Christmas Gifts for Writers

A Google search for gifts for writers(or photographers or gardeners) and out comes a list of blogs to newspapers, all advising what to buy. I noticed that only one or two items on each list interested me, so I’ve put together my own. Some are expensive, some not.

1) A writers’ retreat. My favourites are the Writescape retreats organized by Ruth Walker and Gwynne Scheltema. Find them at

2) Scrivener, a superb writing programme from the folks at Literature and Latte. I’ve been using this gem through two books now and couldn’t do without out. It replaces everything from research notes on random bits of paper to character biographies kept in notebooks without a search function. It   allows the generation of a rudimentary plot synopsis and a virtual corkboard on which scenes can be repositioned. I could go on and on, but try it for a month. Now available for Windows.

3) Pens: To record those thoughts that would other wise be lost. I like Staples Optiflow: ca709364grp_1_std







4) Books on writing: I love to read books about writing. Writers Digest has a good selection, but there are others:

1. Stephen King, On Writing

2.David Morell: Lessons for a Lifetime of Writing

3.William Brohaugh: Write Tight

4. P. D. James: Talking About Detective Fiction

5. Sol Stein: On Writing

6. Jack Hodgins; a Passion for Narrative

5) A Kindle: Writers need to read everywhere and a Kindle is handy on the subway, in a bus, on that trip to  Europe.

7) Coffee maker, coffee mugs, coffee.

8) A web design package, perhaps from Linda Lyall who did Louise Penny’s

9) A smart phone with a camera, because you never know when the perfect scene to jumpstart your imagination will pop up in front of you. (The phone is always in your pocket, unlike your SLR)

10) Time, uninterrupted. If she has children, offer to babysit. If she needs a day away, offer your cottage, or pay for one day in a lovely B&B. I like the Gardener’s Cottage near Elora.

Gifts for Gardeners

What to Get for Green-Thumb Types. It’s a No-Gnome Zone.. The gifts in this article from Houzz website are for the modernist on your list. My favourites are the Circle Pot by Potted in Designer Pots and the Lighthouse outdoor torch.
This one is lovely and guilt-free.

For the birds
This gift is not only pretty and practical, but it helps more than just our feathered friends. This ceramic bronze birdbath is made by artisans in Vietnam, who are paid a living, fair-trade wage to produce their artistic wares. While it’s a little cold yet to put outside, this birdbath looks elegant on a table filled with fruit. Ten Thousand Villages, $22.

1. Mason Bee House
This gorgeous mason bee house is handmade from reclaimed barn wood. If you’re buying for a gardener who grows fruit or vegetables, this would be a great gift. Mason bees are native to much of the U.S. They are solitary, and don’t produce honey, but they are expert pollinators. They often nest in small holes and cavities in tree trunks, but if you can provide a cozy little house like this for them, you may be able to entice them to take up residence in your own garden. Beautiful and functional. (Via Etsy.)


I love this butterfly puddler from Uncommon Goods.

Gardens Take Flight

There’s nothing quite like a garden aflutter with wild butterflies in the afternoon sun. Attract your neighborhood beauties with this sand-and-water puddler, designed to hold on to natural minerals after water evaporates.

Its shallow well of recycled glass holds sand or rock salt along with a teaspoon of water. When the water evaporates (in under a day), butterflies are attracted to the minerals left behind from the hard water and sand/salt. Once butterflies know where they can find these minerals, they return regularly. Place it in a conspicuous nook to transform your outdoor space into an enchanted garden.

Designed by Jo-Anne and Gerald Warren. Handmade of stoneware and recycled glass in Canada. Click here to see instructions included with each peddler.

  • Item ID: 20351
  • Materials: recycled glass, stoneware clay
  • Approx. 8.5″ L x 8.5″ W x .75″ H, 3 lbs. 6 oz.
  • Comes with sand and instructions for use. Will not crack in the snow or fade in the sun. Due to the handmade nature of this product, each will vary slightly.

From the same company, a toad house:

The Toad Abode

This elegant ceramic piece makes a creative accent to your garden. Toads will be thrilled to duck under this leaf and enjoy the dark and cool shade – they can even burrow holes in their bottomless home. Big bonus: kiss your bugs goodbye, because toads eat thousands of insects. Handmade in Canada.

