UPDATED DECEMBER 2015
Good morning! It’s finally that time of the year when we start planning (and doing) gift shopping. This is most people’s favorite thing about Christmas. I also think it’s fun to put up the Christmas tree. Anyway, if you’re a writer or you’re trying to decide what to get a writer friend of yours, I’ve come up with a good Christmas gift list. We can’t get a Cloak of Invisibility like Harry Potter, but there are other items that we as writers would love just as much. I wrote and published this post last year. It has been updated with newer versions of the gifts. I thought it was a better alternative than writing a brand new post. I also streamlined the list, as I got carried away a little. 🙂 Here’s the list:
1. A NEW LAPTOP/CONVERTIBLE TABLET
A computer is perhaps the most important tool for today’s writer. It’s akin to a camera for a photographer. For most writers, a mid-level PC will suffice. The Lenovo Yoga 700 (pictured above) is very portable at just 2.4 lbs. It has an 11.6″ LED touchscreen, a new-generation Core m5 processor, and USB 3.0. This PC also includes a 128GB or 256GB solid-state drive for vastly superior speeds than a traditional hard drive could deliver. In addition, this Lenovo is suitable for the writer who can’t settle between a tablet and a laptop. The hinge has 360 degree motion for use in laptop, tablet, or tent mode. Price is $649 at Best Buy.
Tip: This suggestion is meant more for writers than for their friends. Not many people bestow gifts this costly.
2. MICROSOFT OFFICE OR SCRIVENER
I’ll go back to the photographer analogy. A writer with a PC that doesn’t have a decent word processor is like a photographer with a camera that lacks an SD card. Gift them with a 1-year Microsoft Office 365 Home subscription. At $99, it is cheaper than buying the boxed version, and can be used on 5 computers. An advantage of the 365 subscription is that you can reinstall the software without worrying about re-activating it or wasting your 5-PC install limit. For serious writers (or those who’d prefer something that’s not Microsoft), you can get a copy of Scrivener. It costs $40 and works on both Windows and Mac.
3. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
For most people, the files on their computer are worth eons more than the computer itself. That is especially true for writers. An external hard drive is a great tool to safeguard those precious files. The AData DashDrive is relatively affordable at $69.99. It has a storage capacity of 1TB, and boasts military-grade waterproof and shockproof construction. The drive also has USB 3.0 capability for speedy file transfers.
Tip: External hard drives are meant to backup your files. As such, you should not leave them plugged in to your PC all the time.
4. POCKET NOTEBOOK AND PEN
Give the writer in your life a way to jot down ideas with a good pocket notebook. The Moleskine Classic Notebook is among the most notable and favored. If your writer friend enjoys the outdoors—or lives in Seattle—get them a Rite in the Rain notebook instead. For a pen, you can get a Lamy Safari Rollerball. Its beautiful design and high quality make it well worth the $23.99 price. As an alternative, the Inka Pen is great for folks who’re always misplacing their pen.
5. A COMFORTABLE CHAIR
Writers can spend several hours a day typing away, usually on their desk. For that reason, they need a good chair that will reduce strain. The Brenton Studio Ruzzi is good-looking and comfortable. At the moment it’s just $79.99, though the price may change.
6. A GREAT COFFEE BREWER
Writers can be diligent folks, often bordering on workaholics. Most love what they do. A nice coffee machine goes a long way to keep a writer going. It’s highly likely that your writer friend already has a basic coffee maker, so get something better. To impress them, get the Jura Capresso 4-Cup Cappuccino/Espresso Maker. It is only $59.95 at the moment.
7. SET OF ADJUSTABLE-WEIGHT DUMBBELLS
Due to their reclusive and diligent nature, some writers think they don’t have enough time for exercising. Give your writer friend a hand with a set of adjustable-weight dumbbells. With those, he’ll be able to stay in shape and increase the weights as he gets fitter. These weights are also suitable as gifts for women. Studies have shown that women don’t necessarily have to lift smaller weights than men.
8. A NEW KEYBOARD
If your writer friend uses a desktop computer—instead of a laptop—it may be time to invest in a new keyboard. A nice model will help increase their WPM and counter fatigue. This Beyondtek keyboard is mechanical, which means that it will last a lot longer than your average keyboard. It has backlit keys in various colors and is ergonomic and waterproof (yes, coffee spills won’t trash it). Plus, it comes with a high-definition mouse.
9. A FURRY FRIEND
Writers are particularly known for being reserved. Not all of them have a large number of friends or acquaintances. If your writer friend lives alone, a companion would make for a fabulous gift. Dogs are generally a better choice, unless your friend prefers cats. Small or medium, friendly breeds are preferable.
Tip: Always buy puppies from reputable breeders. Also, avoid getting a puppy that’s less than ten weeks old. They need that time with their mother so she can teach them canine etiquette 101.
10. CATCHY BOOKENDS
Most writers are avid readers. And as such, they may have several shelves in their house (unless they prefer reading on a Kindle). A fun pair of bookends can make for a thoughtful gift. As a suggestion, these chess piece bookends and these Arc de Triomphe bookends are great to start.
11. A BOOK REVIEW
The biggest reward writers can get is when someone likes their book. If you have read your friend’s book and enjoy it, strongly consider submitting a review as a gift. You don’t have to go over the top. It just has to be honest. It goes without saying that, if you didn’t like the book, there’s no point submitting a bad review.
12. AUTOGRAPHED BOOK BY A FAVORITE AUTHOR
This is a biggie, at least for me. For avid readers, our favorite authors are like Hollywood stars. We look up to and admire them. If you know your writer friend’s favorite author and are able to procure an autographed copy, you’ll shoot up to BFF status.
13. SPECIAL EDITION HARRY POTTER BOOK BOX SET
It’s hard to find a bookworm who’s not a Harry Potter fan. If your writer friend is one of those, they’ll be thrilled to get the full collection of Harry Potter books. This set with the new cover art is the most recent, so your friend may not have it yet. Right now it’s discounted, but it may not always be so. Grab it while you have the chance. This is a must-have for Potterheads!
14. A STYLISH LAPTOP SLEEVE
If your writer friend already has a relatively new laptop, help them protect it from wear with a good laptop sleeve. This one isn’t something you see every day, and could make a good conversation starter.
15. NINTENDO 3DS
Writers can spend so much time writing that they ‘forget’ to have fun. Some even see their work time as leisure time. I wouldn’t argue with that :). To get your writer friend to have fun for real, you can get them a portable videogame console. The New Nintendo 3DS is the best one right now. For games, I recommend Mario Kart 7, Super Smash Bros for 3DS, or the latest Pokémon title.
16. A BICYCLE
If you’d rather give your writer friend a gift that will make him more active than videogames, go for a bicycle. It’s not just for recreation, it’s a great method of transport for getting to nearby locations. No one drives a car to someplace a couple of blocks away, unless they’re picking up something heavy.
17. THIS CLEVER USB FLASH DRIVE
When your writer friend sees this, they’re going to wish they found out about it sooner. No matter if they’re not really into tech, they’re going to love it. This flash drive contains an entire library of classic novels, from Bronte to Dickens and Wilde. There’s something here for any writer to enjoy.
18. SOMETHING FROM LEVENGER’S
Computer whizzes have Newegg. Artists have Michael’s. Wizards have Diagon Alley. What’s there for writers and readers? Levenger.com.