Over the past couple of years, my family has donated money to charity rather than spend money on unwanted gifts for each other. This has saved out wallets and our sanity—no more Snuggies for the aunt who has everything!—but I admit I still enjoy the occasional gift. As a writer, I’ve discovered there are things I love that I will never turn away. If you’re stuck for ideas, consider these for the writer in your life:
Notebooks, paper paraphernalia: I love notebooks. I have tons of different kinds to jot in and travel with. For me, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as getting a blank notebook to fill. While I’m partial to a bouquet of multicolored spiral bound 8.5”x11” workbooks from the dollar store, I’m told Moleskine is the Lexus of notebooks.
Pens: Studies have shown that holding a pen in hand actually stimulates nerves in the fingers that trigger creative energy. Pens come in all kinds of wonderful varieties, too, so if you feel like spoiling a writer, get a nice pen engraved. It’ll come in handy the day they sign a book for you. Personally, I’m coveting a Tiffany rollerball pen.
USB thumb drives: A writer can never have enough backups or ways to cart around files. USB keys make great stocking stuffers, or, if you shell out for a USB 3.0 (which has a higher speed) it’s a great gift on its own. For added value, load it up with a playlist of MP3s, photos to inspire them or free ebooks you can download from any number of websites.
Typing gloves: Writers are notorious for getting cold hands and developing wrist problems while pounding on the keyboard. Help keep their hands warm and healthy with special typing gloves. There are tons of different types out there, from wrist-supporting gloves to USB plug-in warming gloves. www.usbgeek.com/products/usb-heating-gloves
Gift cards for books: A writer can never have too many books. Never. Instead of trying to figure out what book they don’t own yet or what they might like to read, give them the gift of choice and the chance to splurge on boxing week deals at their favorite book nook. This goes for ebooks, as well. If you’d rather be more personal, see if they have a wish list available on their favorite website.
Booze, chocolate, food for thought:
Writers love to relax with their favorite vices. Here are a few suggestions:
- Writer’s Tears Irish whiskey: For the days they get their first rejections...or revisions.
- A bottle of good champagne: For the day they hit the New York Times bestselling list. I’m a fan of Veuve Clicquot myself.
- Nonalcoholic beverages: A selection of good coffee beans, tea bags, gourmet hot chocolate...the writer in your life could always use a hot drink while working.
- Snacks: While it’s easy to stock up on chocolates, baked goods and candy during the holidays, many writers worry about their waistlines and health. If you want to help them make their new year’s health goals, put together a basket of healthy snacks: banana chips, roasted soy beans, rice crackers, dried fruit, etc. Ask your local health food store for suggestions.
Membership fees and subscriptions: There are all kinds of organizations out there for the aspiring writer, and they all charge membership dues. Do your writer a favor and pitch in for them!
Services: A writer’s most valuable asset is time, which means priorities get shuffled and chores don’t get done. Why not purchase a gift certificate for a housekeeper, gardener, babysitter, dog-walker, or in-home chef? Or, if you’re on a budget, make a coupon book and do the services yourself.
Time, silence and solitude: If your significant other is working hard to make a publishing dream come true, do them a favor and respect their writing time. Take the kids and pets out of the house for the afternoon. Don’t disturb them if they say they’re on deadline. If you show them you understand how important their goals are, they will love you all year round.
A chance to relax: Writers work hard. Too hard, sometimes. Remind them that you appreciate all they do and force them to leave their computers for a few hours. Offer to take them out to dinner. Or plan a spa day, a trip to the salon, a mani/pedi, a massage or a night at the movies.
What’s on your wish list? Do you have suggestions to add? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my latest book, Back to the Good Fortune Diner. Contest closes Friday, December 14th 11:59 p.m. EST.
Vicki Essex is an author for Harlequin Superromance. Back to the Good Fortune Diner is her second book. For more information, visit www.vickiessex.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vickiessexauthor and on Twitter @vickiessex.