Etsy Find Fridays: For the reader who has everything

It’s almost Christmastime, friends — something you’ve probably noticed while checking out neighbors’ lights displays, digging out favorite holiday albums or almost colliding with one of the many distracted drivers clogging up the roads leading to the local mall.

After going shopping with my dad and sister on Black Friday, an annual tradition, I’ve tried to avoid stores as much as possible the last few weeks. I get antsy in crowds and generally dislike waiting, even if I can see the end of the line. People accidentally pushing into me get on my nerves, and I can’t stand fighting with someone for the last gift basket/candle/bottle of holiday-scented lotion. Not my bag.

Plus, like many web-savvy consumers, I prefer to shop online — unless I truly have no clue what I want to buy and need to browse around (but even that can be done online). And as I’ve blogged before, I’m in love with Etsy, an online marketplace of homemade goods (and occasionally sell things there, too). In the spirit of our upcoming holidays, I’ve scoured the site for some cool reading-related gifts — and now I’m sharing them with you!

If you’re searching for a gift for your literature-loving loved one, here are some items I think are awesome — and definitely worthy of being coveted. Hover over the images for descriptions, and click each photo to view the item on Etsy. If you have favorites to share, feel free to share them in the comments!

Secret Santa drops by!

To say I was excited when I walked in the door yesterday and saw a giant box sitting on the counter would be a terrible understatement! I was practically dancing from foot to foot, dying to crack it open . . . but I wanted to make the suspense last, too.

It was my box of goodies from my Secret Santa, part of the Book Blogger Holiday Swap in which I participated this year! And, apparently, I’ve been a very good girl this year (I have, by the way). My fantastic Santa sent me two books by Elizabeth Scott — Love You, Hate You, Miss You and Stealing Heaven, both on my wishlist! In addition to the books, I opened a gorgeous red mug filled with candy (mmm, bite-sized Snickers!), a pink “to do” list, pink Post-It notes with really cute patterns (love it) and a container of paperclips and really cute office supplies!

Santa, you know me too well — and you were so very, very generous. Thank you so much — I love everything! Though she remained a mystery at first, my Secret Santa this year was the very sweet Andi of Estella’s Revenge — who, coincidentally, was my Santee! We got each other! Too fun. Merry Christmas!

Musing Mondays: Books under the tree

musing_mondays The week of Christmas! I’m so excited. Here’s this week’s question:

In these last few days before Christmas, I’m sure there are plenty of us scrambling to get our last minute shopping done. Are you buying any books for friends or family (or even yourself)? Do you expect to receive any bookish gifts from others — books, or book-related?

I’ve definitely purchased quite a few books for family and friends this year, partly because I always buy books as gifts and partly because I was trying to do my part to help the publishing industry. I can’t divulge any gift secrets, unfortunately, but suffice it to say I think everyone will be pretty happy with their book presents this year! And I absolutely hope to get books myself. I dropped quite a few hints with my sister and hope she came through getting a certain hardcover I’ve been pining over . . . all will be revealed on Thursday!

Booking Through Thursday: Books as gifts

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

Do you give books as gifts? To everyone? Or only to select people?

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I absolutely give books as gifts . . . in fact, I think books are some of the best gifts of all! There’s absolutely a book out there for everyone — whether it’s a mystery, a romance, some literary fiction, a World War II discussion, a recipe book — and books provide entertainment and knowledge all in one neat package!

I don’t necessarily give books to everyone, but I almost always get books as gifts for my parents and sister. We all enjoy reading for fun and I like finding something that I know will be a bit of a surprise to unwrap! When I was working often in the bookstore, I found potential gift books all the time. I would dutifully copy down the ISBN and other information and store it away birthdays and holidays.

And I love to get books as gifts — again, they’re some of the best gifts! I get so excited when I crack the spine of a fresh book, pour through the inside and skim over the back cover. My wish list is ever growing!

