Be the most popular person at your holiday party by giving a book-related present. No, I'm not kidding.*
I know that I don’t have to tell you this, but the holiday season is upon us and if you’re like me, you’re also slammed with a number of Birthdays, too. One of my favorite presents to give (and receive) is a book or a book-related item. This is chiefly because books are magical and I would like for my presents to be magical, if at all possible.
Below you’ll see a list of perfect gifts for a book-lover that I’ve read about/been gifted/gifted.
For the Body (Be Forewarned—these gifts are every bit as sexy as this category name suggests.)
A Book Scarf like the one in the upper left. One of my BFFs, Mary Catherine Starr, purchased this scarf for my Birthday several years ago and it’s one of my very favorites. The colors are easy to pair with others and I love knowing that I’m wearing words from a fantastic piece of English literature around my neck. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the scarf, even if the person that I’m talking to doesn’t necessarily seem that excited about Pride and Prejudice. The seller offers other book scarf options, as well as gloves, pillows, etc.
One of the Shirts pictured above. Another way for a friend to wear his or her love of literature. These t-shirts also have excerpts from famous books on them, as well as an illustration which is related in some way to the content of the book. Anne (with an E) of Green Gables, anyone? Or how about a t-shirt with an excerpt written by the incredible Maya Angelou? I’ll take one of each!
For the House
A Literary-Inspired Candle: Makes the best kind of candle. Try the Jane Austen Library Tin Candle—another gift from the divine Mary Catherine Starr. This candle smells of gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine and burning it makes me feel like I’m extraordinarily witty and have a mother and two sisters who are trying to ruin my life. (I posted this blog entry and then realized that I'd forgotten about Mary. Oops.). Or, you could purchase the Old Book Smell Candle (pictured above). This candle has been listed on a few websites that I’ve perused. While I haven’t tried the candle, I have to say that I’m intrigued.
A Fabulous Set of Bookends: When my husband was courting me, he bought me a set of beautiful elephant bookends as part of an anniversary present. I still remember how wonderful it was to receive something so beautiful and so beautifully frivolous; they were something that I would have never splurged on at that particular moment of my life. Search on Etsy and you can find virtually any kind, from gorgeous geodes to mountains to whales.
A Print: I’m loving the simplicity and beauty of these prints (pictured above). Buy one for your friend and watch them be inspired!
A Book Ornament: This is a Harry Potter ornament on Etsy that I have my eyes on. It’s “Made with the pages of discarded and damaged books no longer suitable for resale.”
For the Book Collection
A Special Edition of a Favorite Book: If your sweetheart has a penchant for a particular book or author, consider purchasing a first edition. Remember when Chandler buys Joey’s gf The Velveteen Rabbit? That’s all the proof that I need that first editions make amazing gifts, but please gift responsibly, people! Otherwise you risk breaking up your best friend’s relationship and spending quiet reflective time stuck in a box. (Thanks http://friends.wikia.com/wiki/Kathy for a reminder of how that all went down.) Abebooks.com is a site that I’ve used to buy a first edition before, although I have also had some luck browsing antique stores and even Goodwill.
Or how about a gorgeous copy of their cherished favorite book? Shout-out to my best friends Mary Catherine and Laura Whitaker, because they bought me a stunning set of cloth covered classics several years ago. I couldn't find mine, White's Fine Editions, sold online anywhere, but try these on for size. If your intended recipient is a fan of Harry Potter, think about buying the illustrated copy of the first or second books in the series.
A Library Stamp: This is for the person who alphabetizes all of their books by last name and lends his or her books with a mixture of generosity, fear, and resentment. I’m definitely not that kind of person. Other examples may be found on Etsy.
A New Book: I was a member of English Lit. graduate programs for six years and no matter how many close readings we did or how many times I read a particular text, I never lost my belief that books can change people’s lives. Consider picking up a book that you think that your friend or family member will like and you might have the pleasure of knowing that you introduced them to a new favorite. I recently gifted people with a subscription to the Book of the Month club which allows my giftees to select one hardback book a month from a curated list chosen by a small group of well-known authors, actors/actresses, and other personalities. (Spoiler alert, Dan: you just bought me a three-month subscription for Christmas! SO sweet of you!).
And don’t forget that you can be creative if you’re browsing your local bookstore or Amazon. You can buy a traditional book, or you can buy a volume of poetry (check out the fantastic Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate. Her volume Native Guard is phenomenal). Or what about a graphic novel or comic book?
For the World
Donate to a Charity that Supports Reading: If you appreciate a good book, think about donating to a domestic or international charity which supports reading and literacy. My aforementioned BFF Laura works at the Carnegie Center, of Lexington, Kentucky, and they offer amazing writing and reading programs for the people there. How about supporting them?
Here are a couple other articles with more ideas: https://www.bustle.com/articles/126582-12-amazing-book-and-literacy-charities-that-are-changing-the-world and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/11/book-charities-that-help-kids_n_6817484.html.
Do you have any other fabulous ideas? I'd love to read them! Happy shopping, everyone!
*Please note that I have not personally tried all of these products or charities (any exceptions will be clearly stated). This is not a sponsored post.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.