The holiday season has officially begun here in the United States, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably planning to get started on your holiday shopping sometime this week. While I’m willing to bet that the majority of you reading this post are fellow bookworms yourselves, some of you may have made your way to The Unapologetic Bookworm this week because you’re looking for gift ideas for the bookworm in your life.
Before I begin talking about gift ideas, however, I want to take the opportunity to discuss Black Friday. I know that Black Friday shopping is a post-Thanksgiving tradition for a large number of people here in the U.S. (not me, because I’m uncomfortable with large crowds even under normal circumstances), and I’m sure that many stores will be offering significant deals on in-store purchases this week.
However, with the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, in-person Black Friday shopping is a high-risk activity this year. Because of this, I’d really like to encourage you to avoid the crowds and do your holiday shopping online this year, and to take advantage of services such as no-contact and curbside pickup when online shopping is not an option. I know I said this in my recent “Thanksgiving and COVID” post, but please don’t put yourself or your family in a position where you could be exposed (or expose others) to the virus this holiday season.
To be honest, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the gift giving lists that we often find on the Internet. While they can be very helpful, many of the “book lover” gift lists I have encountered over the years tend to be heavily skewed toward the perceived tastes of female readers, often focusing on things like fashion accessories and jewelry, scented candles, and home decor. While these are great gift ideas for some people, they don’t necessarily fit the tastes of all bookworms.
Ultimately, the key to successful bookworm gift giving is knowing your reader. All readers are unique, and we have very different preferences when it comes to not only the books we read, but the types of gifts we enjoy. Not all of the categories I discuss in this post will appeal to everyone, but I hope they will spark some ideas and make your holiday shopping a little less stressful this year.
Here are some of my recommendations for gifts for your bookworm this holiday season:
While some people consider gift cards to be impersonal, they make a great gift for book lovers. In addition to allowing your reader to choose their own titles, a gift card will be well received by anyone who prefers to read on an iPad, Kindle, or Nook. It’s fairly easy to get gift cards for retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Half Price Books, but you may also be able to purchase a gift card (or gift certificate) from your reader’s favorite independent bookstore.
Books are always a welcome gift for a bookworm, but we can be somewhat difficult to buy for (especially if we have a large home library). If your reader has a wish list for a specific online retailer, that is a perfect place to start. Of course, not everyone has an online wish list, or takes the time to keep theirs up-to-date. If that’s the case, you can always ask your bookworm for a list of titles they would be interested in receiving as a gift. You might also consider getting them a special edition of a favorite book or series, such as an annotated edition or illustrated copy.
Audiobooks and audio dramas are also an excellent gift idea for bookworms who enjoy listening to books during their commute to work, or while they go for a walk.
Or, if your bookworm enjoys cooking, then they might be interested in getting a cookbook based on a favorite book or series. You can currently find cookbooks based on novels such as Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Little Women, and Outlander. You can also find more general literary cookbooks that include recipes inspired by various books.
Book Subscription Boxes
If you want to surprise your bookworm with a more long-term gift, a book subscription box is a great way to do it. There are tons of websites that offer monthly book subscription boxes, some of which include both books and other literary-themed items. Fair warning, these boxes can be rather expensive, and the cost is usually dependent on what is included in the box. Boxes that only include books seem to be a little less expensive, but a gift subscription could easily cost you upwards of $40 per month.
Bookmarks make amazing stocking suffers! You can find tons of unique designs at local bookstores and online. Many of the bookmarks that you will find in bookstores will be singles, but you can find bookmark assortments (for both children and adults) at various online retailers. One of my favorite places to find unique, handmade bookmarks is on Etsy.
Whether your bookworm is into jewelry, hats, t-shirts, or other apparel, you can find a considerable number of options at various online retailers. Personally, I enjoy apparel that is related to my favorite books and series (such as my hobbit slippers), but you can also find items with a more general literary theme.
If you are looking for unique apparel for a specific genre or fandom, I highly recommend checking out TeeFury. In addition to offering two brand new designs every day, TeeFury has a considerable number of book-related designs to choose from, which can be printed on everything from t-shirts and hoodies, to posters and mugs. Some designs can also be printed on face masks.
The household goods category encompasses a wide range of products, including home decor. This can be a tricky gift, because everyone has very different preferences when it comes to these types of items. If you are considering literary-themed decor, you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with your bookworm’s decorating style before making any purchases. I would also recommend avoiding large decorative items, unless it’s something you know the recipient will love…and you know that they have room for it in their home.
Here are a few suggestions of useful household goods that won’t take up a lot of space in your bookworm’s home:
- Kitchen towels
- Hot pads or oven mitts
- Warm blankets
- Throw pillows
Movies and Television Adaptations
2020 hasn’t been a very good year for movie releases, and many of the titles I would probably recommend have yet to come out in theaters, let alone on DVD or BluRay. That being said, movie and television adaptations of favorite books are a great gift option for bookworms who also enjoy spending time in front of the television. You can even pair the movie with a copy of the book it is based on, if your bookworm hasn’t already read the book.
If you’re interested in reading my thoughts about specific movie adaptations, you might like to check out the Books vs. Movies section of my website.
Whether your reader is a child or adult, toys and games can be a fun holiday gift. This includes everything from action figures and Funko POPs, to fandom-themed versions of classic board and card games, to movie prop replicas and statues.
While companies like Funko have released POP figures of a few well-known authors (such as Edgar Allan Poe and Dr. Seuss), most of the book-related toys and games that you will find are going to be related to their movie adaptations.
Some book/movie fandoms that are fairly easy to find toys and other collectables for include, but are not limited to: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. Toys, games, and collectables based on Marvel and DC comic books (along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe) are also very easy to find.
If your bookworm prefers games, titles such as Rory’s Story Cubes and Untold: Adventures Await will allow them to create their own stories, using a set of illustrated dice. You can also find a significant number of puzzles with library/bookstore images.
Whether you’re shopping for a fellow reader, a difficult-to-buy-for bookworm, or even yourself, I hope that this post has given you some ideas that will make gift giving a little less stressful this year!
I hope you have a safe, fun time shopping for the holidays!