Writer in your life? Unique gift suggestions

Writers Xmas 2022 Art

The holidays are around the corner—and I’m posting this now so that, if you’ve got a writer in your life and you choose some of the more time-consuming or ordered gifts on this list, you’ve got time to make or get them before the days arrive.

As a writer, I get showered with lots of wonderful gifts related to my profession. There are always the obvious choices: journals, mugs, pens. If you don’t want to give your friend another journal, mug, or pen? Here are some other ideas.


Shower/Magnetic Notepads: $10-$20

Thoughts come at the most inopportune times—including the shower! Waterproof notepads changed my life, and these sets have suction cups for easy, not permanent/non damaging attachment to the shower wall. They also include pencils with suction cups, so everything your writer friend needs is handy and those precious thoughts don’t wash away! Find these easily on Amazon. Just type in AQUA NOTES or WATERPROOF NOTEPADS.

Magnetic notepads are also a wonderful idea, and you can find these most anywhere—at stores like Christmas Tree Shops and Job Lot, Target, and even Michael’s Craft Stores. Magnetic notepads stick on the sides of refrigerators and anything else metal, and are mostly used for grocery lists and such—but alternatively, they’re a great grab for a quick note. These are also very cost-effective. Depending on the store, you can get them for as little as a couple of dollars.

Unique Sticky Notes: $7-$15

Cool Sticky Notes

I’ve already said we’re constantly making notes—those words in our heads sometimes just don’t hang around long. Sticky notes, like Post-Its, are very helpful if we have to scribble something on a manuscript we’ve already written but there isn’t enough room on the page or add to other note pages for a specific project so we can keep everything organized—there’s nothing worse than stacks of random slips of paper from umpteen different stories I have to sort through.

While you can always go with the standard sticky notes you find in stores, if you can’t find any interesting ones at your local shop, search on COOL STICKY NOTES on Google or Amazon. Tons of fun things come up.

You can also make custom ones on Shutterfly, but those will cost a little bit plus shipping.

Three-ring binder with sheet protectors: $20-$25

All writers have those favorite reviews or clips they want to preserve and/or show off, as well as a thousand slips of random paper where notes are scribbled. A three-ring binder with sheet protectors can come in handy for both purposes.

Humorous cocktail napkins and holder/basket: $10-$20

Cocktail Napkin

We’re always eating or drinking at our desks. Some cute cocktail napkins in a napkin holder or small basket that’ll fit on the desk corner is a great idea. You can put a little note in it that says For Those Working Lunches and Snacks.

A reflection on something your writer friend has written and how it affected you: practically free

As writers, we’re constantly working with others on improving our craft—which means getting lots of feedback and hearing about things that need improvement/work. Although we do get compliments, too, the most important thing we don’t hear enough is how a piece of our writing may have affected someone. If you’ve read a short story, poem, or novel a writer-friend of yours has written, you can write a note, make a short audio recording or video clip—and go beyond saying just “I really liked/love it.” Tell your writer-friend why you loved that particular piece so much; what it meant to you, how it impacted you. If it inspired you to go visit one of their settings or do make something of your own or even do research or make peace with your past, you can tell him/her that too. You have no idea how much that gift—which will cost you nothing—will be cherished for years to come.

Location-specific coffee/tea and/or snacks: $20-$30

This might seem obvious, but here’s the twist: did your writing friend set a recent project in a specific location? If so, you can find out what kinds of coffees, teas, or snacks are from that place and make a small treat basket. For example, my most recent project was set in Texas, so my sister got me a bag of H-E-B Austin coffee, some candied pecans, and a “Don’t Mess with Texas” notepad. Set in an apple orchard? Go with apple tarts/cookies, apple-flavored tea, and an apple-scented candle. As writers, we frequently immerse ourselves in the worlds we’re creating—and if we don’t live in those worlds in reality, every little bit helps. At the very least? You can find out what your friend’s favorite hot beverage and/or treat of choice is, and just get that.

Publishing-related Gift Cards: you decide the cost

This one might seem obvious and lame, but when our work gets published, we like to have at least one or two copies of the volumes in which our work appears. I’ve always suspected many people think we have access to all the books we’re in for free, and that’s just not true. Many writers may get one free copy and/or have the opportunity to buy a few copies at cost direct from the publisher, but that’s about it. In addition, some of us—like me—do like to purchase a copy or two at full price as a way of supporting the indie press or the charity that the anthology is benefiting. A couple of gift certificates/cards from a local bookstore, a recent publisher of your friend’s work—or, I hate to say it, Amazon—can be very helpful.

Candle/unique candle holder: $20-$50


Fire creates and drives energy, so candles are an absolute must for most writers—and a candle holder that reflects your friend’s personality/genre specialization is also a wonderful complement or stand alone. My personal favorites for gift candles are Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle—both candles last a long time, and Bath & Body really scents the room—and both places carry unique candle holders (the only caveat being that they tend to stick to the season, so if you’re looking for something that’s not seasonal-specific, online outlets are probably a better choice). If you’re going to choose Yankee Candle, though, I’d go with the votives—their jar candles, for some reason, tend to gut in the middle and you end up tossing the candle before it’s even half gone, whereas Bath & Body Works really does burn completely to the bottom. Don’t forget to include a wick trimmer, which helps those candles burn even longer!

A homemade item featuring something your writing friend has gotten published: you decide the cost

You can make just about anything that connects to a short story your friend had published—a coffee mug or notebook on Shutterfly, an ornament if you’re crafty, even a framed photo. How does this work? Check out these ornaments my friend Barbara made me for Christmas 2021. She asked me for photos that represented a couple of my published stories, picked up ornament cut-outs at Michael’s, and made these.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.

Posted on November 1, 2022, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. These are great ideas! Thank you.:-)

  2. I am so glad one other person in the world has discovered Aqua Notes! And I’m so glad it’s you!

    • OMG!! I am equally happy the only other person I know who uses these is YOU!! THEY ARE FANTASTIC. I seriously don’t know how I lived before them. I write so much crap in the shower. If I didn’t have these notepads, I’d lose a lot of really great language.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: