The following article originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in December 2005.
Yuletide Moosings on Presents
Paula Dempsey, alias Mystic Moo, has felt your presents.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. So let’s talk presents. I can read your mind, don’t forget, so don’t even think about that 4th edition of Bunnies and Burrows in a limited print run of only 5000 copies with an authentic fur cover and floppy ears, because that is so SAD and also lapinist and contrary to my mystical respect for nature (especially bunnies) so just DON’T DO IT!
Every year my postbag overflows with letters from you, my little seekers of wisdom. And what are these letters? Well not bloomin’ Christmas cards for a start. You lot only write when you want something and number one in the Moo mail this week is “What do I get my gran / girlfriend / bloke from my gaming group / nice girl from the Post Office who smiled at me when I bought a stamp last week? ”What’s the Moo to do? Well, I just consulted my spirit guide.
Some of you may be surprised that not all spirit guides are Native Americans or girly Victorian consumptives. And thank the Goddess for that. My mate Buttercup (two stalls down, the one with the windowbox) had one of those sickly ethereal types and we were hosing the ectoplasm off her salt lick for weeks. I am currently channelling the spirit of a sixties wallpaper designer turned pan-dimensional guru who wishes to be known only as Zed. His teachings contain important messages for the future of mankind which I eventually intend to publish in book form, but until they up the advance I’m not inclined to put hoof to typewriter. All the publisher’s fault if you don’t get to read Z’s prophecies in time to prepare yourself for what is to come. In the meantime, as someone’s had the decency to drop a couple of mince pies and a half bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream into my hay net, here’s Zed’s advice on stylish present options for your loved ones this Christmas.
Right, settle down, chew a bit of cud, concentrate… Zed tells me that people fall into distinct personality types, which he says makes things a bit easier. These are karmic and based on their last past life. Some of us are old souls who fall into a mythic type. These are elves, magicians and owls. More common are those who were kicked out of the afterlife PDQ and bounced back to the earthly realm to burn off their karma before they did any serious damage. These are goths, combat wombats and grans. You can tell what type your friend / significant other / bloke who gave you a Polo mint on the bus last week is by reading their aura. If your psychic ability is too weedy to cope with that small task, try Buttercup’s Bovine Aura Wheel, yours for only £30 plus postage from the usual address. Mooooooooooo…woah, lost it there for a bit. Wow. OK, here are Zed’s tips for successful present buying and my own tips for buying games by personality type.
Elves are characterised by their green aura, willowy appearance, long straight hair and long straight noses. There’s one other characteristic too, but we don’t talk about that on the cosmic telephone if we’re all going to get along. Elves are difficult to buy for as they get bored easily, so forget the battery-powered dancing snowman or novelty chocolate Santa. Instead, go for something with longevity. Oh, and shiny. Elves like shiny. In short, diamonds are an elf’s best friend. Jewellery fits the bill, obviously, but elves also appreciate glittery makeup and elf gamers would love a set of crystal dice. Just don’t buy earrings. Darn, I said it… Mystic Moo effortlessly plummets down the karmic ladder…
Ideal game: SkyRealms of Jorune, as it’s suitably arcane and you need to be around for a few centuries to sort the rules out.
Their aura is purple and they have been there, done that and bought the demon a tee-shirt. You may sense a certain ennui from these souls that have been around for so long. Zed suggests that they will benefit from new experiences, so consider one of those vouchers for a novelty day out – ballooning, rally driving or visiting cows to take them sherry, for example.
Ideal game: Anything but Ars Magica. It’s hardly escapist for this mob.
The oldest souls of all, their aura is brown, the colour of nature and of the earth. They are small, rotund people with poor eyesight who frequently sport round spectacles. Owls appreciate books and value knowledge in all forms. As well as books, try anything which appeals to their love of nature. Gardening implements would go down well, as would binoculars, outdoor wear such as hiking boots and, most appreciated of all but terribly difficult to find, a nicely presented hamper of dead mice.
Ideal game: Big Eyes, Small Mouth. Owls like playing the baddies.
Plan to come back as Magicians, but they should be so lucky. Messy dabbling in the occult will do them no good whatsoever and the best they can hope for is speedy reincarnation as a bat. Buy these people big bunches of sunflowers, joke books, whoopee cushions, amusing horse-shaped cigarette dispensers. They’ll hate them, but it might lighten those auras from black to at least mucky grey for about two minutes. They’d probably have preferred the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe or Bauhaus’ Greatest Hits, but they already sold their grandmothers and bought those last week.
Ideal game: Star Children – Velvet Generation. They can live out those Bowie fantasies, preferably as far away from my field as possible.
Grans are wonderful people with a gentle lavender aura who appreciate the smallest gift if given with good intent. The more malicious and / or penny-pinching amongst you (or maybe girl gamers alert to the latest trends) could consider knitting a gran a jumper for Christmas. In my experience, shortbread, choccies, house plants or a mega crossword puzzle book go down well. More life-and-soul- of-the-party grans would appreciate a bottle of gin. Don’t forget that gran is a personality type. That gorgeous goth guy on the number 63 bus could be a gran deep down inside. Girlfriend, knit him a Dr Who style scarf and see what happens.
Ideal game: Buttercup recommends Secret Lives of the Gingerbread Men. Suggest you have plenty of Yorkshire Tea to hand whilst playing.
Oh Goddess, here we go. Combat Wombats are hugely over-represented amongst gamers. Historical re-enactors are almost exclusively CWs and all CWs share a distinctive khaki aura. Don’t believe for one second that they are reincarnated warriors. No enlightened soul would go through that again. They are more likely to have been put upon in a previous life – maybe servants in Victorian houses (cleaning up after consumptive future spirit guides, I daresay), refuse collectors or just plain timid. Indulge them with sets of miniatures or books on military history. Alternatively, give a teddy in combats from one of those make your own bear places. Come bed time, CW and his new furry friend will be snuggled up under the duvet dreaming of victories to come. By the way, not all Combat Wombats are men. Women CWs are in the minority, but unlikely to appreciate good perfume or jewellery. So save your money.
Ideal game: Anything spikey. Buttercup is a bit of a CW on the side and recommends Game of Thrones because if they if get bored playing it they can always beat the living daylights out of each other with the 500 page rulebook.
Zed has ceased communication for today, so, from one byre to another, enjoy your shopping and have a very merry Christmas, Yule, or whatever you celebrate.
Moo for now.