The Best Christmas Gifts This Writer Has Ever Received

Buying that perfect Christmas gift is always a challenge, but if someone on your list this year is a writer (or if that writer is you), here are some ideas straight from my top-ten list of personal faves. The following were gifts from thoughtful family and friends who know I’m a writer and chose accordingly. (Admittedly, not all of these were Christmas gifts, and actually a few I bought for myself, but who’s keeping score…?)

The Top 10 Writing Gifts I’ve Ever Received

(Some links are Amazon affiliate links.)

1. Scrivener

I’ve long loved this all-purpose writing software, with its supreme adaptability and its myriad nooks and crannies for organization of scenes, chapters, and notes galore. I was psyched when the Scrivener 3 for Windows update finally came out last year, although I’ve yet to play with it much.

(If you’re looking for digital gifts for your fellow writer, there’s always my Outlining Your Novel Workbook program as well.)

2. Writer’s Digest Subscription

Starting in my early twenties, my mom bought me a Writer’s Digest subscription every Christmas. Receiving and reading this magazine every month for many years was transformative for me both as a writer and a professional.

3. Writing Books

Writing books are always on my wishlist. I focused the entirety of last year’s Christmas-gift post on some of my favorite writing books, so I’ll just point you there again this year.

4. Thermos Coffee Travel Mug

In a period when I was taking my writing outside a lot (yes, in the winter), my dad bought me the best to-go coffee mug I’ve ever had. I swear the coffee gets hotter the longer it stays in this thing. Perfect for on-the-go inspiration in the great wintery outdoors.

5. Swannies Blue-Light Glasses

These were a present from me to me. After a terrible eye strain two years ago, I upgraded my anti-blue light glasses to these babies (and added a hardcore nighttime pair as well). For all those times when I’m not braving the chill to write outside, these keep me looking pretty scholarly at the computer.

6. Ergonomic Pen

Ergonomic Pen

For a cheap stocking stuffer-priced gift, this thing has stayed with me longer than any pen I own. Because I prefer brainstorming my outlines longhand in a notebook, I love this pen for protecting me from hand cramps and keeping me going. It goes through ink refills pretty fast, but mine is ink-stained and well-loved at this point.

7. Skyworld Album by Two Steps From Hell

Okay, so this was actually a gift I bought for someone else, but I loved it so much I had to get it for myself as well. Two Steps From Hell is pretty much my all-time favorite writing music, and this album is one of my tops. It was pretty much the soundtrack for my gaslamp fantasy Wayfarer.

8. Eccolo World Traveler Journals

I really like Eccolo’s “World Traveller” notebooks/journals, especially the legal-sized variety. The lines are spaced just right—not too tight, not too loose—to contain my wild scrawl. Plus, I like the beautiful covers and their silky-smooth texture.

9. Fingerless Gloves

My brother-in-law got me a pair of these for his first Christmas with my family. They’re necessary winter staples for me when typing (or, you know, writing outside).


10. Antique Typewriter

In some of my photos around social media, you may have noticed my gorgeous old Smith & Corona typewriter. I can’t tell you where to get one (other than eBay maybe), but this is probably my all-time favorite gift. My brother found it for me in Goodwill long ago, and despite the fact that it might weigh more than I do, I’m still hauling it around. It sits on my bookcase in my office right now.


 For more ideas, you can also check out my own series of writing books. Merry Christmas, everyone!

For more Christmas gifts for writers:

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What are the best writing gifts you’ve ever received for Christmas? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Cliff Farris says

    Years ago, my wife bought me a Mont Blanc fountain pen. I am using it to hand-write my first drafts and find the flow of creative words and unmatched writing experience to be exceptional. Ball-point pens cause me hand cramps after a while, the ink pen never.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Nice! I’ve played around with fountain pens, but have yet to find one that works for me and my already very inky scrawl. 😉

  2. David Benoit says

    I bought a subscription to the “Outlining Your Novel Workbook” a few years ago and installed it. Unfortunately a few months ago my computer fritzed out and had to be replaced. Without your workbook software on it. Is there any way I can reinstall it with a link or download somehow?

  3. I love your list. Eighth grade, I reconnected with a long lost friend and we bonded over a love of writing. Then I wished aloud that there was a magazine for writers. Her eyes lit up, and she ran to her room. She returned with a copy of Writer’s Digest, and tore off the subscription card and gave it to me. To this day I’m grateful. I own a bunch of their books that I still find useful today.

    Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary is definitely a favorite. I spent my childhood having my parents take me from one library to another every time I wondered how a word was spelled or what it meant (they thought I was only getting books). I already owned a brickhouse of a dictionary — a beloved Christmas gift — but while it was “lexiconic encyclopedic,” it was still missing words. Somewhere between “crèche” from “Dune,” and “lich-gate” from an Elizabeth George novel, I decided my dictionary had failed me for the last time. So when I realized the libraries were using unabridged dictionaries, I asked for the Webster’s unabridged for Christmas.

    Roget’s International Thesaurus, 4th Edition (complete and unabridged) was swag from a writing contest I was in. I never knew thesauri existed until then. Unleashing its power was so thrilling!

    Speaking of typewriters, my parents gave me a manual typewriter for Christmas in the 4th grade. It was a beige Royal monstrosity and its idiosyncracies mystified me utterly — why were the capital letters above the baseline from the lowercase letters?! Come Christmas in sixth grade, my parents upgraded me to an electric Smith-Corona Mark IX. It was grey. Happily, my loving parents never complained about me banging away at it after midnight on summer vacations.

