15 favorite gifts to give and receive

Our bookish holiday gift guide is only the start of gift giving options, and always leads to this question: Anne, what are YOU giving and hoping to receive this year? I’m not surprised, because I’m always curious about what others enjoy giving and receiving.

To that end, I’m sharing a healthy round-up of gifts I have loved to receive over the years, and some of my go-to gifts, as well as those I know I’ll be giving this year.

(This isn’t the first year I’ve done this: click here for the 2019 edition, with houseplants and puzzles and teapots, oh my!)

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Cozy Blanket

The chilly winter months always have me reaching for a blanket, beverage, and good book. This soft sherpa throw looks like an excellent choice!

CW Pencil Enterprise

The better question is, what don’t I want from CW Pencil Enterprise? (You may recall store owner Caroline Weaver appeared on WSIRN episode 99.) She has everything your pencil-loving heart could ever want, including this melamine pencil tray (my green one sits on my desk) and the best sharpeners EVER.

Espresso Machine

I would love an espresso machine, but have no idea where to begin. Do you have one you love and would recommend?

Anne of Green Gables DVD

I was thrilled that my girls put this on their Christmas wish list. I can’t wait to watch it with them!


We’ve been avid puzzlers during the winter months but since the pandemic started, we always have a puzzle going. There are plenty of amazing puzzles out there; it just depends on what designs will hold your interest. Not only are Cavallini & Co. puzzles beautifully designed, look at how cute the container is for this Vintage Cacti & Succulents puzzle!

Be sure to check out puzzles at independent bookstores—they often have an amazing selection.


We’re giving local-themed candles to our out-of-town friends. My local indie Carmichael’s has a ton of options to browse in the store, like these fun location-themed options from Clark & June.


When I was young, my mom taught me this rule of thumb for gift-giving: think of something your recipient would LOVE, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. For many, a really good bottle of wine from a boutique winemaker meets this description exactly, and this full-bodied red with a name just PERFECT for 2020 (and from a woman-owned vineyard!) is a personal favorite. Or a wine subscription could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens

I love gifting and receiving great writing supplies, and these Frixion pens are favorites.

Cashmere Sweater

Is there such a thing as having too many cozy sweaters? I don’t think so. It’s like giving your loved one—or yourself—a hug. I especially love this cashmere crew, which I own in multiple colors (thanks to gifts of Christmas past).


I love to give and receive tea from my favorites, Rishi Tea (turmeric ginger, please) and Harney and Sons (hot cinnamon spice), and maybe a cute mug, because you can never have too many of those, either. (Fair warning: my kids disagree on that last point.)

Whiskey Stones

Will has his eye on whiskey stones this year. No more worrying about ice melting and diluting your cocktail! These are made of soapstone, and cool your favorite bourbon, scotch, or whiskey in 5 minutes.

American Giant Hoodie

Their slub v-neck t-shirt has become a recent wardrobe staple and I wore my Classic Zip Hoodie so much I bought a second. (I first discovered American Giant when they sponsored WSIRN: use the code READ to get 15% off your first order.)


A coffee subscription is perfect for the hard-to-shop-for coffee drinker. We’re partial to MistoBox, Craft Coffee, and Monarch Coffee.

Carrot Top Paper Shop

The latest offerings from Carrot Top Paper Shop are so hard to resist! This tote bag would be great for the book lovers in my life, and how adorable is this You’ve Got Mail sticker?

First Edition Book Cover Art Print

Maybe you can’t afford the first edition of your favorite book but you can buy a high quality photo print of it. There are so many classic novels to choose from.

What’s on your wish list this year? What are your favorite gifts to give? We’d love to hear more ideas in comments!

P.S. Need more gift ideas? Check out these posts:

15 great gifts to give and receive


Leave A Comment
  1. Kay says:

    I would love Anne Of Green Gables on DVD. Just the other night I said to my husband that one of the best presents he ever bought me was the set of Anne Of Green Gables videos, as I haven’t been able to use them for years I need an upgrade. I would also love beautiful editions of all my favourite classics rather than the old paperbacks that I have read again and again and are falling to bits.

    • sarah says:

      Yes, I agree with this, but I would go with a real Bialetti. Also, I think David Lebovitz had an instagram video showing how to use it. It’s pretty simple, but the video was helpful.

    • Katherine says:

      Yes! I second that. I love my little moka pot. You can also buy a cheap frother for a nice capuccino or latte. It’s a fraction of the cost of an actual espresso maker for the same product.

  2. Jennifer Meyers says:

    We’ve had a few espresso makers in our house. Two years ago, my husband visited a friend in Germany who had the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. We bought one for our home and use it every day. You can adjust it to perfectly grind and measure the coffee. We ended up getting it at William Sonoma where it was deeply discounted (they have Breville sales there sometimes).

    • Christi says:

      I second a Breville. We have a Breville Barista Touch and my family of 4 uses it daily and we love it. It’s on the pricey side, but we’ve had it for over a year with a lot of daily use and it’s still working beautifully. It is definitely my guilty pleasure! We also got ours at Williams-Sonoma on sale.