Shopping early for personalized gifts

Rudy wrestles with Katie and his stocking last Christmas

Rudy wrestles with Katie and his stocking last Christmas

Now that Halloween has passed, November is here and Thanksgiving is the next holiday on our horizon, I don’t feel quite so bad talking about Christmas already! And, more importantly, Christmas shopping. I know everyone is worried about money, is watching their money, has no money, etc., but the holidays will arrive regardless of the size of our bank accounts.

Like most people I know, we’re all having to scale back this year — and carefully choose gifts for, perhaps, quality over just making sure we have a massive quantity. I figure I should start investing some time looking for personalized, unique items to present, and these will make a bigger impression (and cost less) than running out to Kohl’s or Target, grabbing a whole mess of stuff and throwing it in a gift bag. Though that can be fun sometimes, too!

That being said, I’m having to actually scour the Internet looking for fun, different things — and this is beginning to make my brain hurt. The constant hunt for better deals, coupon codes, cool ornaments or other gifts and awesome prices on jewelry is getting to be a little stress-inducing. I have my sister largely covered already — and hopefully she’s not reading this post — but I’ve yet to really tackle gift ideas for my boyfriend. And, to top it off, I also need a gift for Palmer to celebrate our two-year anniversary in November! And as he’s preparing to leave for the military, it can’t be something he’ll have to store or really leave behind. I guess, ideally, it should be edible — or a gift card. At least buying for our dog Rudy is simple enough — a bag of bones, a new toy or two and he’s ready to rock and roll. Does he know it’s Christmas? I think he does!

address_labelsSo far, I’m liking the look of . . . address labels! Yes, a little kooky, I know. But my sister requested some after going through her stash and, checking out everything over at Colorful Images, I actually think it’s a pretty cute idea. I ordered some for my friend Christina as a part of her wedding gift — a present with her new family name on it, as well as their new address. I thought that was pretty clever, though I can’t take all the credit — my mom schemed up that one. But they have a million and one options, they’re not very expensive (around $8.99 a set, which is several sheets, and you get an additional discount when you order more than one set). They have other cute stuff, too, but I’m sticking with the labels.

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Booking Through Thursday: Book gifts

booking_through_thurs It’s Thursday again — and we all know what that means! Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

‘What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”’

My parents have always been huge proponents of reading — and, arguably, that’s probably the reason I went on to major in English Literature in college, work as an editor and aspire to be a novelist myself. My mom and dad have been giving my sister and I books from the time we were born, and many of our favorite memories include sitting around with my parents reading The Berenstein Bears collection (the Halloween versions and “junk food” were usually our favorites!) or Little Critters. My mom always writes beautiful inscriptions inside, too.


Not mine, but I have a ton of snowglobes from Florida!

The first book that really comes to mind out of all the books I’ve received over the years, though, is a book on snowglobes my dad got me for Christmas when I was probably around eight. I was obsessed with waterglobes as a child — I picked them up on all of our family vacations, requested them from friends and family and squealed when my grandparents would buy me the super large snowglobes for Christmas or my birthday. My dad found a book, aptly titled Snowglobes, and I still have it on the bottom bookshelf in my room. It’s a picture collection of snowglobes from all over the world — and is highly illustrated, of course! I was reading then but still loves seeing all the pretty pictures. My dad, sister and I used to sit and pour through all the pictures, pointing out our favorites. I remember a two-page spread near the back was full of one woman’s entire collection and I was mesmorized by the sheer number of snowglobes all in one place.

I still love waterglobes — and still get excited when I see them out. I’ve had to pack up my own large collection for space reasons but can’t see myself ever getting rid of them! And I usually bring back one or two from all my trips. As I type this, I have a tiny, pretty one from San Gimignano, Italy just next to my work phone! There’s something sort of magical about them.

It was so special because it was from my dad, I know, and I think that’s a lot of the reason why I still have so many books from when my sister and I were younger. We have many from our grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends . . . and it’s exciting to get books, I think!

And thanks, Dad, for fostering my snowglobe love at such a young age!