    A few years ago I found out some manual typewriters were 1) portable, and 2) came in pretty colors such as red, Tiffany blue, or pink. They looked like fun. On that note, if anyone is using a boring grey laptop, you may appreciate They make artistic, adhesive-backed vinyl skins for your laptop cover (or tablet or phone) that you can easily remove if you wish. I love for my tools to have form and function. Beauty feeds the soul.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I don’t actually use my typewriter(s) for writing. My wrists thank me for sticking with a keyboard. :p

  4. My daughter gave me a copy of The Oxford American Thesaurus that is sitting open on my desk at this very moment. One of the best, most useful, writers’ gifts I have ever received.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I have the double-volume Oxford dictionary set, and I love it. I got it mostly to get etymological dates for historical fiction.

  5. James Mecham says

    Great list!
    A gift my wife is getting me this year (so haven’t gotten it yet):
    Qwerkywriter keyboard.
    Simulates old fashioned manual typewriters, blue tooth links to PCs and tablets.
    Idea from Author Jerry Jenkins.
    Merry Christmas!

  6. James Mecham says

    Great list!
    A gift my wife is getting me this year (so haven’t gotten it yet):
    Qwerkywriter keyboard.
    Simulates old fashioned manual typewriters, blue tooth links to PCs and tablets.
    Idea from Author Jerry Jenkins.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. I gave MYSELF Scrivener this year for my birthday. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.
    And I have my father’s antique Royal typewriter (and you are right about the HEAVY part!) It is a precious reminder of him and of my mom, who lugged it around herself after his death, and who ALWAYS wanted me “to write my books.”
    When I revive my website, I’m going to post about that typewriter!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Scrivener has lots of competitors these days, almost none of which I’ve tried, since I always say that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I am interested in Dave Chesson’s Atticus, since it looks to have superior e-book exporting capabilities. But I haven’t settled in to try it out with a new project yet.

  8. There will never be enough pens on my desk, in my drawers, or stuffed into pencil cases. I really like to brainstorm and outline by hand. So a smooth pen is a must. Right now I’m using Paper Mate inkjoy gel pens. They would be great stocking stuffers. As well as a good mechanical pencil. I use the Alvin draft-matic (which has a nice weighty body) and the Staedtler 925 (lighter body). 

    I also brought a Rocketbook notebook recently so I can scan my handwritten notes and upload them onto my computer for easier access. I wish there were a few more pages in the notebook because I like to write on a thick stack of paper. But overall I think it’s fantastic. 

    I’ve been itching for a typewriter recently, but the idea of how much maintenance is required to keep it in working order intimates me.

  9. Thank you! I think both of my kids could benefit from those pens!

  10. Colleen F Janik says

    Best writing gift I ever received was one I selected at an antique shop. Out of all the gorgeous oak furniture and treasures in there, I picked out the coolest vintage silver metal industrial sized note card holder for five by eight cards. It looks and smells like something that my inventer father would have had on his desk. It still had some of the old yellowed cards in it, too. Very cool. Anything that looks like it was dragged out of an abandoned barn inspires the socks off of me and makes me deliriously happy.
    I love your antique typewriter!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That sounds lovely! Speaking of antiques, I’ve always thought an antique lapdesk would be pretty cool.

  11. Personally, your books are what I recommend people buy for a writer (if they don’t already have them.)

  12. Great list. I like that you included music. I’m not familiar with Skyworld, I’m a bluegrass guy myself, but music is a great gift for an author. Every now and then I need silence, but for the most part, I slap on a playlist with lots of songs I like and that gets me in the mood. Looking at this, I started pondering starting to sing when I’m doing my read aloud edits to help build out the rhythm in my writing. I think this is something I’ll need to experiment with a bit.

  13. I adore my Roget’s Thesaurus. It’s one of the most amazing books I have ever seen. There is absolutely nothing like it, online or in print. It only takes a few minutes to learn how to use it, but that small investment enables me to take a deep dive into words.

    I never use Roget’s to find obscure words. I use it to remind myself of the many word choices I have amongst words I already know. I also use it to deepen my apprehension of a poetry prompt. I spend some time with Mr. Roget and I not only have a richer understanding of the prompt, the ideas start to fly.

    When I moved overseas I took my Roget’s.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ve always used an Encarta dictionary/thesaurus for my computer. I’ve been nursing it along for years, but I have a feeling it won’t be able to make the next computer upgrade with me.

  14. This year I asked my husband for two nights at a hotel by myself to get some writing done. We have two small kids and I teach middle school, so it’s rare for me to get long stretches of time to write.

  15. Lori, I pet sit. Free accommodations and animal company. I get a lot done. I joined a house/pet sitting site. Lately I have been getting quite a few local sits from word-of-mouth.

    Hotel’s are awfully nice, too. Awfully nice.

  16. Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing.
    I love my Qwerkywriter keyboard, my favorite gift! I also found these candles recently.

  17. For Christmas this year, I’m thinking of gifting myself with Scrivener, an investment of not only money but also the time/patience to time to learn it. I’m also curious about yWriter. To date, I’ve just used old-school Word and desktop folders, which of course is unwieldy. For a first-time user like me, it sounds like you’d recommend Scrivener? Thanks for any input. And thanks for your books on writing, all of which I own and have read and re-read.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I used yWriter back in the day, before Scrivener, and I loved it. However, Scrivener is ultimately superior, even though it has a steeper learning curve.

  18. I use Dabble writer. I took one look at Scrivener and decided life is too short for big leaning curves. I love Dabble. The only learning curve was the plot grid, but they now have videos which make it easy to figure out how to use.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, there are so many good writing programs out there these days, that it is just a matter of finding the one that is your best fit.

  19. Tristan P. says

    I once received what I thought was the oddest variation of your #9 gift but proved to be very useful: USB gloves. They actually have heating elements inside that warm your hands while you write. Sadly, I don’t think they plug into electric typewriters….

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