For the 2 billion people that celebrate Christmas, it is a time of peace and calm, sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and waiting for their presents . . . or is it? Indeed, for many, Christmas brings with it the headache of getting the right present for your loved ones. And what to do when your loved one is a vexillophile? You don’t even know what a vexillophile is? No worries, we’re here to help! A vexillophile is a flag-lover and here are ten present ideas which are sure to be a hit with your flag-enamoured family members. Just make sure to check that the gift recipient doesn’t already have the item you choose to give them!
1. A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols
This book has been very popular with flag fans since it was first published in 2016. The hot vexi-bestseller of the season, it runs through the vexillological history of several countries and regions, showing the reader just how powerful flags are as symbols! I could go into more detail here, but we already have a full review of the book on our site, with a seal of approval from the author himself! Click here to read it!
2. Flags Through the Ages and Across the World
Flags Through the Ages and Across the World is an item that we definitely must include on this list. Written by Whitney Smith, the father of vexillology himself, this book is the vexillologist’s Bible. Though many flag encyclopedias exist, within this book’s colourful and iconic cover lies what has been described as “the most complete source in existence for the official flags and coats of arms, as well as their symbols, of the world’s 157 nations and their subdivisions and dependencies”. Whitney Smith explains the development and use of flags and related symbols through the centuries to the modern day in a style accessible to both young and old, accompanied by thousands of illustrations. Two things to keep in mind though, this book was published in 1975. This means that some of the information will be out of date and it may not be the cheapest item on your Christmas list. Copies in perfect state can go for as much as 60 US dollars but if you’re satisfied with a used copy, the price will be significantly lower. Nevertheless, this is a book any good vexillologist’s bookshelf should contain and it is worth every penny and cent invested into it.
The book is available on Amazon HERE.
3. Flag storage
Now if you are buying gifts for a long-time flag lover, they are likely going to own a lot of flags already! The thing about flags is that when you build up a collection, they can take up a fair amount of space. So storage is important!
A large plastic storage box is a great place to start, as it gives you one specific place to put all of your flags so they cannot be misplaced! Unless your flags are stored in a dark room, make sure to choose opaque boxes to minimise direct sunlight bleaching the textile. If you own any more valuable flags, it may be worth investing in some large ziplock bags to ensure that no deterioration can occur with the fabric. And if you are really serious about this, it is could be worth looking into acid-free archival boxes and acid-free paper to wrap the flags in. Some boxes and bags may contain acids which, in the long term, can damage valuable flags. And finally make sure to prevent the scourge of every historical flag-lover, the moth and other infestation-causing creepy-crawlies! Mothballs and other replants are available and cedar wood boxes for your most precious items can help avoid an infestation. In general, keep your flags in a dark, cool and dry environment. Many of us have some very expensive flags, and it is important that these are looked after correctly.
If your friend/relative has an impressive collection, they may even need a shelf or cabinet for all of their boxes full of flags! And if they are not a fan of creasing their flags, maybe pick them up some hangers or an engineer’s filing cabinet with wide, shallow, flat drawers.
4. The Flag - Fáninn
The Flag, or “Fáninn” in Icelandic, is a small book detailing the history of the Icelandic flag and coat of arms, including various failed proposals. While this item may seem very specific as opposed to the other, more generic ideas on this list, in our experience, it is one of the best English-language books about a foreign national flag that is available on the market. Sure you can get plenty in the language related to the nation whose flag is being discussed, but few available in English go to such depths and quality as The Flag, all in a small, stylish booklet form. It is worth noting the book is actually bilingual, containing both Icelandic text and good English translation. So bring a little more “Ice” into your Christmas with The Flag, a book sure to many any flag-lover happy.
Available in many Icelandic e-shops such as HERE.
5. Subscription to local vexi association
Some gifts aren’t just for Christmas! A subscription to a Vexillological Association usually means that you receive a physical magazine with the latest flag news from the region and gain access to flag publications from around the world to which the association is subscribed. Many also offer the opportunity to attend conferences and events held by the association, where you can meet fellow flag lovers and become a part of the vexillological discussion!
Check out FIAV’s list of all the international associations to find your local society!.
6. Good Flag Bad Flag
One of the issues we often write about here are new and redesigned American flags. And more often than not this book is to thank for their improvements. Good Flag, Bad Flag, published by the North American Vexillological Association, is a wonderful introductory source to the world of flag design. The five time-tested rules of flag design mentioned inside are essential for budding vexillographers seeking to improve their skills. And while this booklet is infact provided for free in PDF form by NAVA here, buying a physical copy not only makes a great addition to a vexillological library but also helps support American vexillology and NAVA as a whole.
The book is available on Amazon HERE.
7. Flag display options
If your Christmas gift recipient has a large flag collection, they will of course want to display them somehow. To fly them outside we can offer you several suggestions.
If your residence has a garden, the ideal option is to have a full flag pole installed. This usually involves anchoring it in the ground with a screw base and may even require pouring some concrete for extra strength. It’s also worth mentioning that some countries or cities may require prior consent from either the city council or your neighbours before permitting you to erect your flagpole. Make sure to check with your local authorities!
Alternatively various mini-flag stands are available to display your flags. These are generally around 2 meters (6.5 ft) high and come with a weighted base to prevent them from tipping over. Or you could consider a wall-mounted fixture, allowing you to display them diagonally from the facade of your house.
Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with your local flag codes before you start displaying any flags outside!
Finally, for those who prefer more compact collections of table flags, consider buying a set of bases to display them. Here Amazon has your back once again, offering everything from round bases which can hold from 2 to 5 flags at once to sets of many single-flag bases. Or why not display 21 table flags with a single base?
8. The World Encyclopedia of Flags and Heraldry
A concise publication on two closely related fields, the World Encyclopedia of Flags and Heraldry is a great introductory overview for young and old. Explore the history of flags and coats of arms up to the modern era including their contemporary uses. The book also contains a definitive list of national and some subnational flags and heraldry. Flags and Heraldry has been described as “highly accessible” and can be a great replacement for Whitney Smith’s Flags Through the Ages and Across the World, should it prove too hard to acquire or too expensive. Though a few years old, this book is also the more up-to-date of the two.
The book is available on Amazon HERE.
9. Flags of The World
This game may not appeal to the hardcore flag fans… however it is a great tool to help improve your knowledge of national flags! Based on cards, Flags of the World is designed to teach you the flags, capital cities and facts about all of the countries of the world. If you feel like you already know this, maybe you want to be able to share your enthusiasm and get your friends and family involved in your interest! This game also makes a wonderful introductory item to the world of vexillology for your children. Spread the vexi-love to a new generation with this fun game!
The game is available on Amazon HERE.
Now, you may wonder what on earth an iron is doing in a list of gift ideas for flag lovers. Well, if you have ever owned a flag that you have had folded up for a while, you will know just how very creased they get! And nobody wants to fly a wrinkled flag!! So please, as a gift to both the recipient and to all flag lover worldwide . . . iron your flags before flying them.
A word of precaution however, make sure your iron is on a low heat before you begin to use it on your flag. Many of you reading this will likely own polyester flags, and if your iron is too hot, it could damage the fabric! We also suggest laying a cloth over the flag before you begin ironing to eliminate direct contact between the flag and the iron.
There is an iron available on Amazon HERE.
So those were ten ideas for Christmas gifts which are sure to be a hit with most flag lovers. If you want to get these gifts, hurry and order now so they can arrive before Christmas! Please let us know if you were inspired by our list and how the gifts were received! Or do you have ideas we missed? Comment under this post or on our social media.