I’m shopping today–late this year due to two weeks of flu knocking me to my knees–and I’m reminded of Christmases past–and faux pas committed on behalf of well-meaning family members (not mine, but those of other writers).
There’s the writer wife who left hints–some subtle and some bold, including a sale circular taped to the refrigerator door–and still ended up with a lovely piece of crystal when all she’d yearned for had been a fax.
There’s the writer husband who left hints–including an explicit, written addition to a shopping list–and still ended up without the gift card from the office supply store he wanted because his darling wife “wanted to surprise” him. She did, of course, but not in the way she’d hoped.
Then there’s the writer who wanted books–novels to read–and got Quick Books, so the writer could do the spouse’s business’s bookkeeping. (Yeah, that went over well. :))
And the spouse who got a trip to Italy when the sole item on her wish list was to attend a writer’s conference–which now, she could not attend because of the expensive trip to Italy.
For those of you shopping for writers. Here’s the thing. Writers are very easy to please. If you want a cannot fail gift, give them a card for an office supply store. The writer will feel they’re in heaven–and that they’ve got the most thoughtful person in the world shopping for them. Why? Because of the thought, the acknowledgment that writing is important to the writer–and you know that and place value on it.
If you want something more personal, consider a special pen or notebook. Flag tapes, post-it-notes, banker’s clips. None of these are expensive items, but you would be amazed at how many times on writer’s chat loops they’re discussed. A specific type of paper. A specific pen. Pastel or neon post-its. A little organization caddy for these tiny things. Anything related brings smiles to the writer’s face and warms his or her heart.
And if you’re flat broke and cannot afford a gift, there are heart-warming things you can do:
1. Have you read an author’s book and loved it? If so, go to amazon.com or bn.com or another online store and post a review.
2. Write a fan letter. Listen, these are so treasured by authors. And they don’t care if they’re emailed or written on a paper towel. It is the thought–hearing what you have to say–that counts.
3. Give the writer the gift of time. Watch the kids for an hour so s/he can write. If you are the kid, then give the writer a coupon.
Years ago–and this remains one of my most favorite gifts ever–my daughter gave me 20 coupons. She’d handwritten them on squares of paper she’d cut. Each was good for her to bring me a cup of coffee. Considering my office was upstairs and the coffee was downstairs, this was a really, really thoughtful gift. I loved it–and to give it, boy, she loved me. 🙂
Office supplies and coupons. For writers, it just doesn’t get much better than this!