With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are caught up in the work and stress of holiday shopping. Friends and family, whether near, far, or in cyberspace. are all on our lists, which may take us through a myriad of brick and mortar stores, online retailers, and even involve making some gifts, for an extra personal touch. If we have any friends or family who share our reading obsessions, all the better. The extra time in bookstores is no hardship, and we may find a well deserved something extra for ourselves along the way. How can the holiday season bring more romance (novels) into our lives? Let’s take a look.
When it comes to considering gifts for romance readers, books naturally top the list. Never before has there been a greater variety of subgenera under the romance umbrella, where there is truly something for everyone. Historical, contemporary, paranormal, inspirational, erotic, YA, NA, all in flavors from lighthearted to dark and dangerous, with new permutations adding to the mix, seemingly every day. From hardcover to paperback, to e-books readers can take literally anywhere, there’s a price point to fit every pocket…even free, so nobody has to miss out. Boxed sets of similarly themed romances, or by the same author can allow a reader to dive in deep in a favorite sort of story, or discover a brand new obsession.
Gifts that come from the heart are the very best ones, and giving a great romance novel can spread the love in more ways than one. Choosing a book for a friend or family member who has slightly -or very- different tastes from one’s own can be an adventure all in itself, but well worth the effort. Who doesn’t want to be the one to deliver the latest book by a favorite author, or hard to find paperback that is not (yet) in e-book form? For those who have the same, or similar, tastes to our own, the task can be easier, though it may also provide a greater temptation to either keep the book in question for ourselves, or purchase a second copy to add to our own TBR shelves. Some of us may even have perfected the art of reading a new paperback without breaking the spine. In this case, a little holiday secret never harmed anybody, and it gives an immediate topic of conversation; both parties will have read the same book, after all.
Some readers (sometimes, including ourselves, if we’re being entirely honest here) are a little harder to shop for; either we don’t know their tastes well enough to pick books for them, or their personal libraries are already so vast that we have serious reservations about picking doubles of books they’ve bought for themselves, or maybe have had for years. In that case, we need to think outside the box. Reading-related gifts are welcome at any time of year. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that those who read paper books are going to need some way to mark their place when a reading session ends. Bookmarks can come in any number of materials, from homemade strips of cardstock, embellished to suit the individual reader, to exquisitely crafted metal clips, page magnifiers, or the scandalously-sounding book thongs, where charms dangle at either end of a colorful thread. Every reader needs some light to illuminate their page, whether a floor or table lamp, or a personal light that clips onto the page.
For those who have always wanted to give (or get) a whole library in the palm of their hand, this is the perfect time of year for a new e-reading device to join the family. Those who would never dream of gifting a purse or wallet without at least a penny in it (to wish that the recipient would never be without money) may consider pre-loading the new device with free e-books in the recipient’s favorite genre, or a smorgasbord of multiple genres, if they aren’t sure what they might like to read. Add a snazzy cover for extra appeal, and personal library dreams can be fulfilled at long last. A gift card to bookstore or online retailer can add an extra special touch.
Tea, coffee, or cocoa are perfect for sipping while reading, and can provide a mid-shopping-trip pick-me-up, on those long retail excursions, with or without cookie accompaniment. Those of us in colder climes may appreciate a snuggly blanket in which to snuggle as we read. Bookends can keep our stashes upright on any surface, while scented candles set the mood. Blank books or journals can provide a place for readers to keep track of books read and to-be-read, or, for those who write, a place to start a story of their own. Even without giving an actual book, the possibilities of book-related gifts are endless, and that’s worthy of celebration.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you give romance novels or related items on gift-giving holidays? Have you ever received the gift of a romance novel from a friend or family member? Are there any fellow romance readers at your holiday gatherings, or those who might like an introduction to the genre? Are their tastes in romance novels similar or different from yours? If romance novels, or book related gifts aren’t on your lists to give or receive, we want to hear about that, too. Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.