Every year, I gift at least one person an astrology-themed item. You can get them anything from a candle with scent notes specifically selected for a Virgo to a book with adorable artwork and fun facts about a Sagittarius. There are even socks for four different astrology signs that are still sitting in my closet, waiting to be gifted to friends (look, I’m great at shopping, and not so great at going to the post office).
Astrology gifts should get a little more credit. Tracking the movements of the sun and stars is part of a long and respected scientific tradition. It was invented by the Babylonians, and Ancient Greeks and Romans like Ptolemy and Plato all practiced it (check out the astrology text Astronomica for details). If the Romans were astrology fans, then why can’t I gift all my Roman Empire–loving friends astrology sweatshirts?!
But astrology doesn’t have to be about checking your horoscope or trying to predict the future. Rather, I use astrology to reflect (and make memes about my friends’ personalities). When I give someone an astrology-themed gift, I’m not trying to tell them they should embody all the qualities of a Scorpio. Instead, the real beauty is recognizing there was a moment in time when your loved one came into the world and got on the path that led them into your life. Astrology-themed gifts say, “Hey, I love you, and we’re on this bizarre plane of existence together.”
You have to know someone pretty well to ask them where and when they were born. Obviously, an astrologer is going to ask you in order to generate a birth chart, and we’ve all met random astrology fans who make it a point to ask right after meeting you. But I love learning a new fact about a new real-friend or loved one. Sometimes they don’t know it themselves and I have to ask them to text their mom (which most of my friends had to do). I have a note in my phone with my close friends’ birth locations and times so I never forget. It’s rude to forget it after they spent time finding such personal information for me.
For most astrology items, of course, you only need one piece of information: the exact month and date they were born. That’s how you find out a sun sign, which is supposed to symbolize your basic identity. Part of why it’s a popular baseline for astrology is because it’s so easy to know—just about everyone knows their birthday off the top of their head. The sun moves pretty consistently around the 22nd of each month, making it easy to remember which sign you are.
When you hear someone say, “I’m such a Libra,” they’re probably referencing their sun sign. Most gifts I get for friends are for their sun sign. Sure, I could get my best friend a gift for her moon sign in Scorpio, but she’d usually be much happier to get the Virgo one—usually, I say, because scented astrology-themed items open up more preferences than just a book or sweatshirt.
What Does My Sign Smell Like?
There are many ways to interpret each astrology sign. That flexibility lends to its popularity and an ease in finding yourself within the definitions. But that also means you might not agree with someone’s interpretation, and when you dive into scent-based astrology gifts, the nuances and preferences become much clearer.
The scent palettes from Zodiac Perfumery, a celestial-inspired fragrance shop, has a scent for each of the twelve signs. The perfumery’s method was to choose a similar ingredient for each of the four elements that connect the signs—such as “containing vanilla to provide warmth” for fire signs like Aries and Leo, and “including citrus to feel light” for air signs like Gemini and Aquarius—and build on those scent profiles to customize it for each sign. I tried out all of the items in the fragrance sampler. While I enjoyed the floral scent of Libra, my sun sign, my favorite ended up being the apple and sandalwood combination of my moon sign’s scent, Virgo.
This is where knowing someone’s entire birth chart comes in handy. If you know your friend loves a vanilla-based scent and has a couple fire signs in their chart, then you have a little more flexibility as to which one you can pick. You can review the options with their entire chart in mind versus just choosing the simple sun sign.
The Birthdate Candles are a less flexible gift, but that hasn’t stopped me from gifting them to every one of my friends I’ve ever seen use a candle. The brand has a custom scent for every day of the year, so you can plug in your loved one’s birthday and get a candle designed for their day. The label around the candle also includes numerology and a tarot card for the day of their birth, making it a fun read to see all the information about the day you came into the world.
The only downside is not knowing whether they’ll like the scent. For my birthday, the scent is hydrangea, peony, and jasmine. It’s a very mild, floral scent that I usually wouldn’t choose, but I still loved lighting it. The scent was floral without being cloying, and was nice to burn year-round.
Looking for ideas without a scent? Here’s what I love to give.
Books are my favorite astrology gift; they’re a way teach someone to fish, if you will. You can learn to read your own birth chart, or quickly access info about all the signs and various terms used for the zodiac and astrology. The Seeing Stars line of books are all themed around the 12 different sun signs. Another book that I love is Star Power, which is surprisingly dense, considering its small size. I expected more of a coffee table book than the true guidebook it manages to be.
If you’re worried the person you’re shopping for might already have these books, preorder them a new one. Alice Bell, the resident astrologer for British Vogue, has a new book called Trust Your Timing, available for preorder for her January 2024 release.
Gifting for someone who’s more of a writer than a reader? Papier’s astrology journals and planners are absolutely beautiful, with a fantastic quality to the pages and design. They’re almost too beautiful to write in (though that certainly didn’t stop me). Papier makes astrology designs for each sun sign for their 2024 planners and wellness journals.
You know what everyone loves? A caffeinated drink of some kind. Therefore, everyone must love a fun vessel for their caffeine, right? Glad we all agree. I love these gorgeous, funky mugs from the Etsy shop Astral Weekend so much that I have two of them. They’re the perfect size for an extra large cup of tea, fit nicely in hands that are both big and small, and have survived years of cups of tea without any permanent stains.
Look, your horoscope might not always be correct. The patterns and predictions of the universe are beyond me. But for me, the astrology gifts I give are about looking back at how the planets were aligned when my favorite people came into the world. First they weren’t here, and then they were! It’s a moment I’ll always be grateful for.