Monday, December 10, 2007

Top ten gift ideas for writerly types

This is the time of year when my family gets annoyed with me. My younger daughter is a perfect example. She asks, "What do you want for Christmas?" Then before I can utter a syllable she says with disdain, "Oh, I know! Legal pads and stamps, right?" Truth is, I like practical gifts for myself--things that can be used in my home office-- though I don't apply that to others. When I select a gift for someone, I honestly try to pick something he or she would like rather than what I want to give. Being a freelancer produces special needs, so here are my top ten suggestions for the writer on your list. I can't guarantee this is what your writer will want. I can guarantee these items are/would be useful to me. I've included helpful remarks below each item.

(Drum roll begins).

1. Postage stamps
I know, they're almost obsolete, right? But when you need a stamp you gotta' have one and I always seem to run low. I don't need enough of them to go the online postage route and if I can avoid a trip to the postal center I do.

2. Starbucks or Panera gift card
In every city I've traveled to (well, almost every city), I look for coffee. Enough said.

3. A good bottle of wine
That doesn't necessarily mean you break the bank by selecting the most expensive bottle you can afford. If you don't drink (my sympathies to you on that note), visit a good wine shop and talk to the salesperson. A bottle of wine is good for occasions when you sign that exciting contract or when you screw up big time.

4. Sparco Brand Reporter's Notebooks
My favorite. If your writer does interviews, this is the way to go. I get mine from

5. Multipurpose paper, 8 1/2" x 11", preferably recycled, and/or paper clips (jumbo size)
Do I really need to explain this one? I didn't think so.

6. Gas card
Gas is the hidden expense that goes on taking all year long. Despite the fact gas prices have risen to a point parallel to the tip of Mt. Everest, rates for my freelance brethren and me are static. So a gas card will bring a smile to any freelancer's face. Unless of course he or she relies on public transportation or uses a bike, neither of which is doable for many of us.

7. Gift card to a restaurant
Always helpful despite the fact many of us eat in Mom&Pop restaurants that don't sell gift cards.

8. Red pens
Somebody always takes my red pen and I really need these not only to correct spelling and grammar on my first drafts but also to add the brilliant afterthoughts that will delight my editors and readers. Plus it's more fun to doodle with a red pen when you're locked into one of those long, drawn-out phone calls you'd love to conclude but can't find a polite or honest way to do so.

9. Gift card for books
Any bookstore will do.

10. Item for neurotic moments
This one has some wiggle room. Try a squeeze ball or something that can be hurled at the wall without causing damage to the wall or anything else. This is because if you work as a writer, you are guaranteed moments when you will need to throw something at something. I once threw my pencil sharpener into the back yard, and that was not a good idea because then I had to purchase another pencil sharpener.


Cheryl said...

Someone gave me a Borders gift card AND a card for Starbucks! That took the sting out of turning 57.

Cheers, Kay!

Kay Day said...

Now those are great gifts. Happy birthday to you! Always great to see you here, Cheryl. best, Kay

Sun Singer said...

The wine and the gift card for books work for me. Also, a box filled with stuff that seldom runs out but when it does it's a hassle to find, e.g., the staples that fit my old stapler, tube lamps (why are they so expensive anyway), ink cartridges for old pens.

I hope you get everything on the list.


Kay Day said...

Malcolm, my family always laughs when I answer their questions about what I want. And I think the wine is the best of all! :) Always good to see your comments-- best, Kay

Anonymous said...

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