Christmas in April: Thoughtful Gifts for Writers
As April is the month of my birthday, it seemed natural to compose a blog post about gifts for writers. In fact, as I researched this post, it became clear that this will be an annual event; I will collect ideas during the year and present them in the month of sunshine, flowers, warmer weather—ah, never mind. Spring surely will come, right? I mean, saying it’s “Christmas in April” has a whole new meaning this year.
Few things have cheered me lately: I’m a warm weather person and the cold, December-like days that so far are ruining my favorite month are straining my brain. Contemplating gift ideas has been a relief from watching the snow swirl out my front window.
My recommendations range from high-price to zero-budget options, from local stores to online sources. The list ranges from coffee to books, day trips to gift cards. Helpful links are provided. And don’t forget that, instead of ordering from the online shopping behemoth, many nearby bookstores will order items for you for in-store pick up or home delivery.
Coffee (or tea)
Writers naturally are attracted to coffee along with its better cousin, tea. In addition to (or rather than) a gift card to the famous coffee store with the mermaid logo, there are regional choices for gifts such as Kickapoo Coffee (KC). A coffee subscription from KC means your writer-giftee will “never run out of coffee again,” according to KC’s website. Now that’s a gift! Also included in this category is a pound of a popular blend, a picture from a featured artist, a sweet treat, or even a to-go lunch or salad. (All of which are offered at my favorite coffee place, Espresso Love Coffee.)
Book- or bookstore-related
Pressed for time? Go with the Occam’s razor solution: Sometimes the simplest, most obvious choice is the best. Bookstore purchases add up for writers, so a gift card to a local shop such as InkLink Books is a great gift. As mentioned in last month’s blog post, there are fantastic bookshops in Wisconsin’s small towns. A gift card, a book by a favorite author, or even a reference bible such as Elements of Style, The Lively Art of Writing, or Garner’s Modern English Usage are choices to consider. (Note: Rather than ordering online, a local bookstore such as Books & Company will acquire these books for you.)
Workshop gift certificate
Writers work in isolation with strange characters and imaginary scenarios living in their heads; it’s helpful — and normalizing — to spend time with others who do the same. Get your writer out from behind the keyboard by offering the gift of a workshop. I believe that in-person is best rather than online as there’s nothing like meeting other writers — or even the keynote speaker — face-to-face and having a conversation. (Note: The Wisconsin Writer’s Institute event in Madison is this weekend, April 12-15. While registration has passed, walk-ins may be accepted. Call ahead for confirmation, please.)
Workshops can be expensive, however. Are you good at organizing? Offer to host a meet-up at your library and invite your writer, his or her writer-friends, as well as interested others from the area. Get approved to use a meeting room at the library; create a flyer on a site such as Canva; serve a tray of cookies; and compose a short agenda. Voila! You’ve created a low-cost gift option to a workshop.
Writers spend an extraordinary time sitting at a desk, typing at a computer, resulting in stiff joints and tight muscles. There’s nothing better for those issues than a yoga class. A class or two (or even a ten-class series) at a gym or yoga studio gives your writer-friend a chance to stretch and move, both of which assist with the subconscious act of writing. Low cost options include giving a yoga mat or fitness band, both of which the writer could use in his or her office, provided there is the space.
On a budget yet still want to offer something? No problem. Perhaps you have technical writing or online marketing skills. How about writing a LinkedIn profile or a writer’s bio for a website? (Writers are notorious for not wanting to write about themselves.) A homemade gift certificate that offers this kind of assistance is extremely low cost — and believe me, a writer will appreciate the effort and thought put into the idea. See the infographic for additional ideas that include flowers from the supermarket or your garden; or, perhaps even an inspirational day trip.
If nothing mentioned so far seems suitable, consider researching ideas on Pinterest. The options are endless and include ideas such as pillows, hand-painted signs, telephone cases, coffee mugs, book bags, wine glasses, and book-decorated curtains.
Wow, even though I awoke to flurries this morning, writing this column has cheered me up. Surely, by the time you read this within the next few days, the sun will be shining, birds will be singing — oh, I see the forecast calls for a possibility of flurries next week.
Let’s consider next month’s column, shall we? Next month — in May when it should be sunny and warm — I’ll be discussing the best books for writers.
I’m looking forward to it for a lot of reasons.
As always, happy writing.
~Tracey Kathryn, MA