[SCA-AE] Largesse stuff
tessathehuntress at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 19 08:36:10 EST 2007
Just FYI, A good number of us, previous and current royalty in different
kingdoms, have tried for a number of years to change the traditions on the
gift baskets. However, that is "very" hard to do. Example, last Gulf Wars
we discussed only exchanging gifts with our "hosts" and it looked like
everything was set. Then at the last minute (two weeks before the event),
two different kingdoms got really upset that we weren't exchanging gifts,
because they had people working on them for the past 6 months. So, despite
not having a "state dinner", we all had to exchange presents. Trying to come
up with gifts in two weeks (as I and many other royalty had to for that war)
is not fun at all. I didn't put out a request to the kingdom for it,
because it was so short notice.
I've been trying now for two years to get other royalty to agree/start doing
an idea I had.. For the major inter-kingdom wars, how about just exchanging
gifts with the "host" kingdoms. Pennsic that would be us, Middle and east.
Gulf war (those 4 primary/host kingdoms) and Estrella (4 host kingdoms).
That gives a larger burden to those host kingdoms, but that's just one event
a year (once for every 2 reigns).
What makes this hard, is our reigns start at different times, with several
kingdoms having different length of reigns. So, before you can discuss with
everyone changing everything, you have to wait and see who will be on the
throne at x event.. and some only have 1 to 3 months as prince and princess.
Trying to arrange this, with everything else that is going on, doing your
docket, making plans for each event, etc is much harder then it sounds. But
I still tried to do it for each reign. No success either time, because
there are always some royalty who "really"
enjoy giving the gift baskets. It is very nice, being able to show off the
skill of our people, but trying to start a different tradition is hard.. but
a good number of us are working on it.
It's harder, IMO.. since some kingdoms are larger with a long history of
giving gift baskets, so their kingdoms are used to doing it and
working/collecting items for the gift baskets.
Our Majesties may be different, but what I did at other wars/events when our
Royalty would visit us or vice versa.. was give something nice, like a
bottle of mead (with a label of ingredients) vs. a basket of stuff. I
didn't see a need for a full basket. last War Practice when we hosted the
royalty of the East, Atlantia and the Middle in our camp, lady Nivah
contacted us ahead of time and said she had made gift baskets for them. The
winter reign normally doesn't see other royalty often, unless they go to
Estrella or Gulf Wars. The summer reign more often, but it's still not
every weekend, perhaps once a month and usually it's just one to 3 sets of
visiting royalty.. not 19.
Different things can be done. Many of us are trying to make certain the
gift baskets don't get larger, although there are always some royalty who do
and will try their best to out do everyone else. My goal was always to be
able to show some of the skill/talent of our people, without being
embarrassed by not having anything good to give in the baskets. BTW, my
idea of good has nothing to do with cost or time involved, I tend to prefer
gifts that can be used.. like the little needle cases that Sunderoak made
last year, etc.
Part of the problem, IMO.. is that the Society has changed. There are more
large inter-kingdom events now then there was 15 years ago.. and more now
then 10 years ago. The fact is that Pennsic is the largest event.. but Gulf
Wars and Estrella are two other major events, that it is an excellent idea
for our royalty to attend, since that is where alliances and pre-war
discussions are held. Those are the major events for those areas and just
as gift baskets are a given at Pennsic.. it is at those wars as well,
although the baskets tend to be bags and a bit smaller.
Traditionally (in my experience at least), it's normally expected that the
royalty will exchange presents at each of the inter-kingdom events. If the
king/Queen go.. their responsibility, if only the prince or princess goes,
then they are expected to bring gifts. Sometimes prince/princesses exchange
gifts (which I wish didn't happen), but usually it's just a token gift, like
one to three items. Half the time, in my experience, it wasn't clear
whether the Highness' were expected to exchange gifts and there were always
some who didn't realize it and you could see them going thru the merchant
area buying things for the gift baskets, because they didn't bring anything.
