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Super Awesome Gift Guide for Readers and Writers

Xmas tree fire sceneHappy Holidays! ‘Tis the season gift giving. I’ve gotten 90% of my holiday shopping done … except for my husband’s birthday present, due this week. (Urk.)

Are you struggling for gift inspiration? Here are some quick ideas for the readers and writers in your life!

Super Awesome Gifts for Readers

There’s nothing better than relaxing on a comfy couch, pulling up a blanket, sipping that delicious cup of tea, and digging into the newest highly readable book. With that in mind, here are some wonderful gifts to make a reader’s fantasies come true.

Kindle Unlimited subscription

For the voracious reader, there is nothing better than having access to the Amazon catalog. Yes, you can also download books (free!) from your local library, but Amazon has newer, hotter books by the authors you crave to read. I resisted until August and now I’m so very glad I’m in. [Gift Kindle Unlimited]

eReader device

You don’t know how many books you aren’t reading until you get an ereader and fit a thousand into the palm of your hand. It will change your life. The Kindle is slightly lighter and easier to use than most multi-purpose tablets, and the pages load faster.

Delicious tea. Or coffee. Or chai.

I am a tea and hot cocoa drinker myself. The best tea (Tetley’s British Blend? Downton Abbey’s pink raspberry-rose tea? Japanese sencha or matcha?) and cocoa are up for grabs, but the best chai is absolutely Tipu’s Tiger. Originally an Indian restaurant run by Buddhists in Missoula, MT, they now sell only the most delicious product: their spicy chai.

Fuzzy blanket

It gets cold in the Pacific Northwest! Any comforter is good, but what’s on my Christmas list is an adorable mermaid tail knit blanket. In the southern hemisphere, you might prefer less fuzz and more beach blanket. These are beautiful and affordable!

A cat. Or dog. Or hedgehog.

Nothing says “reading on the couch” like a pet shoving your book out of the way so they can take over your lap. But those warm purrs and happy, contented huffs fill the hours with a little extra goodness. If you’re not a pet person, consider these amazing Japanese moss balls, the marimo. It can sit on a shelf and look pretty.

There are tons more — tasty chocolates, oversized mugs, anything with a book quote — but hopefully this list will spark your imagination.

Now for the writers in your life.

Super Awesome Gifts for Writers

Most writers are also readers, so you can’t go wrong with the previous list. Here are a few extras that writers especially will love.

Pens. Notepads. Office supplies.

Seriously, even if a writer has a hundred pens, a thousand notepads, and only writes on the computer, we all have a secret addiction to these things. I’m starting to draft everything onto computer, but I still like the Lamy Safari pen (I’ve got two!) and a variety of notebooks. No spirals for me! Writers are particular, and have our “must have” preferences, but we’re usually also open to experimenting.

Art glove

Also good for students who must write essays by hand and digital artists. I used to wrap my pinkie and ring finger in Band-Aids and then wear through the Band-Aids when I was on a writing kick. Although now I mostly write on computers, I’ve still worn holes in three art gloves.

Mac Mini

If your writer is a techie, Mac is the way to go. The writing software Scrivener is optimized for Mac (the PC version is lacking multiple key features). Elegant book formatting software Vellum is only available for Mac. And if your writer is self-publishing, the Apple iBooks retailer will only accept files uploaded from a Mac. There are ways around this limitation, but it’s something to consider.

Celebratory chocolate. Or wine.

When your writer hits their goals – page count, word count, finish the book, hit the bestseller list – they need to celebrate. And nothing is more motivating than salivating over that special treat and dreaming about how it will taste after the goal is accomplished. I am a big fan of chocolate turtles, but a planned handful of M&Ms or a glass of blackberry wine can be just as motivating.

Treadmill desk

For when a writer has celebrated a bit too much, consider helping them accomplish their New Year’s resolutions to take the extra pounds off. It doesn’t have to be a bajillion dollars, especially if you are crafty. I constructed an elliptical desk using two thick, work-out grade rubber bands + my 2009 sized netbook.


I hope that gives you some great ideas! There’s nothing better than watching the joy of a recipient opening their gift and lighting up with happiness. Well, maybe what’s better is simply being together with your loved ones, no matter the season. I wish you many sweet cookies and sparkling lights this wonderful holiday season!

P.S. These use my affiliate links.

Xmas image:(c) Can Stock Photo / 2mmedia


Summer Blues

Sunflowers (CC BY-NC 2.0) Nikos Koutoulas
Sunflowers (CC BY-NC 2.0) Nikos Koutoulas

Can you believe we’re almost back to school?

When I taught in Japan, I learned that the Japanese feel sadness tinged with nostalgia for the passing of the spring cherry blossoms. Their school year ends in April, so everyone sings the teary-eyed graduation song while the soft pink petals fall.

I think Americans feel this time-is-passing sensation too — not in June, when most of us graduate, but at the tip-end of summer. When the hot August days melt into shortening twilights, and the farmer’s markets fill with harvest squash and corn, and newspapers flutter with back-to-school circulars. The summer is too short, isn’t it? Especially in the Pacific Northwest, where we joke about the sun appearing for two brilliant weeks between spring and autumn rain clouds.

That soft, cyclical familiarity makes me want to grip onto time somehow. Take a little longer with loved ones. Plan one more big barbecue.

Of course, the fall is also a time of excitement. New school year, gorgeous lingering sunsets, and plenty of project time before the holidays. Plus I love office supplies. Back-to-school sales are a definite favorite!