Affordable Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

Coffee, Candles, and Cards: Affordable Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Season’s Greetings, Writers!

The holidays are upon us. Can you believe how quickly the months flew by? A new year, 2023, approaches. Writers are finishing manuscripts, pondering what they’ll create next, and racing through events such as National Novel Writing Month.

For November, in honor of the most hectic time of year, I’m keeping things simple for writers and those who love them. The holidays are busy. Costs are up for everybody. I’m suggesting gifts that are meaningful and affordable: coffee, candles, and gift cards to indie bookstores.

I’m linking to spots in Wisconsin. Please feel free to add yours in the comments. We’d love to crowdsource ideas for readers everywhere.

Also, keep in mind that time is a great gift. A book review or recommendation about a book to someone is just as appreciated as something purchased.

Coffee (or tea) with a writer

I’ve met few writers who didn’t enjoy coffee or tea—especially with a friend. A meet-up at a local shop for a chat is a great idea. Time spent together is a way to connect with the writer in your life, catch up on what’s new, and discuss a novel’s progress. There are many wonderful places to pick from, of course. My favorites include:

2894 on Main, East Troy

Dixie’s, Manitowish Waters

Espresso Love, Mukwonago

Mercantile & Bean, North Prairie

Cafe Sonder, Minocqua

Valerie's Favorites are:

Beans & Cream, Sun Prairie

Julie's Java House, Columbus 

If you can’t meet up, a writer-inspired mug is great, too. Love these custom ideas from Etsy!

Candles (and other gifts)

I’m a candle lover, so this suggestion is biased. I’m an early riser. I light a candle at dawn, enjoy my backyard while the sun rises, and write. Winter-scented candles such as balsam, fir tree, and peppermint are favorites. Fox Ridge Candles, made in Madison, are excellent. (I get them at This & That at The Mill at Genesee Depot.)

I’m delighted to offer a discount code for these candles! Use FOXY15 for a discount through November.

If candles aren’t your thing, Northwoods stores such as White Arrows Home-The Shop carries a variety of treasures, including new and vintage books.

If the writer you know is aroma-sensitive, perhaps a flameless candle with a remote would be something he or she would enjoy. Stores such as Home Goods usually have a great selection this time of year. 

Valerie has three favorite stores that have candles and a wonderful variety of beautiful and interesting gifts:

Sister Golden, Fish Creek (you can shop online!)

Daiseye, Princeton (also has online shopping options.)

Three Bats in the Belfry, Lodi (cute shop inside an old church building)

Gift card to a local bookstore

Support a local bookstore by purchasing a gift card for the writer in your life. Wisconsin has a fantastic network of indie shops. From Boswell’s Books in Milwaukee to Honest Dog Books in Bayfield, you may enjoy browsing, too, and find titles for yourself!

Other favorite book stores include:

Faith & Giggles, Hartford

Inklink Books, East Troy

Martha Merrell’s Books & Toys, Waukesha

Rare Vision Books, Genesee Depot

Valerie's picks -- I love all those Tracey listed above, but I would also add:

Mystery to Me Bookstore, Monroe Street, Madison

A Room of One's Own, Madison (Now on Atwood Ave.)

Literatus, Watertown (This is also a great coffeeshop!)

(Can you tell we live/spend time in slightly different areas of the state?)

Book reviews and recommendations

If your budget is tight, remember that reviews and recommendations are wonderful gifts. Leaving a review on a book-buying or other book-related site is extremely appreciated. Also, recommending favorite books to friends and family is a way to spread positive cheer during the holidays. Writers are grateful for word-of-mouth recommendations. A card (or even an email) with a note saying you left nice comments and a starred review would be something I definitely would appreciate!

Upcoming Conferences: Plan for Next Year

I acquired a literary agent in part by attending conferences. I wrote about it on the Valerie Biel's blog here.

Writers can’t exist in a vacuum. Like actors, we need feedback and guidance for our creative endeavors. If travel is a problem, consider one of the many excellent online opportunities.

NOW is the time to plan for 2023 events.

Ongoing: The Backroom Writers Author Visits (online)

Dec. 1-4: Agent-one-on-one Bootcamp, Writer’s Digest

2023 (Subject to change as events approach)

May 5-6: Lakefly Writer’s Conference, Oshkosh

May 30-June 3, 2023: Thrillerfest, NYC

July 19-22: Midwest Writer’s Workshop, Muncie, Indiana, and online

Aug. 30-Sept. 3: Bouchercon, San Diego, Calif.

September 2023: American Christian Fiction Writers Association Conference, TBA

September 2023: Central Wisconsin Book Festival, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point

October 2023: Door County Writer and Book Fair, Fish Creek

October 2023: Fox Cities Book Festival, Fox Cities area

October 2023: Wisconsin Book Festival, Madison

November 2023: Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, Waukesha

November 2023: Great Lakes Writers Festival, Sheboygan

If you have a favorite place for coffee, candles or cards, please tell us in the comments.

My next blog post will be in January.

Happy shopping, happy holidays, and happy writing, all. ~ Tracey

T.K. Sheffield, MA

Pre-published author, The Seymour Agency

The Backyard Model Cozy Mysteries: A retired fashion model uses her skill at spotting posers to solve murders in her touristy Wisconsin town. (The first book in the series is on submission to publishers.) Follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for writing tips, author news, and to share my Wisconsin backyard.


For hot cocoa or tea or soda and coffee(but no coffee for me), my favorite is The Sow’s Ear in Verona WI. Comfy old house with lots of seating. Good food too. Combines two activities: writing and knitting. Because it’s a coffee shop and a yarn shop!

That's not far from me! I need to get to Verona . . . and also check out Kismet Books while I'm there. Thanks for the great suggestion, Rita!

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