Last Christmas, it was fun to put together a list of Christmas gifts for writers. Let’s do it again! Stop back to the last gift list because those are still excellent ideas. Then, take these ideas and add them to your Santa list. You’re welcome.
My favorite pens: Pilot G2 Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens
No matter how digital we are, every writer still needs a good pen. It’s far more fun to get them in a variety of colors, too. I like to dump a whole slew of these in my purse with my current dot journal as well. I certainly don’t have “Pinterest worthy” pages with perfectly crafted titles and pretty little adornments, but having more than one color looks a bit more pleasing. There’s a reason why these pens are so loved. They’re comfortable to hold, flow smoothly, and last a long time.
At times, I grab these through Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program because I always need more pens. That’s a given.
They also have these available at Costco (most of the time when I look), so feel free to toss one in your cart the next time you’re picking up a giant slab of meat, massive amounts of oatmeal, cartons of milk, and some green bananas.
The ca-hoolest pencil cup: Hemingway Pencil Cup
Yes, this one was on my list last year, but I included it again because it’s seriously one of the coolest things I own. Since I haven’t found an affordable antique typewriter of my own, I at least have this one sitting proudly on the bookshelf in my bedroom filled with (not surprisingly) colorful Pilot G2 pens.
Now that I’ve owned it for many months, I can tell you all about it. It’s well made of a “faux stone composite” which means it’s sturdy and doesn’t get busted when my six-year old grabs for it off the shelf and it goes flying. The bottom of it is soft so it’s not scratching up my high-quality Ikea shelves. It will look amazing wherever you put it, whether on a bookshelf, your desk, or even next to an actual, real typewriter if you’re lucky enough to have one.
Last, it’ll make you smile. I know this from experience.
For sending real, tangible mail: Watercolor Thank You Cards
Sometimes, it’s nice to get something in the mail besides junk or bills. I always have thank you cards on hand, but I’m not always good at sending them. Toss in some stamps and pens and you’ve got yourself a writer’s gift basket. How fabulous.
Guess where I often pick up some of my favorite, unique thank you cards? T.J. Maxx! This does, however, require that I actually step away from my computer, get up from my desk and drive somewhere. Right now, it’s 27 degrees and snowy outside. Those or the days I’m more apt to curl up with a hot cocoa and scroll through Amazon. Oh how I both love and hate thee, Amazon Prime!
Tangent: my favorite way to make hot cocoa is with the dark chocolate Starbucks mix, added to Toasted Coconut Almond Milk with a splash of coconut creamer. You’re welcome.
For marking up a book without marking it: Book Darts
My friend, Ashley, gave me a few of these once and I thought, “why has it taken more nearly 40 years to find these?” Absurd, people. But now that I have them, I heart them. When reading books, I often want to highlight a passage but if it’s an actual, real book instead of something on a tablet, I have to pull out a pen or highlighter and go at it. With these nifty little tabs, I only have to slide it over the page, pointing right at the words I’ve fallen for. Chances are, your writer friend might not know about these either and your gift could be life changing.
You can even use these in library books. Because what writer has the disposable income to purchase new books for all of their monthly book groups?
You’re so rad, book darts.
Bring a little outdoors inside (that you can’t kill): Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Buried in an office, slaving away at a computer to hit their word count for the day, some writers might not feel like they get out much. Instead, bring the outdoors inside for them with a really cool tree that won’t die. Because it’s not alive.
I kept buying REAL plants for the first four years we lived in our current home and I managed to kill off succulents and cacti. I think I’m a pretty good gardener, but those skills don’t translate to caring for plants WITHIN my home. I am recently converted to the joys of artificial plants. I have tender feelings towards the friendly, artificial tree sitting in the corner of my office.
It brings me joy.
Also, my cat doesn’t eat it or dig in its soil so add that to the list of “things that rock”.
New books to read
Every writer knows that reading is one of the best tools to improve their craft. Here are the books that I’ve recently added to my library hold request list.
Educated, by Tara Westover
I’m drawn towards memoirs so this is a genre I get excited about new, well-received books. Educated has been suggested to me by four different people in the last week alone. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.
Westover writes about her unlikely life, growing up in a Mormon survivalist household where she was home schooled in rural Idaho. Eventually, she “got out” and pursued some impressive education, even snagging herself a PhD from Cambridge University.
My husband works in education so I’m partial to a book that shows the power of it to change lives.
I like what Bill Gates had to say (Bill Gates, yo!): “Her ability to learn on her own blows mine right out of the water.”
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe
Have you heard of Headspace? It’s an app for meditation. I’ve used it off and on, but I haven’t been consistent. It is totally something I could do for only ten minutes a day and it would make an impact. This book is written by the cofounder of the app and this book is “entry level” meditation. If I’m going to start doing it, I need to start small. Isn’t ten minutes a day better than none minutes a day?
I’m pretty sure your writer friend would appreciate the thoughtfulness and usefulness of this book. Mindfulness helps to quiet your mind, cut down on stress, and even feel less tired.
Also, Andy was a Buddhist monk. I’d really like to meet and know a Buddhist monk in my real life one day. Wouldn’t just being around them make a positive impact on me? I’m sure it would.
If they really liked this book and happened to send you a thank you card for it, you could follow up with a birthday present and gift them a subscription to the app. It’s pretty cool.
Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
Yes! Scour through them and what once looked like junk or garbage can be pulled together and you get “black gold”! I am a fan of this idea.
This book is full of suggestions and advice on the writing craft. The biggest thing: sit down and do it!
I took a memoir writing class a number of years ago and each class we did the same exercise: rush writing. The idea is to start writing and not stop until the time is up. Don’t cross out rules. Don’t lift your hand. Don’t stop to figure out the best word or how to turn that phrase. Ditch your self-editor for a while and get stuff on paper.
Goldberg offers similar advice.
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
tion set in Moscow, but Megan’s and Ann’s praises are high praise in deed.
Why gift it to your writer friend? Because, from what I understand, the ending is incredibly satisfying. Writers are often looking for examples of both strong ways to start and the best ways to finish. Wrap this book up and put a note on it: “a superb example of giving the reader a satisfying ending.”
Also, the writing is beautiful.
Also, the author worked for 20 years as an investment professional before devoting himself to full-time writing.
Oh, and he graduated from Yale and then snagged himself an MA in English from Stanford.
With that, have a Merry Christmas and spend some time sitting near the tree, reading your favorite children’s holiday book. ‘Tis the season!
(If you’d like some more great ideas, check out Sandra Ebejer’s suggestions: Holiday Gift Ideas for Writers. I bought myself Scrivener this year. Yay!)