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Deadline: Thursday, October 21st

The season is upon us yet again, and you may want to pass this list around to friends and family members. Unless, of course, you truly enjoyed your windup Santa doll from last year—the one that rapped a new version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and caused your cat to have seizures from the obnoxious blinking lights.

What do writers really need this holiday? Pass this list out and hope for the best:

Chances are your writer friend already has a glut of coffee mugs, several probably with literary references or motivational quotes on them. More appreciated might be coffee beans or unique tea blends. Or perhaps an IV to pump the caffeine directly into their bloodstream.

Plants are quiet, relatively easy to keep alive, and don’t require much time or attention. They also add much needed oxygen to the room—something all writers can use.

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Instead of pens or pencils, try splurging on ink or printer cartridges for your beleaguered, ink-stained friend. Writers usually have a favorite chewed-down pencil nub or Mark Cross pen from college that they favor, plus a drawerful of less-favored pens and pencils, but those darn cartridges are expensive!

It stands to reason that a writer would like books, wouldn’t it? But writers are usually voracious readers, and you run the risk of getting them a book they either hate, already own, or are jealous of. A gift card to your local bookseller would be safer and much appreciated.

Lottery tickets are cool. So are postage stamps. And bubble wrap is fun to pop when searching for that certain word, that elusive idea. (Writers can be fairly easy to entertain.)

Writers also like snacks that won’t ruin a keyboard if absentmindedly dropped or dribbled, like a jumbo bucket of gourmet popcorn. Beef jerky. Those amazing little macadamia nuts covered in white chocolate…

Best of all would be the gift of a brilliant idea. An introduction to the perfect agent. Or a lucrative contract with Random House.

But the number-one gift writers crave? Time to write. So gather up your friend’s kids, pets, and other distractions, and give them a full day to do what they love. Hopefully, they won’t waste their day popping bubble wrap and overdosing on caffeine and popcorn.

1 Comment

  1. Elissa Field

    What a fun list… and how true about pens and books. Writing journals can be another to avoid: writers who write by hand tend to have idiosyncratic preference to the kind of notebook they use. But always useful: ream of paper, box of large mailing envelopes or gift card to an office supply store

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