture. But I’ve put together a list of a few things that are fairly universally appreciated among the morbidly-inclined.
Maybe it’s our nostalgia for centuries gone by, but most goths love hanging out by candlelight. Candles make good presents for everyone, but you know a goth is going to make good use out of it, and not just stick it in the bathroom for decoration. Your loved one may already have plenty of candles of their own, but in my opinion there is no such thing as ever having too many candles! You have tons of options here—get creative with colors, shapes, and scents. For goths living the height of their aesthetic, tall, tapered black or red candles are perfect for candelabra or ornate candlesticks. Yankee Candle has tons of fun colors and scents, from the dark-hued Midsummer’s Night to the vibrant Summer Storm. Or you can get something truly unique like these animal-shaped candles that melt down to reveal a metal skeleton inside! With so many options, you can never go wrong with candles.
Goth is a particularly literary subculture, and many of us are avid readers. I know I’m always a big fan of books as presents. Why not give your favorite goth the gift of a good horror novel, or some morbid nonfiction? (I particularly recommend From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty.) If you don’t know specifically what kind of books your goth friend likes to read, it’s always a safe bet to stick to the classics. Does Barnes & Noble have a pretty, new gilded-edged collection of Poe? One can never have too many collections of Poe. Or how about some nice, illustrated Edward Gorey? The possibilities are endless.
One thing common to most goths is a passion for their aesthetic. We’re decorative folk, and we usually like to adorn our homes, our belongings, and our bodies with the things we find beautiful—which sometimes can differ a lot from other people’s ideas of beauty. One of the best ways to do this for goths of all genders is through jewelry. The more piercings your goth friend has, the more opportunities for presents! If you don’t know your way around industrial bars and spiral gauges, you can always just stick to rings and necklaces. Does your friend like skulls? Bats? Occult imagery? You can find these kinds of things and more at your local Hot Topic, or check out Etsy for something more unique. You can also never go wrong with black or red gems, even from more mainstream jewelry suppliers. We may love the dark, but we’re not opposed to some shine and sparkle!
Continuing the decorative theme, makeup is another thing that is often appreciated by goths of all genders. If you’re looking for a practical gift, we tend to burn through those black eyeliner pencils pretty quickly.… Many of us also enjoy experimenting with bold, dark lip colors, if you want to get something more personal. The brand ColourPop has some great (and inexpensive!) liquid lipsticks in all sorts of colors, from dark purples and black or silver. If you’re not sure what your friend’s style is, a gift card to Sephora will never go unappreciated.
Music is what’s really at the heart of the gothic subculture. Not all goths listen to the same bands these days, but odds are music in general is still an important part of their lives. If you know what they listen to, go ahead and get them that latest album from the band they like. If you really love them, maybe even get them some concert tickets—there are so many great bands that are touring right now! (I’ll take two tickets to Nightwish, please.…) Even just an iTunes gift card will warm a spooky heart.
But most importantly of all this holiday season, don’t forget to give the gift of love and acceptance. You don’t have to get the whole goth thing, but you can still appreciate your gothic loved ones for who they are.
What are you getting for your goth friends this holiday season? If you’re a goth, what else would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!