It’s that time of year again. When we sit up in the morning, look at our phones and go, “Wait, it’s December? But it can’t be! It was only Easter the other month!” And then wonder if anyone would notice if we just vanished until January 5th.
I mean, I know we’re not all like that. I personally know two people who shop throughout the year for Christmas presents. They see cool things and rather than just thinking, “oh, so-and-so would like that”, they buy it then and there and put it away until needed, without even keeping it for themselves. Which is just so organised and sensible, and every year I swear I’m going to do the same, but every year it gets to mid-December and I realise that not only have I not bought any presents, I haven’t even sent out any Christmas cards, and while the tree might be up, it’s still somehow faded enough into the background that it’s entirely failed to remind me that there should be things underneath it. Bad tree.
And, of course, there are people who actually enjoy Christmas shopping. In December. With the crowds and the Christmas music and the rashes of tinsel and fake snow and vaguely unsettling Santa dolls and … hang on. I need to go and lie down in a darkened room for a moment.
I will admit to enjoying Christmas markets, when the days are cold and thin, and everyone’s bulked out by winter coats and crowned with woolly hats. Sipping hot chocolate and wandering past stalls full of nougat and mince pies and hand-turned wood art is lovely, at least until my fingers start losing their feeling, someone bumps into me and I spill hot chocolate all over my jacket, and the speakers start playing that Mariah Carey song. But, you know. Other than that, it’s fun.
However, my best Christmas shopping tends to be done online, where I can save what catches my eye, think about it for a bit, then go back and buy it if I still think it’s a good idea a couple of days later, rather than in the midst of a mince pie-fuelled panic. I try to buy off Etsy or similar if I can, where I’m hopefully supporting smaller businesses and artists rather than big companies, and if I can find someone local I’ll go with that over others. It’s not perfect, and at the moment postage and delivery times are so questionable that it’s a bit of a lottery as to when things might arrive, but I work on the theory that a late Christmas present just means a lovely surprise in January, when things are all a bit dull and boring.
Look, it’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.
So, in no particular order – what can you get your book loving and/or writery friends and loved ones for Christmas this year? Read on for my handy and non-exhaustive guide! (Disclaimer – I don’t know if all of these will deliver to your location, or what the shipping will be if they do. But they might still be useful starting points for ideas!)
Note: Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I get a teeny commission if you buy something. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, though. 🙂
A Completely Non-exhaustive Gift Guide for Book Lovers:
Book subscription boxes. I’m always fascinated by these – they seem like such a fun idea and a good way to try out new authors. You can find all sorts – classics, thrillers, book-and-candle, book-and-beverage, even secondhand bundles. CrateJoy has a whole range to choose from, and you can filter them by which countries they deliver to. You could also do a hunt on t’interwebs for subscription boxes in your country and see what comes up.
Mystery book boxes. Following on from your subscription boxes (which you can buy as just one month or for more), you could also go for a bit of a blind date in a box. Saves the embarrassment of picking a book your reader has already read (you won’t know what the mystery book is either, so it’s not your fault – genius!), plus who doesn’t want to receive a package from a Secret Book Society?
Go classic with a bookmark. Great for a little gift to tuck inside a card, and I challenge anyone to think that bookmarks are boring these days. Check out these squished crochet animals (the frog’s adorable!) or go with some witches legs.
Literary tea (and coffee). Look, I know I’m biased, being a tea-drinker, but I also couldn’t find any decent bookish coffee gifts – lots of mugs, but no literary blends. So you might have to get inventive here, if your bookish loved one already has all the mugs (not actually possible, we always need more fun mugs) and prefers coffee to tea.
You can find lots of different coffee with a quick search on Etsy, but I’d try picking some up from a local coffee roaster if you’re sending the gift yourself, or see if somewhere local to your booklover will deliver (I did this for my mum’s birthday, but somehow although I ordered the coffee from a shop just down the road from her, it was sent from the other side of Australia? So this isn’t foolproof …). For literary tea, you’re spoiled for choice on Etsy – go for quotable tea bags (above) or some lovely loose leaf blends.
Just want a few fun things? Accuse them of lacking personal hygiene due to all the reading and writing they’re doing with these fun soaps.
Or let them wear their emotions on their sleeve/hat/bag with a pin.
Or give them their favourite books in their ears! (This I really love – or would if I ever changed my earrings. You just send them the cover image or a link to the book you like, and they’ll make the earrings up for you. So cool!)
Is your reader an ebook-lover? No problems. Get them a very cool case for their e-reader (look at that Grimoire! I love it!)
You can also get a pillow for your kindle, which … I guess it needs? Not sure about that one, but I like the flamingoes.
And of course a pouch is always nice if your reader prefers not to have a case (this one glows in the dark, which would be fun for
me younger readers).
And since we’re on to pouches – these are a fantastic homemade gift if you have the time, inclination, and ability. The whole festive season drives us to spend and buy and stack up those shopping bags, and too often we buy something just for the sake of having a gift to hand over, whether it’s needed or not. Making gifts can be a fantastic way to step outside all that, and in my mind it really is an act of love. It’s not just what you’re giving, but the thought and effort that went into it. Plus, no risk of accidentally regifting those lovely novelty socks back to the person who gave you them to you in the first place …
I love making homemade things as gifts, but as I don’t trust myself to sew a button on, let alone get a hem straight, I tend to stick to things I can cook. Rose’s Rom Truffles are fantastic to make ahead then store in the freezer until you want to pop them in a nice jar and give them away. You could also do a non-marzipan fruitcake (okay, you can put marzipan on it if you like, but, ew), which’ll keep nicely for up to a week, but can also be frozen. Just, you know, defrost it before you give it to anyone. Christmas chutneys are easy, delightful, and look beautiful in a nice jar (there are some good recipes here), and for more last minute additions to a food hamper you could do some Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies or Rose’s Shortbread.
And if you’re rather craftier than I am (not hard), there’s a whole list here of DIY gifts you can make, from bookmarks to pouches to those pillows again (I guess e-readers get tired and need to lie down?). There’s also a fun list here of other things you can make – from designing your own cookbook to recording your own audio story.
But, back to the list – everyone knows real writers drink heavily. In my case, tea. In other cases, they many need this book (see photo a little further down the page). And with all that drinking going on, you might need some literary coasters to keep things tidy.
And maybe some wine charms so everyone can keep track of their drinks. Especially these days, no one wants to be sharing glasses.
And just in case things get a bit whiffy, what with all that drinking, how about some bookish perfumes to keep it civilised?
Of course, you may want to direct your writer away from the bottle and toward solid food, so you could try this book instead, or if your reader’s tastes lean more toward the poetic, this one would be lovely too.
Phew. Okay. I think you should now be armed with some decent options for the booklover in your life, but no list would be complete without mugs and bookish totes. And there are many, many examples of both out there, so I don’t need to tell you how to find them. Except for these ones.
Was that a smooth plug for my merchandise or what? 😉 I mean, yes, I know it wasn’t, but still. If your reader loves snarky cats and tea-drinking dragons, you would do worse than a Beaufort mug and a Gobbelino tote, or any combo of the above … Or a Christmas book, of course …
Over to you, lovely people. Are you an advance shopper or a last minute one? Have any of those caught your eye? What fun bookish gifts have you come across in recent years? Let me know below!
And until next time – remember it’s just one day, lovely people. The gifts don’t have to be perfect. The meal doesn’t have to be instagram-worthy. Whether you choose to celebrate or not, it’s just one day. You’ve got this. Breathe.