Happy holidays, everybody! Keep warm, make merry, and we’ll see you in 2012.
Readers, we know how fond you are of your Action Janes. We know you’re pals. We know you’ve bonded. We know you all take your Janes everywhere, sharing every confidence and frolicking in fields of flowers together, or whatever. (Just us?) But as the holidays approach, we also know that Action Jane can serve a vital purpose in holiday-ifying our respective homes: with her open but relatively narrow skirt and semi-movable legs, Jane makes an awesome and unique Christmas tree topper/instant conversation piece.
So if you’re in possession of an Action Jane, but not of something to stick on top of your tree—or if you have both, but like the idea of Winged Jane and her Feather of Holiday Goodwill—we think you’ll love these instructions for your very own Jane Austen Christmas tree topper:
1. Crank up your favorite holiday tunes. No skimping on this, you hear? Otherwise you will surely be black of heart and devoid of cheer, and Jane will know. Jane always knows.
2. Draw and cut out the angel wings of your choice. This may take a couple of tries, as you realize that the birth of Jesus was not actually presided over by a fairy.
3. Cut a narrow strip of aluminum foil a few inches in length.
4. Shape the aluminum foil into a tiny halo for Jane; if you prefer a slightly elevated “floating” halo, cut another piece of foil and shape it into a support piece. Wrap one end around the seam of the halo and leave the other end straight.
5. Tape the wings to Jane’s back; either set the halo directly on top of her bonnet or tape the support to the back of her head.
Voila! Stick Angel Jane on top of your Christmas tree—arranging her legs as necessary; we won’t speak to modesty—and revel in the way she oversees all festivity and merriment. Jane was made for festivity and merriment.
But, you know, some of us have bigger Christmas trees—the kinds of macho trees that won’t fit underneath Jane’s slinky skirts (ooh la la!). Some of us can’t get enough of the decidedly un-Regency hoop skirt look. And some of us just like making things more difficult for ourselves. For these special classes of readers, we have Action Jane Christmas Tree Topper: The Advanced Class, with an extended and arguably more angelic-looking skirt and the opportunity for extra craftiness. If decorating angel skirts sound like your cup of tea, read on:
1. To make wings and a halo, follow steps 1-4 of the basic instructions.
2. Using a square piece of paper, trimming two diagonal corners as shown by the dashed lines—this will be Jane’s skirt.
3. Decorate as you see fit. Tiny stars, tie-dye, applique poodles, whatever. The skirt is your oyster.
4. Roll the paper into a cone-shaped skirt around Jane’s tiny waist and tape in the back—once at the top and at least once farther down.
5. Proceed to Step 5 of the basic instructions—tape the wings to Jane’s back and secure the halo to her head.
Ta-da! Action Jane saves the day once again, poised for any and all Christmas hijinks you might throw at her. Now, get on with the drinking of mulled wine, or whatever it is we’re doing to celebrate.
Austenacious readers, today’s post is not for you. Today’s post is for your loved ones—those wishing/required to give you a gift this holiday season. Specifically, those hoping not to find themselves in a picked-over Walgreens on Christmas Eve (or, you know, Kwanzaa Eve; Hanukkah folks, it’s probably too late for you), weighing the costs and benefits of a pair of LED-lighted Babylon 5 socks. So just hand this on over to them, and you’re welcome.
To the friends and family of the reader at hand, it’s nice to meet you. We’re here to help—we’ve scouted the coolest, funniest, prettiest, and Jane-iest stuff at our beloved Etsy and laid it out here for all your gift-giving needs. We recommend shopping early, as shipping time is of the essence, but we hope you’ll find what you’re looking for and give the Austen fan in your life something a little special to get excited about this season.
Pimp out someone’s actual ride and test the historical knowledge of everyone around them with this hotass “My Other Ride is a Barouche” car decal. Just remember: in keeping with the spirit of this gift, Regency folks had big rims. Like, really big rims…which we promise to bring up and then leave to the discretion of you, the esteemed gift-giver. Who, we’re sure, has excellent judgment and in no way deserves financial pressure towards excess in the area of transportational luxury. We would never! We’re just saying: RIMS.
