There’s no shortage of gifts you can give to foxhunters this holiday season. Whether they like books or art; need new kit or something warm to drink in the field; even if they’d prefer you make a donation to a good cause, here are some of our favorite ideas.
If bad weather stops you hunting this winter, what better way to pass the time than in the company of some classic hunting literature? Top of the list must be Siegfried Sassoon’s wonderful ‘Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man’. Others include everything from Surtees and Somerville & Ross to Rita Mae Brown and old copies of Baily’s Sporting Magazine, not forgetting the excellent selection available from the MFHA at www.mfha.org.
The Art Lover
One thing seems true of all foxhunters: they decorate their houses and themselves with hunting-themed art and jewelry. Beautiful old prints of hunting scenes can be picked up relatively cheaply at antique stalls and on the internet. There are many fine sculptors, photographers, and artists specializing in hounds and hunting, and many galleries across the nation that do the same. Or, for something - or someone – really special, why not see if a local artist has painted your hunt or hounds, or commission a portrait of them for the foxhunter in your life?
Kit & Caboodle
With two months of the formal season gone, Christmas is the ideal time to replace worn or broken kit. A trailer service might not be the most romantic of gifts, but it could be one of the most appreciated. Even if nothing needs replacing, a new stock-tie or decorative stock-pin, a beautiful leather sandwich case, or an antique hunt whip with some history behind it, can lend style and character to your turn-out.
The Christmas Spirit
Foxhunters are sociable folk who like to enjoy a drink in each others’ company after (and alsosometimes before and during) the chase. Who can resist such fine fare as Berry Bros and Rudd’s world-famous ‘The King’s Ginger Liqueur’; an old bottle of vintage port; or the ingredients of any number of other famous winter warmers, such as Whisky Mac (Stone’s Ginger Wine and Scotch) to fill their hunting flask?
A Worthy Cause
It might not be the most exciting gift to unwrap on Christmas morning, but hunt staff everywhere depend on their Christmas boxes to make up for often meager wages. Donations can be given directly (but speak to your hunt’s Master first), or via the MFHA’s Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation, which helps huntsman in times of need. And while you’re in the festive mood, why not consider a donation to your local land conservation charity?