Everybody knows somebody who’s a little too obsessed with British costume dramas.
If you think your loved one is probably deep into the British costume drama lifestyle but aren’t sure, here are some signs: You aren’t sure what Cranford is, but she has it on DVD. She has hopefully mentioned the prospect of something called “English country dance.” She owns multiple items campily emblazoned with the face of Colin Firth in character as Mark Darcy. You don’t really understand it, but we want to support the special people in our lives in their passions, right? Or maybe you are the somebody who’s a little too into BBC costume dramas, and your well-meaning friends and family have bought you three more copies of Austenland than any woman needs.
Either way, here is a helpful list of suggested gifts for the upcoming holidays.
A basket of fan-made North and South goodies from Etsy
Everyone knows about the Jane Austen adaptations, but the true costume-drama connoisseur knows there’s no better background for a lazy Saturday afternoon than one’s 27th viewing of the 2004 version of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It is a true cult classic with a thriving fandom that extends to numerous products on Etsy, and your friend would no doubt be thrilled to open a package stuffed with such items.
Potential inclusions: A pendant with a page from the book; a floral lanyard emblazoned with the protagonists’ names and silhouettes; an artsy typographical print; a bracelet with Richard Armitage in character as Mr. Thornton urging Margaret Hale to look back at him; a Margaret Hale bookmark; a John Thornton felt plushie. Just for God’s sake don’t order anything related to the John Jakes novel about the American Civil War. (Etsy, various.)
A Jane Austen mug straight from the gift shop of Bath’s Jane Austen Centre
For drinking tea while she watches her stories. (The Jane Austen Centre, $10.18, pending what the pound does)
A slouchy Jane Eyre pullover
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” Powerful words, which your friend can now wear emblazoned across her chest while drinking tea in front of a burning candle and watching her stores. Made to order and available in several colors! Charlotte and the rest of the Brontes could have used them as they sat around listening to the winds wuthering off the moor. (Etsy, $38)
A Fortnum & Mason tea hamper
Well, you’re confident she drinks a lot of tea, and since she’s spent all her money on DVDs from the Masterpiece Theater store, she would probably appreciate some luxury foodstuffs. For that, you gotta go with Fortnum & Mason, which has been in business since 1707 and holds a Royal Warrant to supply Buckingham Palace. Every year they roll out an array of appallingly upscale hampers full of Christmas treats. While the bounty narrows significantly once you limit yourself to what’s available worldwide, you could still ball out with a £150.00 Christmas Tea Hamper. You can even reuse the basket! (Fortnum & Mason, £60.00 to £1,500.00)
We’re adults, we can all admit that we don’t have enough socks. (Amazon, $4.50 to $12.00)
A Edward Gorey/Masterpiece Mystery tote
Did you know that Edward Gorey did the 1980 opening credits for the PBS series Mystery!, which would eventually be absorbed into the Masterpiece brand? Which means you could make your pal the proud owner of a tote bag featuring an Edwardian Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as envisioned by Gorey. (PBS, $29.99)
Acorn TV subscription
A streaming service wholly devoted to British TV, this is where to send your friend for the deep cuts—you know, the harder stuff. They’ve got I, Claudius; Lost Empires, featuring an astonishingly young Colin Firth; the 1975 version of Poldark; and the David Tennant Casanova; and something called Rococo Before Bedtime; They’ve even got Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey. Yes, like from Ab Fab. (Acorn TV, $49.99 for a year)