On the long trek home—or, hey, maybe Aruba? Just a thought?—for the holidays, keep an eye on every drop of your favorite Jane fan’s favorite hot beverage. Or cold beverage. Or whatever it is he or she’s taking along to drink out of a coffee mug/coconut. This mug is charmingly hand-lettered with a travel-oriented quotation from Jane and colored on the inside with a pretty modern-y robin’s-egg (or shall we say…Tiffany?) blue, and we’re pretty sure it’ll make any journey a better one…even if all that waits on the other side is fruitcake and a man in a reindeer jumper.
Every girl likes flowers—and what Austen fan wouldn’t like this beautiful lotus blossom made from the pages of a vintage Jane Austen novel? Each five-inch flower is handmade and attached to a bed of green paper lotus leaves; whether it’s romance, spiritual peace, or just a one-of-a-kind gift (or, hey, gift topping, if you’re Donna Reed or are just a terrible gift-wrapper, like me) you’re seeking, surely an Austenian paper lotus is an appropriate and not-to-be-forgotten choice.
The listing says “wedding confetti,” but this is a space for honesty, people, and so let’s all bare our souls, shall we? Whether someone’s getting married or not, nobody (or, nobody we know or want to know) doesn’t love/deserve a good whoosh in the face—if said whooshing involves whimsical, romantic heart-shaped Sense and Sensibility confetti floating down around them, showering the world with romance and happiness. Well, okay, maybe not Colonel Brandon. He’s not so much into the parties or the spontaneity, or, for all we know, the adorable paper products. But, you know, everybody cool likes the confetti. (Sorry, Colonel. Hugs and kisses!)
This holiday season, give the Jane fan in your life a lesson in meta. Let her put her entire life—including the Austen novels we assume she carries around at all times, as we ourselves have been known to do—inside an Austen novel. She takes it everywhere! Brilliant, am I right? This handbag is made from a gorgeous, repurposed copy of Seven Novels (for maximum completeness, don’t you know) and lined in a pretty speckled blue, with a blue-and-white beaded handle, and is sure to blow the mind of any bookish young lady. Or gent. We’d never dream of judging.
The only problem we can see with incorporating some Jane—in the form of this classy and beautiful Christmas tree ornament, naturally—into one’s holiday decor is, we think, the constant temptation to hold it in one’s hands, rotating it like a globe to get the full effect of the novel at hand. Even if it’s just bits and pieces chosen at random. Because how can you have a story, in words, on your Christmas tree or hanging in your house somewhere, and not want to know how it goes and how it ends and oh gosh, do they fall in love at the end? Unless you’re using it to sub in for mistletoe, in which case we say: more power to you. Jane says yes.
Chez Miss Ball, we have a long history with the Christmas wish list. After Thanksgiving—and by December 1 at the latest—there’s a certain amount of familial pressure to inventory our needs and desires, type up the ones that can realistically be satisfied with a credit card and some fancy footwork by the USPS, and distribute the results. Woe and irrelevant gift cards to the family member (except apparently my father, who mostly abstains and then sometimes gets weird presents, Dad) who fails to furnish a list.
The Jane-verse is, of course, jammed with characters and their desires, from prettier hat ribbons to lifelong love and just a little bit of respect—and the subject’s just ripe for a game. Below, check out the anonymous Christmas wish lists—then guess their authors. Leave your answers in the comments!
1. Dear Mr. Claus,
I’ve been mostly good this year—and when I haven’t, it’s mostly been my sister’s fault. Perhaps she deserves a double helping of coal? I, of course, hope to receive only nice things, including an inhaler and a will of my own.
2. Dear Saint Nicholas,
If I must make a supplication to a saint so beloved by children, I’d like a new flannel waistcoat and the love of a pretty girl, preferably of an inappropriately young age. Bonus points if accessories include a scoundrel of her own generation.
