Whenever I am contemplating getting gifts for my family at Christmas, or their birthdays, I usually arrange their gifts according to this list which I found a few years ago. According to this list, people should receive 4 types of gifts:

  1. Something they want.
  2. Something they need.
  3. Something to eat.
  4. Something to read.

I find that when I follow such a list, I always choose gifts that are liked and appreciated by the recipient. For example, I knew immediately when my husband opened his shortbread gift that it was something he would enjoy. It’s very satisfying to receive a gift you really like, especially when it’s one you might not have asked for, but just loved once opened.

Thinking about the gift list has caused me to wonder what a proper list for book gifts would look like. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. A book that you want: I will often add a book that I want to the gift list I build for family members who ask for it. Over this holiday, I have been reading a book By Christine LeGrow and Shirley A. Scott called Saltwater Mittens. It is a beautiful knitting book with mittens of the kind that were typically made in Newfoundland. I am trying to learn how to make mittens as well as I make socks or scarves, and these would be beautiful, typical Canadian mittens to make.
  2. A book that you need: Need is a tricky word when it comes to books, although the next in a series or a book that one must read for work or one’s book club would count.
  3. A do-it-yourself book of some type could replace the “Something to eat” category above. Can’t we all think of some new skill we’d like to learn – there is certainly no shortage of self-help books and almost everyone can think of one that they might like or that a friend might enjoy.
  4. Finally, such a list really deserves one item that a person can use while reading: a snack, or a new kind of tea, or a warm wrap or scented candle. An item that can add to a person’s reading pleasure is a special kind of gift.

Those are my ideas for a proper list for book gifts, but I am certainly interested in everybody’s ideas – I’d love to have a good book gift list to work from for friends and family. I also love receiving the perfect book!

(Note: This image is from National Public Radio’s 2019 Book List Concierge – a list of 350 books compiled of recommendations from staff and critics)


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