7 last-minute holidays gifts for writers

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I just love the holidays, don’t you? Family time, delicious food, time away from school and work . . . it’s the happiest time of the year! But as the weather turns a crisp 60 degrees Fahrenheit here in Portugal, and I gear up for some time off with my family, there’s one thing I’m still trying to wrap up (ba dum dum chhhh): presents! As an aspiring minimalist, I can’t stand just buying people stuff. Things. Items they don’t care about. I want my gifts to mean something—to show that I thought about them, that I selected something that shows I care. But it can feel overwhelming to try to select the perfect gift(s) for everyone, am I right? You get me. So, from one gift buyer to another, I thought I’d offer some ideas. If you are a writer looking for ideas to add to your wishlist, or buying for a writer, this list is for you.* I’ve included gifts ranging from relatively expensive to free, so read on, no matter your budget.

#1  E-books on Writing

Cost: $10–20 The magic it-will-arrive-before-Christmas Amazon order date has passed, and with many of us wary of venturing to bookstores, how about an e-book for the writer in your life? My top recommendations:
  • On Writing by Stephen King – this memoir is perfect for an aspiring author and is one of my favorite books on writing of all time.
  • Stein on Writing by Sol Stein – whether you’re buying for an article writer, novelist, or journalist, this book will help your beloved writer level up her or his prose.
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – this memoir by one of the greats is sure to inspire and entertain, and it’s also a great study in simple, pure writing.
If you’re looking for great fiction, might I recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman? Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020.

#2  Audible subscription

Cost: $7.95–14.95 per month (bonus: the first 30 days are free!) Audio books are more than just books read aloud. They are an experience in and of themselves—and even the most readerly writers love a good audio book now and then. So if you’re looking for a last-minute gift that’s sure to make your writer smile, I suggest an Audible subscription. (And if you’re looking for an audio book to recommend with the subscription, I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest Growing Influenceyour family or friend will love it!)

#3  Noise cancelling earbuds . . . or good ol’ fashion earplugs.

Cost: $10–$250+ I’m a big fan of my Apple Airpods, and the Airpods Pro offer noise cancellation—a necessity for pretty much any writer. While it might be too late to ship before Christmas, try expedited shipping, or brave the Apple store near you (armed with a mask and sanitizer!). For a stocking stuffer, you could also get a big jug of earplugs. You think I’m joking but I couldn’t be more serious! I personally love Mack’s Ultra Soft Earplugs and buy at least one giant jug of them a year. (In fact, I love my earplugs so much they had a cameo in Growing Influence. You’re welcome.) And if anyone is looking for a gift for this writer, I’ll throw in that the Airpods Max look amazing. Just saying.

#4  IOU writing time

Cost: Free If you’re low on funds and big on heart, here’s a gift that’s sure to get a smile: writing time. Writer’s block aside, one thing writers struggle with is finding time to write. If your beloved writer wants to write a book or simply build consistency, one of the best gifts is the gift of time and space. If you give this gift, make it S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. For example: “For the next three months, I will hold down the fort at home—kids and all—from 9–12 on Saturdays while you write. There are no expectations during this time. It is yours to use freely and creatively, and to be as productive or unproductive as you want.” Throw in some earplugs and I bet you’ll get a Christmas kiss.

#5  Membership to a writers or authors organization

Cost: $109–$290/year The biggest challenges for aspiring authors are accountability, knowledge, and community. One way to support the writer you care about is through gifting all three through an association subscription. Two associations to check out: Independent Book Publishers Association and Nonfiction Authors Association. Both are excellent resources for aspiring and established writers.

#6  A writing nook

Cost: Free + When I think of having space to write, I can’t help but remember the quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” This is true for men too. Money aside (we all need that!), a writer needs a place to write. This is the most time intensive suggestion but one of the most thoughtful. If you live with a writer who doesn’t have a dedicated writing space, what if you make one for her or him? A great space to create a writing nook is a guest bedroom or another underutilized space in the house. This gift can range from free—repurposing a desk, lamp, and chair—to as expensive as you want. The point isn’t luxury, it’s a space of one’s own.

#7 Donate to a writer’s cause

For the writer who has everything, how about donating to a cause that supports the literary arts? As The New York Times suggests: ” [you might give to] the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to booksellers, which has created a Covid-19 emergency fund. You might also consider giving to a literary nonprofit such as the House of SpeakEasy, which brings authors and audiences together in innovative ways, often through live performances.” — Any of these gifts, big or small, expensive or not, will show the writer in your life that you see them, support them, and believe in them. If you’re a writer, what would you add to this list? If you are buying for a writer, what’s on your list of options? Share with me in the comments!   *Please note that some, but not all, gifts are affiliate links. I only include affiliate links to products or services I have used and believe in, and I would never recommend something just to make a buck. 🙂

5 Comments

  • Helen Mandley Reply

    What a clever idea to suggest gifts for writers! I loved all your suggestions. Thank you.
    Helen

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      I’m thrilled they are helpful for you! Happy holidays, Helen!

  • DONOHVE1 Reply

    Thank you!!1

  • Erica Reply

    What great ideas! One year, my mom gave me an IUO for a laptop of my choice. My old laptop was quickly deteriorating, making the IUO practical and much appreciated.

    • Stacy Ennis Reply

      What a sweet gift! A mix of thoughtfulness and practicality for the win. Thank you for sharing.

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