I would love to see the newer tradition of Highness' exchanging gifts go
away, since it seems to be an unecessary burden.. but really that comes down
to the host kingdoms letting the visiting royalty know that there will be no
gift exchange happening for the Highness. That takes some bravery on the
part of the royalty who do it, with the agreement of the other host
Honestly, I don't ever see gift baskets at Pennsic going away. However, it
is very hard for those, especially Drachenwald and Lochac since they travel
so far to bring anything or take stuff back. I know we had stuff shipped
both years, for other royalty to us and brought it up to pennsic for them,
because they were flying and had no room. It just really makes sense to me,
that the host kingdoms should gift all of the visiting royalty.. and the
visting ones should gift the hosts. But it will take time, if others agree
to make that change.
It is a horrible feeling to get a bag of some really nice hand-crafted items
and have nothing to give back in exchange. I know we were caught unexpected
during our first reign, since we didn't expect the royalty of the Middle to
give us a full basket everytime they saw us. Which is why it is "very" nice
to have some brewed/made items like mead or beer, since IMO they work great
in situations like this. BTW, I saw a couple (like 3) reigns, that had x..
beer/mead made in "honor" of the sitting royalty.. and they had bottles of
it at each major war. That's an excellent idea, IMO, as long as an
ingredient list is listed.. and perhaps is an idea for our brewing guilds..
perhaps they could work on a batch for the major wars or even just pennsic
I don't know if that helps. I do think there are some adjustments that can
happen to make the gift baskets less of an issue, but I don't ever see it
going away entirely. Afterall, largesse is very period and it's
understandable that our royalty (across the knowne world) take pride in
their kingdoms and want to show off the skill and talents of their people.
I think having a largesse coordinator for our kingdom (many others have had
one for years) is a great idea and that way people can donate items when the
time is good for them, instead of trying to do something last minute. I
think (as we tried to make clear as well), if people realize they don't need
to make 19 of one item (unless it's a batch, where it isn't much harder to
do 5 vs. 19) that really helps. One nice pouch is nice. Scrolls are always
"very" appreciated, as were the scroll case holders.
One idea that Mistress Margaret had, perhaps along with some others.. it
would be really nice (at least IMO) to have a website, where pictures of
some of the ideas for largesse could be posted. It would help give people
some ideas of what could be made, as well as giving more people here, a
chance to appreciate the work. :) One of the nicer and useful items we
rec'd was a handmade box, with a quill and ink for signing scrolls.
Something I wanted to mention. Gift bags, although a bit of stress (at
least to me, when a month before the event and we only had a few items) can
also be really useful things as well. IMO, some items are personalized for
the royalty.. the rest are often given by the royalty to those who helped
during the reign. Most of the royalty that I know did this. So, in way
that is a good thing, since it also results in nice items, so the royalty
can thank some of the people who worked hard during their reign.
Nothing is wasted and the hard work is appreciated. The one complaint I
have about gift baskets is too often the person making/gifting the item
doesn't put their name on it. Some kingdoms have a card/tag attached to
each item, sometimes with the name and address of the person or group who
made the item. Sometimes, if it was something edible/drinkable or
soap/lotion/etc, it had an ingredient list. I loved the ones that listed the
name and contact information. An ingredient list is a "very" good thing,
especially when people have allergeries. :)
It was also very interesting to see some of the different crafts done in
other kingdoms. :)
I almost forgot. I don't know about previous Pennsics.. but I know last
year and the previous one, when we were on the throne that we had royalty
from every kingdom. Often there are some who miss opening ceremonies and
sometimes it's only the King or Queen. It's impressive when you think of
how far some of them travel to make it. One of the nice things about having
a largesse coordinator.. if one of the kingdoms doesn't make it.. kingdom
specific items (done with their arms or colors) can be saved for the next
time.. and general items can go back into the largesse collection for the
I'm thrilled that Lady Renata has stepped forward to take on this task. It
sounds like she made an excellent start, with the help of many people.
That's really the key, afterall.. if most of us were to give just one or two
items we would have enough largesse to easily last for a couple of years.
When it's normally far fewer giving, it's more work. We have some people
(from my experience) who donate something for every Pennsic gift basket,
which must start to get old after a while.. but it's very appreciated. :)
That's my long-winded .02 on this subject. I need to get to work, so please
forgive any typos.
I also wonder if this has gotten a little out of hand. Our royalty
work hard and deserve the support of the populace (and our current
Monarchs are personal friends of mine whom I greatly respect, so this is
particularly *not* a slam on Them!), but do they need to be giving each
other gifts (which affect their respective populaces not at all) at every
event where they run into each other?
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