As always, I want books. Lots and lots and lots of books. Also, please send common sense and a cute boy whose dad definitely isn’t a murderer. XOXOXO!
4. My Esteemed Mr. Claus,
I already have nearly everything I need, and anything else my father can and will buy for me. Instead, I’d prefer that you conferred upon my friends and family the shared realization that I am always right, and not bossy in the least. This action would help me out a great deal.
5. Dear Most Kind and Generous Sir,
I ask from the bottom of my humble heart for a stairwell half so elaborate and expensive as my neighbor’s, and also the esteem of that same neighbor…though I do believe she likes me already!
What do you think, readers?
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Have some pie, on us!
Now that that’s over with, let’s be serious. The holidays are coming, and you know what that means: joy, wonder, and sparkly lights? No. (Well, yes, but…no.) Think shopping. Think six a.m. crowds. Think finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones, unless you’d rather bless them with a mounted faux fish that sings “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” every hour on the hour. Fun for the whole family!
We at Austenacious are here to help, whether you’re making up your own wish list or shopping for the Austenite in your life. We’ve scoured Etsy—land of the vintage, the handmade, and the vintage handmade—for the coolest, prettiest, funniest Janely goods out there, and we think you’ll like what we found.
Paper and pen! How quaint! Give the writer in your life a bit of Janely advice and a cool place to record Important Thoughts. This medium-sized Moleskine has 96 pages (80 plain, 16 detachable); the cover features an original illustration of a Regency-era dress and a quotation from Jane’s early novel Love and Freindship (sic). Jane would have loved it; we certainly do.
Calm down: It’s not a real page. (We checked.) But it is a reproduction of the title page from a first edition of Pride and Prejudice, printed on 100% cotton, lined with striped pink fabric, and made into a wallet/card-holder, and it’s also a pretty awesome gift for your favorite P&P fan, especially if he or she tends towards disorganization or likes giving heart attacks to fellow book-lovers. Not that we know anybody who needs this. Ahem.
To be honest, practically everything from Brookish would be a great gift for the Austen-fan set, but we think these Christmas ornaments filled with nearly two sliced-up pages from Pride and Prejudice (again, copies—we hope) are especially elegant. Did we say Christmas ornaments? Nothing here is red or green: keep them out all year long for a shot of literary decor whenever you need it.
Need a little romance in your life? What about your kitchen? This dish towel screen-printed with Mr. Darcy’s proposal (in pretty handwriting, no less) to Elizabeth Bennet is just the thing to put you in the mood…what for, we don’t really want to know. Just promise us you won’t swoon with anything hot in your hand, okay? Safety first.
Words escaping you? Really need to get your point across, but not looking forward to catalyzing epic drama over the holidays? Maybe Jane can help. Say what you really mean with these eight beautiful and beautifully snarky Jane-quotation greeting cards by letterarypress–after all, Jane says it best, and she’s not around to get in trouble!
Carry your baggage—emotional and otherwise—in style with this vintage suitcase hand-illustrated with the silhouettes of a Regency couple. Lined in red, with amenities of the luggage of yesteryear (movable compartments!), the suitcase measures 18″ x 21″ x 8.5″—perfect weekend size—and trust us, you’ll never lose your stuff on the airport baggage carousel again!
Looking for a gift that doesn’t require extra postage? This gift is the card: a double-sided Jane Austen finger puppet greeting card! Make a cut-out or leave her whole; if you think a paper finger puppet isn’t hours of entertainment for the likes of Jane’s fans, well, we must have just met. Nice to meet you.
For the reluctant, impatient, or charmingly sarcastic host in your life, Mr. Bennet comes through…as always. Guests staying too long at the piano? Guests staying too long, period? This switchplate comes in a variety of styles (to accomodate all your lighting-control needs) and is certain to make your friends laugh…as the door shuts behind them. See? Form and function: together at last.
Now, get out there, people! Shop! Find cool handmade stuff for the people you love!
Oh, and one more thing: