Holiday & Christmas gift ideas

October 19, 2015

There’s a closet in my house that holds a stack of books I’m giving to certain friends for Christmas. Oh, you don’t celebrate Christmas? Then maybe you have holiday gifts to buy. In any case, my holiday shopping is mostly done. That’s right. Yes, I know it’s just October. But I’m infamous for planning ahead. I shop all year so when the holidays come, I’m nowhere near retail stores, nor am I waiting for gifts to be delivered. Sure, I’ll order a thing or two online. But books? They’re bought and labeled with the recipient’s name. Right this minute.

I happen to think books make great Christmas gifts, so I’m going to suggest a few for you to consider.  Christmas gift ideas. Or holiday gift ideas, whatever your tradition.

Finding Grace: a transformational journey, by Kathy Gottman.

I’m a year late in calling this novel to your attention because that’s how long ago I read it. You don’t have to be a New Age spirituality adherent to get something really good out of this thoughtful book about how the choices we make impact our lives. In a way it’s a spiritual book, but it’s a very readable and compelling story that I couldn’t put down. This is one to give anyone in your life who seeks more meaning or who’s asking the big life questions. I heart this book and lucky me, Kathy sent it to me.

Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A collection of library humor by Roz Warren.

You know a librarian, right? Everyone knows a librarian. I know three.  Roz is one, and she sent me this book a while back. I wanted to save it, though, for this list.

Oh, you don’t know a librarian? Then you MUST know someone who has a fantasy about a librarian. I know one of those, probably more. But I digress. This book is a both hilarious and touching look behind the scenes at what goes on at your, my, any public library. And much of it is rip-roaring funny. The perfect gift for the librarian on your list or someone who uses the public library. Or who has a librarian fantasy. Just staying. Fun little volume, a great little gift.

Snowman by Diane Stringham Tolley (another in her Christmas series)

I want to  hijack my friend Diane’s ranch life. It’s a Waltons existence but on a ranch in Alberta, and it’s the inspiration for her skillfully-written and heartwarming Christmas series. This one is lovely, as I discovered when I read the pdf she sent me.  Sometimes you’re called to make a choice and your life changes in the split second after that point of no return. In this story, a man made a decision to save some kids and the story revolves around his coming to terms with the changes in his life after the bad accident that resulted. If there’s someone on your list who loves an old-fashioned, inspirational story, this is a great choice for them.


Cute way to wrap the books you’re going to give as holiday gifts.

Broken Angels, by Molly Best Tinsley

I’m way late on this, too, but it got hidden away after Molly sent it to me. A CIA thriller with a female protagonist? Oh yes. It’s not only adrenaline-pumping, but it’s well-written, too. It’s a little different kind of read for me, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and would read more in this vein. Give it to someone who likes strong female characters. Or thrillers. Or both.  She co-authored Satan’s Chamber, another spy thriller, which turns gender roles on their heads. The second author is Karetta Hubbard. The two books are offered by Fuze Publishing and together they would make a nice little holiday gift. Fuze also offers Black Wings, by Kathleen Toomey. She’s a grad of the U.S. Naval Academy, so in the write-what-you-know vein, this novel is centered on women Naval Academy grads. A great choice for your  young adult daughters or nieces.

Mending Stone by Sharon Duerst

It’s got a little bit of everything: mystery, romance, thrills, faith and even a little history. Clearly a women’s novel, this would be a great gift book for a mom, an aunt or a beloved friend –anyone who likes a book with some faith in it.  If it make my Christmas gift ideas post, it’s worth reading!

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

This is another good choice for holiday gift. It’s a super-well-written book about South African life in the mid-1970s, when apartheid ruled and love affairs between races were forbidden. The author is South African and he brings the era alive with detail, color and fine writing. I’ve given it as a gift and it was appreciated. Don’t miss this one.

And as a bonus:

If you love literary fiction and creative nonfiction, give yourself the gift of Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max.  Max is a New Yorker writer who authored this first biography of the talented, tormented David Foster Wallace. It’s a deep dive into the man and how he viewed his work and his talent, and while it’s always heartbreaking when a story ends the way this one inevitably does. Max does his subject credit. I read it in one sitting.

Speaking of bonuses: Add your suggestions for great gift books in the Comments and Riley will choose one commenter to receive a book, themselves. Giveaway ends at midnight tonight and is open to U.S. residents only. Make sure you give me your email when you comment so I can reach you to get your mailing address.


