Holiday Gift Ideas for the Writers on Your List

Holiday Gifts for Writers

Having trouble selecting gifts for writers in your life? Want something that shows you support his or her vocation, but is more creative than a pen and pencil set? With a little thought, you can choose a gift that your friend will cherish, both for the thing itself and the thoughtfulness behind it. This gift guide will get you started.

Journal or Magazine Subscription

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Writers, like any professionals, have to keep up with their field. You can help with a subscription to a journal or a magazine you know he enjoys, or that publishes work similar to his own. Poets and Writers Magazine and The New Yorker are always safe bets. For something more specific to your friend's style, check out the lists of literary magazines on this site, or the magazine rack at a local independent bookstore.

Books on Writing

creative book
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For a more personal gift, pick a book on writing -- many are reviewed here. Stephen King's book On Writing is a great newer book while Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird is a tried and true favorite. Uncertain about picking one? Reference books are expensive and essential, two elements that make for much-appreciated gifts. To really thrill your logophile, go for the OED on CD-ROM.

And when making your purchases, don't forget your local bookstore, and consider nonprofits, such as 826 National.​

Tickets to See an Admired Writer

Salman Rushdie at the New Yorker Festival
Salman Rushdie at the New Yorker Festival. Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Find out if someone she really likes is coming to town soon, or if there's a play or movie based on the life of a writer close to her heart. Events like these are great ways to inspire her work. You can also send a copy of the writer's book to him or her to sign and return (include return postage). Present the tickets inside the signed book, or give her the book on its own.

Blank Book

Blank Books Make Great Gifts for Writers
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Blank books might be a cliché gift for writers, but with good reason. For aspiring writers, a blank book offers them encouragement to write. Old pros enjoy a nice blank book or journal simply because it's something they don't indulge in on their own anymore.

Massage Session

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Carpal tunnel, stiff necks, and creaky backs are the occupational hazards of a writer's life. If you see your writer rubbing his neck or shoulders while getting up from his desk, chances are he'd love a session with a massage therapist. Bath soaps, manicures, rock climbing gym passes, and yoga classes are also great ideas. Writers tend to spend too much time in their heads; help them reconnect with their physical side.

Gift Certificate to a Bookstore or Office Supply Store

Redhead in bookstore
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And as one reader, Carol, said, "Writers read as much as they write and often have a list of books they want to read." She suggests finding out what's on that list, to surprise your writer with the actual book. But if that's not feasible, you can't go wrong with a gift certificate. And for something different, writers always need paper, pens, and printer ink cartridges: they'll always be able to spend a certificate for an office supply or paper store.


Thrill Your Writer with a New Laptop
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If the complete OED isn't extravagant enough (especially in this economy) you can really thrill your writer with a new laptop. Be sure to find out not only what platform, Mac or PC, he uses now, but what platform he'd like to be using. (Could be this was the year he'd planned to make the switch.)

Computer Accessories

new keyboard
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Laptop cases, keyboards, and software are all cheaper alternatives, and still thoughtful, particularly if you've noticed that your friend needs something in particular. For laptop cases, go for something leather and classic, if she has to take it into an office, or something funky and creative, if not. If you go the keyboard route, reader Silke advises finding out what kind he or she uses, straight or ergonomic. And make sure whatever you buy is compatible with their computer.

Writing Retreat

Man with dog writing in journal at table in the back of camper van at lakeside
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A reader who goes by MH suggested this generous gift, saying, "If you really want to encourage a writer –- at least one that you admire and have high hopes for -- how about giving them a writing retreat weekend to a quaint little place where it’s quiet, inspirational, and offers full-service amenities?" 

Nice Meal Out

Couple in restaurant
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Treat your starving artist to a meal at a restaurant he couldn't usually afford. If your artist friend is struggling with his writing career, it's not necessarily the calories he needs as much as the fun of splurging. A little luxury goes a long way in keeping spirits high in the face of rejection.