Is the writer in your life difficult to shop for?
I’m not surprised. We're often a surly bunch, hunched at our computers, frowning at a blank screen, waiting for the perfect words to form.
What we writers would really like to receive—a brain full of million-dollar ideas and an extra twenty hours a week in which to write—is unfortunately not gift-able. There are gifts, however, guaranteed to make a writer smile anyway. Here are a dozen ideas for holiday gifts that will please the writer in your life, in no particular order:
- Let’s start with the obvious. Does your writer have a personalized pen? If not, it’s high time he/she did. They come in a full range of designs from casual to formal to flashy, and they’re priced to suit every budget. Having his/her name engraved is key!
- A writer can never have too many journals or notebooks in which to jot down bright ideas, agent recommendations, research notes or on-the-go poetry. These needn’t be expensive; nice ones have been found at craft and dollar stores. Journal-sized books (think 6” x 9”) that can fit into a purse or messenger bag would work best. There are specialty kinds to help generate writing ideas, too! I keep a collection of blank journals on a bookshelf and grab one whenever I’m off to another writers’ conference.
- Writing books are another great gift. Stephen King, Francine Prose, Ann LaMott have written them; perhaps your writer’s favorite author has published one. If you’re shopping for a genre writer (e.g. historical, crime, romance, mystery), there’s a book for that as well. If your writer is just starting out, a handbook by Diane Hacker will help them tackle the exceptional grammar and punctuation skills needed for professional success. Not sure what book to buy? Let them pick with an Amazon gift card.
- For a screenwriter or a writer whose favorite book has been recently made into a film, a movie theater gift card (e.g. AMC, Regal) is timely and perfect. (Just make sure the card can be used at a local theater before buying it!)
- For the practical writer, an office supply store gift card (e.g. Staples, OfficeMax) is useful. Paper, ink, envelopes and other tools of the trade will be needed, so the risk of re-gifting is slim to none.
- A writing poster serves dual purposes, decorating the writer’s space and providing motivation. These can be framed to impress the recipient even further.
- Novelty office items, such as this Hemingway Pencil Holder (shaped like an old-fashioned typewriter), will thrill a writer as well.
- Does your writer have business cards listing their contact, social media and website information? There are many inexpensive online printing companies that can provide them in time for the holidays.
- If your writer is caffeine-dependent, as so many writers are (Guilty!), why not gift him/her a Writer’s Mug with a pound of his/her favorite coffee or a box of tea? Some mugs are witty, some joke, and others celebrate favorite books. Pick one that you know will make your writer smile.
- Ernest Hemingway is credited with having said “Write drunk; edit sober.” What writer doesn’t love a bottle of his/her favorite sophisticated adult beverage? When in doubt, a good bottle of wine coupled with a writerly wine knick-knack will suffice. If your writer has a good sense of humor about the struggle, a bottle of Writers Tears Irish Whiskey packaged with some attractive tumblers will be well appreciated.
- Writing gloves and scarves are an unusual fashion statement. I have and proudly wear my Wuthering Heights writing gloves in January, which are fingerless and fabulous for keeping cold hands warm.
- Writing jewelry also makes a statement. Lockets or necklaces, such as Victorian Trading Company's lovely “Once Upon a Time” book pendant, are a lovely choice. Writer's bracelets are another. Jewelry that is customized with charms bearing the titles of individual published stories that maybe added to as time goes on are sure to thrill the receiving writer as well.
- If you’re looking to score extra points, why not put one or more of the above items in a writer’s tote bag instead of a gift bag? These come in a variety of styles and will be reused by your writer for years to come.
Have I missed anything? If you have better ideas, let me know in the comments below.
Have happy holidays!
"Bundle Gift" image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net