By Bob Hostetler

Writers’ magazines often feature suggested Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for writers: fancy pens, award-winning books, writing aids, and coffee mugs sporting famous writers’ mugs. But those gifts are intended to be received by writers; what about the writer who has trouble finding gifts to give? I’m so glad you asked.


The following list is intended to suggest thoughtful and meaningful gifts for writers to give this holiday season:

  • write a letter to your parent(s), thanking them for the things they did right in raising you;
  • purchase a blank journal for a friend or loved one, and write short messages of gratitude and encouragement atop each page before giving it to him or her;
  • write an original love poem for your husband or wife;
  • create your own book titled 101 Things to Be Thankful For(or, if you’re a grammar purist, 101 Things for Which to Be Thankful) listing one praiseworthy thing particular to the intended recipient on each page;
  • write an affectionate letter of remembrance to your sibling(s), recalling the highlights of your childhood together;
  • pen an original prayer for someone;
  • have some special nicknames or terms of endearment for some of your friends or family members? Order mugs or other keepsakes using the best of them;
  • print an original, personalized award certificate for each family member, emphasizing each person’s unique and praiseworthy qualities (awards might include phrases like, “Best Red-Haired Volleyball-Playing Animal-Loving Math-Excelling Daughter in the world!”);
  • write a “Book of Promises” to someone you love;
  • create an “Encouragement Basket,” stuffed with rolled, ribbon-tied slips of paper containing specific messages of encouragement for someone. The basket can be placed on a counter or makeup table and a new message read each day;
  • still have love notes or letters from you and your spouse’s dating days? Dig them out and frame a few of the best, or bind them all into an album;
  • write and bind an anecdotal family history, complete with photographs, to give to your children the Christmas before they leave for college, or to your parents on an anniversary or retirement date (or, if you’ve sent Christmas newsletters for a number of years, collect past copies and bind them together).

These are just a few ideas, but if this holiday season you give the gift of “a word fitly spoken”—or written—it may shine brighter than “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, King James Version of the Bible).

Bob Hostetler is an award-winning author, literary agent, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His 50 books, which include the award-winning Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (co-authored with Josh McDowell) and The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, have sold millions of copies. Bob is also the executive director of the Christian Writers Institute. Bob will represent the Steve Laube Literary Agency and teach an intensive coaching class “Your Best Book Now!” at the 2018 OCW Summer Conference, August 20–23.

This article first appeared on the Steve Laube Literary Agency blog November 15, 2017.