Most of us are likely to be celebrating Christmas a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still treat those we love (or ourselves) to something nice. I’ve put together a bookish gift guide the past four years running (you can find them here if you’d like more ideas: 2019, 2018, 2017, & 2016), but without further ado, here are some gift suggestions for the bookworms in your life.
With all of us spending more time at home these days, a game with a bookish twist could help entertain many a reader throughout the holiday season. There are loads of options out there, including The Writers Game, which is essentially bookish top trumps with beautifully illustrated cards, and Ex Libris, where you have to try and outsmart your opponents by coming up with fake – but convincing – first and last lines from famous books.
A READING JOURNAL
Anyone who uses Goodreads likely knows how… frustrating it can be at times. With more and more readers seeking out an alternative means of documenting their reads and managing their TBR, why not go old school and treat someone to a journal that allows them to track their reading for the year ahead? Here are some examples, available from The Literary Gift Company.
If you or someone you know always likes to have a book with them on the go, a book sleeve is a great little gift. It’s essentially a pouch to put your book in so it doesn’t get bashed around or dirty if you’re throwing it in your bag. Plus, you can get some really pretty designs, like these examples from The Story Gift.
‘POETRY INSTEAD OF A CARD’
Candlestick Press publish a really cool range of pamphlets called ‘Poetry Instead of a Card’. As the name suggests, the idea is you can send someone a mini book of ten poems as an alternative to a standard greetings card. There are several specifically Christmas themed pamphlets within the range, but there are loads to choose from; be it pamphlets that explore a particular theme – like friendship, happiness, or love – or pamphlets that focus on a specific subject – like cats, flowers, or art. And don’t worry, you can still write the recipient a message; each one comes with a bookmark with space that has been left for you to personalise it.
Book inspired lamps look gorgeous *and* they give off lovely ambient lighting that is perfect for a bit of night time reading. You can get a foldable LED lamp that looks like a regular book when closed, but which lights up when opened (like this one from Not on the Highstreet), and a lamp which doubles as a book stand, saving your page and looking like an adorable little house as it does so (like this one designed by Lee Sang Gin). What’s not to love?
It may be a bit of a stereotype, but it’s true that many bookworms do enjoy a good cup of tea. A nice mug is a great choice, but you could go one better and get some actual tea to go with it. There are lots of great gift sets that tie in with specific reads; I think these Alice in Wonderland and Beatrix Potter themed offerings from New English Teas are particularly charming.
I love the smell of books almost as much as I love reading them. Evidently, I’m not alone, as you can now find candles that give off that glorious between-the-pages scent. Frostbeard Studio stock just such candles, as well as various others with fragrances that take inspiration from specific books and franchises.
You can get clothing with fun, generically bookish slogans/designs on them (I was gifted a T-shirt last year that says ‘Cats, Books, Tea’ on it, for example), or you could find someone an item that ties in with one of their favourite reads if you want it to be a little more personal. Literary Emporium have some really beautiful options, with quotes and motifs that draw from beloved books. I think their designs are understated but really effective.
I couldn’t write a bookish gift guide without including some actual books, could I? I think books with a strong visual element make particularly nice presents, since they’re beautiful objects as much as they are enjoyable to read. With that in mind, here are a couple of lovely books, both of which I highly recommend, and both of which I think could be enjoyed by readers young and old alike.
Mythologica by Dr. Steve Kershaw & Victoria Topping
This encyclopaedia of gods, monsters, and mortals from Ancient Greece serves as a fantastic entry point or reference guide for those at all interested in mythology. The book highlights 50 key figures, giving us a snapshot of their role within the canon, but the real draw is Topping’s stunningly bold and stylised portraits of each character.
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris
This book combines acrostic poems with wonderful artwork to celebrate the relationship between the natural world and the language we use to describe it – while reminding us how important it is to preserve both. The poems are highly approachable, playful, and engaging, with each one focussing on a different plant or animal, the name of which is disappearing from everyday use in children’s vocabularies; the idea being that we need to reconnect with the wonder of the world around us.
There we have it! I hope you picked up a few useful ideas, and however you end up spending it this year, I hope you all have a lovely, safe festive period.