  • Item ID: 21006
  • Materials: stoneware clay
  • Approx. 12″ L x 7.5″ W x 5″ H, weight: Approx. 3.5 lbs
  • Weatherproof: designed to not fade in the sun or crack in freezing temperatures. Place in a shady spot in your garden.
Finally, for your best friend or your wife or your husband or your mother who taught you all you know about gardening, the bog boot from Lee Valley. For mud, for snow, for tramping in transplants, for walking the dog in the ran, they are the best—warm, comfortable and almost indestructible (unless your husband slices one open with a pruner).
Perfect for working in mucky, cold conditions, these boots are constructed from waterproof neoprene with a semi-rigid natural rubber overlay that spans from the sole to above the ankle. Toe, heel, Achilles tendon, and shin reinforcements offer protection and comfort, making these boots the ideal footwear when digging in the garden. Mid-length boots, they are easily donned using the rear pull-loops. The neoprene walls are flexible and generous in width, and can be easily rolled down if desired.

Gardening gifts, Christmas photo tips

45 gift ideas for gardeners – Fun and fabulous gifts – Gardening Gifts – Garden Gear – Canadian Gardening. This article from Canadian Living offers help to the last-minute gift buyer with a gardener on her list. My favourite, not counting the trip to England to visit fabulous gardens, is a truck-load of triple mix. If that is too much, check out the page at, and donate trees to an African family.

If you’re the person with the camera at the Christmas festivities, read the advice at the Digital Photography School at

The Digital Photography School is a terrific site to visit, or, as I do, have on your home page. The e-mailed tips are great too. I like the opportunity to see other people’s work, and to submit some of mine. I’ve been struggling with learning the finer points of my Canon Rebel T1i, and the site has been a great help.

Finches at the Winters' cafe

Christmas Gifts for Writers and Readers(cont.).

Christmas gifts for Readers and Writers(cont.)
The Internet Writers Workshop has an annual catalogue of books recommended and reviewed by the writers belonging to the group. A disclaimer here, I’m part of the group and two of my reviews appear on the site.
Another site with gifts for writers, oddly enough suggests no books but rather stuff, such as kindle, book bags, and best of all a gift card for a bookstore. Christmas gifts for Readers and Writers(cont.)
The Internet Writers Workshop has an annual catalogue of books recommended and reviewed by the writers belonging to the group. A disclaimer here, I’m part of the group and two of my reviews appear on the site.
Another site with gifts for writers, oddly enough suggests no books but rather stuff, such as kindle, book bags, and best of all a gift card for a bookstore.–Top-10-Christmas-gifts-for-Book-Lovers.
A site for gifts for writers at, has many useful books, like On Writing, by Stephen King.

Gifts for the writer, gardener, birdwatcher, reader…

Poking around here and there on the Net, I found some great gifts for the passionate writers, gardeners, readers and birdwatchers on your list. Okay, gifts for me. Gifts for writers are up first, naturally, so check out Margaret Atwood’s suggestions on her Blog. 4 and 10 are the gifts I would choose, and can recommend 1 and 2 from personal experience.( My little book is the moleskin variety.) While you’re on Margaret’s blog, read her 15 book Tour packing tips. It’s hilarious.

Ben McNally, (of McNally Robertson) has a blog on Book Lounge, with his list of gifts for readers. He’s recommending Peter Ackroyd’s Venice: Pure City, a book I would like to read, mainly because I fell in love with the city last fall, and because he did such an outstanding job on London.

Susan Reimer writes a column, On Gardening for the Baltimore Sun. Her list of gifts for gardeners includes some of my can’t do withouts, like Felco pruners and gardening gloves. Lee Valley has some that are even warm on those nasty spring mornings, which can include rain freezing rain and wind in April, in Ontario.

Our Little Acre Blogspot has some unusual gifts for gardeners. I can recommend the Velcro plant ties, also available at Lee Valley. I’ve used them for years, especially for tying climbing roses to their supports.

For the birdwatcher, check out Squidoo. The site’s a bit wonky but worth it. What about birdsongs for the iPod!

All these blogs are listed to the right. Have fun!