21 comments on “Holiday & Christmas gift ideas
  1. Michelle says:

    Great suggestions!!!!

  2. Andrea B. says:

    What a fun list. I don’t think I’ve read any of these – which is dangerous. I’m a book addict. I’ll buy them for myself. 😉

  3. CARLA says:

    taking notes and PANICKING about when on earth is hanukkah this year??
    (off to look :-))

  4. what a great mix and variety of reading subjects! Nice to see some fellow bloggers getting a shout out too (fancy being clever enough to write a whole book!) I’m a bit of a shallow reader – love Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon (her highlander hero Jamie just ticks all my boxes and Claire is my type of woman!) I’m too far away to get a book but good luck to the winner 🙂

  5. Roz Warren says:

    Carol — Thanks SO MUCH for including OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES on your list. You just made my day.

  6. I think if I look back at all of the books I’ve read this year it would be an older one called “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I haven’t been able to get that book out of my mind since I read it last Spring! I hope you have an amazing weekend at the workshop. I am so sorry to not be able to be there. I look forward to hearing all about it!

  7. Mending Stone sounds right up my street!

    I’m not based in the US but one of my favourite holiday books is The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. It has the same kind of tone as It’s A Wonderful Life and it really stuck with me for, well, years afterwards.

  8. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for including my “Finding Grace” here among your recommended books! I’m not the best self-promoter so I don’t often let others know how proud I am of this book and why I think others might enjoy reading it too. Thank you for getting me out of my “closet” and helping me share it with others. Here’s a link for anyone who might be interested… And thank you for suggestions to other great books. I will definitely be checking them out. ~Kathy

  9. So grateful and tickled you included Roz Warren in this wonderful list. I am going to check out your other authors too!

  10. It’s never too early to talk about BOOKS! And I love that I ‘know’ several of these authors.

  11. Haralee says:

    Great suggestions. You early bird! I love Louise Penny mysteries.

  12. Lots of wonderful suggestions, books I wouldn’t have know about if it weren’t for your post… except for Roz Warren. Thank you, Brenda

  13. Mark Fine says:

    Carol, so gracious of you to include my novel on your list and a perfect way to begin the Season of Giving. “The Zebra Affaire” has passed the 100 mark in stellar reviews so I’m glad your early faith in it is now validated. Look forward to exploring some of your other recommendations….
    Thanks again.


  14. Thank you, this is so well done, I am going to print it out and get started. Isn’t Amazon fabulous? Done and done!! Maybe you could do another one with other gift ideas?

  15. Carol says:

    Loved reading your book reviews. I may have to buy the Zebra Affaire and Our Bodies, Our Shelves. I’m sure that they would make great gifts unless I choose to keep them for myself. 🙂

    I’ve read several really good books this year. The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller. And, I am a sucker for anything written by Paul Auster. I read two of his recently and absolutely loved The Moon Palace. Thanks!

  16. Clare Speer says:

    Thanks for the book reviews – Broken Angels sounds interesting! And so great you got your Christmas shopping done! Wow wow!

  17. I’m a book giver, too. I was once told by someone close to me (okay, my husband), “ENOUGH BOOKS!” He couldn’t keep up with the rate I was giving them to him.

    These all sound fabulous. I’m especially intrigued by “Mending Stone.” Thank you for the recommendations!

  18. Keriann McKenna says:

    This Christmas I’m giving copies of “The God Whisperer” by Kimberley Troutte. It’s a lovely book but not a Christmas story. Like you, I ordered them months ago…all autographed copies.
    I have a short myself that is touching and so heart-warming it will make you cry and leave you believing in Christmas miracles. Come Back to Me at Christmas. Sorry it’s not yet available in print.

  19. DT says:

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions.. I too have my reading wish list on the blog today!
    — DT | Here I Scribble

  20. bodynsoil says:

    All my reading is around health and fitness; I should stop and read something more fun. Thanks for your list(s), I need to find something non work related and just sit back read.

  21. Becki S says:

    Fun list! My aunt is a librarian so I will definitely be getting her the librarian book for the holidays, thanks for sharing.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Holiday & Christmas gift ideas"
  1. […] wait. Did you read my post about great books to give for Christmas, HERE?  You […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.