Buying books for Christmas gifts is tricky. You think you know what the other person will like, you hope they’ll enjoy this book that you enjoyed, but truly you don’t know if they will actually fall in love with it like you did, let alone open it up.
A few months ago I read a book I thought my dad would like. The book’s main character was very similar to my dad and I knew he’d see himself in it and enjoy it. I lent him my book and he reluctantly read it.
He did not enjoy it. I think it physically pained him to read it.
I feel this does not reflect badly on my book recommendations, but on the fact that my dad doesn’t know a good book when he reads it. This is my unbiased, professional reader opinion. Lesson learned: I will force you to love a book whether you want to or not.
If you’re like me and know what people like to read better than they do, here are some great Christmas gift ideas:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (my review) (link to buy)
This would make a great book for anyone who loves historical fiction or appreciates a beautiful story. It’s a haunting story that will stay with the reader for a long time and I assume they’ll be turning it into a movie sometime soon.
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (my review) (link to buy)
This book of short memoir-style essays would be great for a busy woman who wants to read more but can only handle small texts because of life, time, and exhaustion. Doyle Melton is entertaining, smart, and humorous. (I also feel like I need to say, her new book is the opposite of this one and not for the faint of heart. Also, I feel like she’s becoming more and more for the masses and less about Jesus so that’s just a word of caution.)
Rosemary The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson (my review) (link to buy)
I bought this for my grandma this year. Apparently she loves the Kennedys. I don’t especially love the Kennedys but this book was so engaging and interesting nonetheless. Anyone who loves biographies, history, or has connections to kids and mental illness will connect with this shocking and heartbreaking book.
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (my review) (link to buy)
This young adult novel is great for older YA readers and adults. I’ve been using this as a book club selection for my high school students and kids have been freaking out about how much they love it. Get this for a reluctant reader or the kid that can’t consume a book fast enough. It’s good for everyone.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlyn Doughty (my review) (link to buy)
You know what will be a hit for Christmas? A book about death and the death industry. Shocking but true. I’m not a big non-fiction reader but this book full of first person stories, history of death traditions from around the world, and commentary on how we’re doing death wrong is so great. You’re just going to have to take my word for it, but this book is so good.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (my review) (link to buy)
Lawson’s essays on mental illness, dead animals, marriage, and family are the perfect mix of struggle, humor, and hope. She’s not neat and tidy, but she is so entertaining and perfect. If you give this book as a gift, you might want to include her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (my review) also because once someone reads Lawson, they’ll want more immediately.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women (link to buy)
I’ve seen this amazing book going around the internet recently and I ordered it for my girls for Christmas. I don’t care at all that my daughters love to dress up as princesses and pretend they’re getting married, but I also want them to know that’s not their only option for playtime. I can’t wait to read this book with them. Ellie will see herself in the mathematicians and artists in the book, and Harper will love hearing about real life engineers and scientists. I’m just giddy about this purchase.
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (my review) (link to buy)
If you know someone who has a dad, this book would be a good fit. It’s full of entertaining and really funny stories of Halpern’s dad and you can’t help but connect with him. There is a lot of inappropriate language though, so if that’s not your thing, maybe skip this one.
Design Mom: How to Live With Kids by Gabrielle Stanley Blair (my review) (link to buy)
If you’ve got someone on your Christmas list who loves to decorate, remodel, or organize some crap, this book is for them. The pictures are beautiful, the ideas are relateable and real (as opposed to those weird design books that make you feel crappy and poor), and the book is full of things you could implement right away in your own home. Most design books, to me, are off-putting and unrealistic. This one isn’t, and it’s so enjoyable to read.
Do you buy books as Christmas gifts? It’s such a crap shoot, for real. Have any books that would make great gifts? Share them!
Jennifer Roup says
I love giving books for presents! My favorite to give is Wild by Cheryl Strayed and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Good choices! I need to give The Giving Tree more often.
Hannah Beth Reid says
Yes to “All the Light” and “Design Mom”! Thanks for the other suggestions!
I love the way you put things…”I feel this does not reflect badly on my book recommendations, but on the fact that my dad doesn’t know a good book when he reads it. This is my unbiased, professional reader opinion.” Ha!
I just found you, and already I want to be your friend. I’m going to check these out!
We can be best friends. And welcome! 🙂