        • RC says:

          Fourth to the Breville. We had an espresso quality grinder (almost as important as the machine) and scale already, so we went with the Breville Bambino, but if you don’t already own the other gear, a model with a grinder is the way to go. I love my Bambino!

  3. Kim Anne Lennie says:

    For me I love to receive the newest Stephen King book ( he always has one come out near Christmas). My husband loves mysteries, spy books so he always receives many from the family. I have a friend who loves romance books and another who loves to get notecards or stationary. Unfortunately where I live we don’t have any independent book stores to frequent so we mostly get our books from Chapters, Walmart or Costco.

  4. Jennifer Geisler says:

    Although it seems like a brilliant idea, whiskey stones and sold to chill wine, last such a short time that I ended up using ice anyway. I should have known better!

  5. Heidi says:

    I feel like you undersold those Frixion pens, Anne! My kids found one somewhere and once I tried it, I was hooked. They erase completely! I have one ultra-fine point that I use in my planner, and a navy one that I use to sketch diagrams and notes for my woodworking business. No eraser dust, no bleed through – I love them so much.

  6. Sarah says:

    After receiving a tea subscription, and loving it so much, I’ve been gifting one to everyone (or recommending it to others for a gift). I really like SipsBy – in addition to the monthly subscription they have stand alone options that are great too. This year, I might gift myself a wine subscription…it feels like 2020, and likely 2021, is probably going to require more wine and I need some help figuring out what I really like. 🙂

    • Erica says:

      Agreed! I love our Nespresso machine! We got our several Christmases ago. I have several espresso pots but the Nespresso makes lattes and espresso and there are no coffee grounds to deal with. Also, Nespresso has a recycling program for the used pods. Never going back to the stovetop method or barista-style machines!

  7. Susan in TX says:

    Had to laugh out loud at your kids disagreeing about “never enough mugs” because mine are exactly the same way! Which just compels me to give them each one for Christmas this year!😉

  8. Cheryl Cyrus says:

    Hi Anne – I tried the Whiskey stones because my husband is a Bourbon drinker and doesnt like ice. However, he said they tasted like soap, so no more of those. 🙁

  9. Jan says:

    We love our Nespresso pixie. It’s so easy and delicious! Several friends and family members bought one after tasting ours. (They use pods but give you a recycle bag to send back free of charge.)

    We also bought the Nespresso Aeroccino frother for lattes, cappuccinos, etc. sometimes you can find a bundled deal.

  10. Alyson Woodhouse says:

    Nespressow products are all brilliant, and they are long lasting, so you will get plenty of use out of whatever one you choose.

  11. Diana says:

    I highly recommend the JURA fully automatic espresso machine. It makes coffee, cappuccino, espresso, built in milk frother. The best thing is it grinds coffee beans right then and there, per cup!! I love it and love exploring all the different coffee bean varieties! My best purchase for 2020

  12. maureen says:

    I love my Breville. I wouldn’t have anything else. For that price you might as well get a regular size unit. Also, if anything breaks on your machine you can send it to them and they will either repair or replace for the cost of shipping it in. When I sent mine back I paid a fee and it was boxed up at my local UPS store. It works as well as the coffee shops and it’s nice to be able to make your own.

  13. Guest says:

    Pretty sure my favorite gift this Christmas will be the premiere of Bridgerton! 😛 True reading story…many moons ago I was looking in the romance section of our tiny neighborhood library branch and came across a book, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. I devoured it! After that I was on a mission to find more Julia Quinn books and started the Bridgerton series. Devoured them all as well! And now Shonda Rhimes has created a series with Netflix based on the books and it premiers on Christmas Day – YAY!!! If anyone has wondered about regency romance, it’s my FAVORITE and I highly recommend Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Mary Balogh, Carla Kelly, and Tessa Dare. Note: These are open door romances but very well written so you can always skip over these portions in the book.

  14. Kam Hitchcock says:

    Espresso Makers: the amount of pressure the pump produces is KEY. The Nespresso espresso makers all have 19 psi and produce great coffee. They are convenient and have a smallish footprint on your counter. You can sent used capsules back to them free with UPS and they will recycle them. I am not a sales person. I am a coffee Geek who has owned 6 espresso makers and now will not budge from Nespresso. Good luck.

  15. Denise Long says:

    Where are the little book ornaments from? We lost our daughter 3 years ago and she was working on her Master’s Degree to become a librarian. We get a new ornament every year for her and would love one of these.
    She was my book recommendation person and I found you through her. I enjoy all of your recommendations as I’m lost without her.

    • Stephanie says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Denise. I am hoping to find out where to get those ornaments, too, or perhaps they are something we could even make? As a literacy educator, I’d be happy to share a title that I just brought home today: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. I’m diving in tonight!

    • Anne says:

      Denise, I’m so sorry for your loss.

      Etsy has a variety of folded paper ornaments: I hope you can find one that you love and that honors your daughter. Sending much love.

  16. dkl says:

    I’m jumping on the Breville train. We already had a grinder, so ours just has a frother in addition to expressing a great double shot. We bought ours at Bed Bath and Beyond (!) years ago, and have enjoyed muliple coffees a day for at least five years. You’ll also want the bin to tap your used grounds into.

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