It’s that time of year again, when the Christmas ads have been running since mid-August and you keep rolling your eyes because you’ve got so long — but all of a sudden you stop rolling your eyes long enough to realize it’s now Christmas Eve and you haven’t bought any presents. And then you, your dad, and your sister all rush out in a panic and accidentally buy your mom three copies of The Young Victoria on DVD. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. But I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you this year.
Because buying presents is actually super-easy. You just buy everybody book gifts — even if they claim they're not big bookworms. According to Google, there are almost 130 million different books in the world (new life goal: read all of them) — so there’s gonna be something out there for everyone. Plus, books are the easiest to wrap. I’m notorious in my family for giving everyone gifts that look like the cat wrapped them, but even I can’t mess up wrapping a book. And no matter how hard your loved ones shake the package, a book doesn’t give away any clues about what’s inside (except for the fact it’s book-shaped and feels like a book, of course).
But among 130 million books, where are you supposed to even start finding the perfect one for everyone on your list? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
1. The DIY Lover: Star Wars Crochet by Lucy Collin
Who says crocheting has to be all flowers and animals? For the craft-loving sci-fi geek in your life, this Star Wars Crochet kit is the perfect gift. Inside the book, you’ll find instructions for making 12 different characters, plus the full kit needed to make two. (Star Wars Crochet, $20.05, Amazon.com)
2. The Baker: Oh! What a Treat by Sandra Denneler
Making people smile is great and all, but the best gifts are obviously the ones that benefit you. Like giving your baker friend this divine DIY food crafts book, and then hanging around in their kitchen while they cook you delicious treats.
3. The Grown-up Kid: Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns by Blue Star Coloring
Coloring-in books for adults have been the biggest trend this year, and once you’ve spent an hour or so with some Crayolas then it’s easy to see why. For that friend who’s already worked her way through the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones coloring books, you can still buy this super-relaxing book of stress-relieving patterns.
4. The Vegan: Go Clean, Sexy You by Lisa Ryan
Healthy eating and veganism don’t always go hand-in-hand very easily; as a vegan with a lot of food intolerances I can vouch for that. So get the vegan in your life this fabulously-named guide to making next year the healthiest of their life. (I’m hinting at you, Mom.)
5. The Feminist: The First Bad Man by Miranda July
I mean, hopefully “the feminist” is a title that can apply to everyone on your list, because feminism is for everyone. But for the friend who makes feminism a major part of his or her identity (or is a newly identified proud feminist), The First Bad Man is an excellent choice.
6. The Teenager: Fourteen by Leslie Johansen Nack
Being a teenager can be really tough for anyone, and sometimes it can seem like things are never getting any better. Leslie Nack’s childhood, in which she was abused by her father, was one of the hardest of all — but her coming-of-age survival story is an inspiration.
7. The Young Adult: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Or, you know, you could just buy this for anyone of any age on your list. We all know you don’t have to be under-18 to enjoy the magnificent Rainbow Rowell. And this hilarious romantic fanfiction fantasy story is one of Rowell’s finest.
8. For The One Who Loves A Good Cry: Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Sometimes a really good cry can set the whole world to rights, and this novel about PTSD and military families will certainly bring on the waterworks. Soon after Ruth and Aubrey’s older brother is dishonorably discharged from the army, he disappears just as details of his dark past begin to emerge.
9. The Wine-Lover: Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
Who knew? There’s more to wine than just the stuff that comes in a box. Buy this guide to wine for your best friend, and then reap the benefits of the fancy wine-tasting parties they’re sure to throw.
10. The Party Planner: Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home by Emily Schuman
Blogger Emily Schuman lives that glamorous life the rest of us can only dream about. If you’ve got a friend who loves throwing stylish parties at their beautifully-designed apartment, this book will be right up their alley.
11. The Child At Heart: Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes
You know the story of Peter Pan by now, right? Think again. When the classic story is told from Wendy Darling’s point of view, nothing is quite what you thought.
12. The Romantic: The Last Dreamer by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn
What would you do if you met your former teen idol when you were already married with children? For that friend who just loves to play “F*ck, Marry, Kill” for hours on end, this is a question that’s bound to get her in a twist.
13. The Interior Designer: Apartment Therapy: Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban
The creators of the popular Apartment Therapy blog have thrown all their wisdom between two hard covers — and your interior designer friend will not want to miss it.
14. The Partner You’re Trying To Hint At: Put a Ring on It by Beth Kendrick
If getting engaged is on your to-do list this year, but your other half isn’t getting the hint, the title of the book is bound to clue them in.
15. The Alfred Hitchock Buff: Black Velvet Coat by Jill G. Hall
For that friend who’s seen every Hitchock film a thousand times, this book will bring her a new twist. A modern version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, this mystical tale is a thriller in its own right.
16. The Traveler: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
I mean, it’s Gloria Steinem. Do you need any more incentive to buy this for anyone? Even the dedication of Steinem’s book had everyone crying this year, and it only gets better from there.
17. The Pessimist: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
From the woman who brought us the last 10 years of everyone’s favorite show Grey’s Anatomy comes this inspirational book about saying “yes” to life, even when it scares you. Even total pessimists will feel uplifted by the end.
18. The Reluctant Fiction Reader: Whistling Women by Kelly Romo
She claims she's not a big reader, but she will get drawn in by the right fiction title. Whistling Women by Kelly Romo has been hailed as the next Shanghai Girls, so it’s definitely the one-to-read this Christmas. It’s about family, secrets, reunions, and memories — so pretty much like every Christmas dinner, really.