A Writer’s Favorite Things

It’s always struck me as a bit odd that the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from The Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things,” is considered by many to be a Christmas song. I suppose it’s related to the reference to “brown paper packages tied up with string.” Or maybe the sleighbells or snowflakes the song mentions. Sure, okay. 

But as Christmas approaches this year, I thought I’d list a few of “my favorite things” I’ve received over the years—specifically, gifts that delighted this writer. Because, who knows, maybe there’s a writer on your Christmas list. Or perhaps, if you print this blog post and leave it somewhere conspicuous, someone might see it, take the hint, and buy you one of the following:  

1. A leather-bound classic

I own a collection of classic books, many of which were given to me by my wife and children. Some are Franklin Library or Easton Press bindings; others are much older, such as the twenty-four-volume set of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly novels a friend gave me.

2. An elegant fountain pen

I also have a small collection of fountain pens, and my favorite was a Christmas gift. There’s nothing quite like writing with a quality fountain pen.

3. Writing- and book-related Christmas ornaments

From our first Christmases together, my wife and I have made or bought a new ornament for each member of the household every year. So, decorating the tree is a beautiful, nostalgic experience—and many of “my” ornaments reflect my life as a writer.

4. A new journal

Since Christmas comes so close to the beginning of a new year, my loved ones (who know that I keep a journal) have several times given me a new, fresh journal as a Christmas gift. My favorites have been leather-bound journals from the gift shop at The Abbey of Gethsemani, where I’ve often enjoyed a silent prayer retreat. 

5. A theater subscription

Since I’m not only a writer but also a Shakespeare nut, I was thrilled on several occasions to receive a season subscription to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. It was always a literary and theatrical delight.

6. A rubber stamp

A coworker, knowing my bibliophile tendencies (and compulsions), once gave me a “From the Library of Bob Hostetler” stamp and inkpad for my books. He even spelled my name right.

7. A mug

Have I mentioned that I’m a Shakespeare nut? I must do that often, as one of my fellow writers once gave me a “Shakespeare insults” mug. It’s a morning coffee favorite to this day.

What about you? What perfect-for-a-writer Christmas gifts have you received (or given) over the years? Please mention your favorites in the comments, for the benefit of all. And Merry Christmas!   

17 Responses to A Writer’s Favorite Things

  1. Dave Miller December 15, 2021 at 5:25 am #

    I love my large high-definition display for my computer given to me by my son. I also love the auxiliary speakers on my computer for playing YouTube videos and audio recordings like the ones from the blog.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser December 15, 2021 at 6:55 am #

    There’s nothing in my atmosphere
    to say that I’m a writer;
    the house, instead, would make it clear
    that I may be a cage-fighter.
    There’s a speed bag on the kitchen wall,
    a weight bag in the laundry,
    and dumbbells and barbells withal
    make it sound just like a foundry.
    I wear Def Leppard muscle shirts
    a goatee and shaved head,
    and though in winter, yeah, it hurts,
    no boots, bare feet instead
    to make it plain for all to see
    that all I need to be is me.

    • Emma the Lifestorian December 16, 2021 at 10:21 am #

      So tell us, Andrew, what’s on your wishlist? What kind of things make you feel like you?

  3. Barbara Harper December 15, 2021 at 7:00 am #

    My hands get cold when I type, so one of my kids gave me fingerless gloves which have words on them from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. My husband gave me a mug that has on the side, “I’m a author. What’s your superpower?”

  4. Dinah December 15, 2021 at 7:29 am #

    Two things:
    1. a mug from my husband last year that says “Begin” in Typewriter font
    2. the socks and underwear on this writer’s Christmas list—Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
    Thanks for the fun and useful post, Bob

  5. Sonja Anderson December 15, 2021 at 7:42 am #

    When my critique group members moved and we ended up in four different states, one member gifted each of us with a mug that featured our four states in colorful states connected by a swirling line. I love it!

    I’ve received many writerly gifts over the years that are special to me, but nothing beats the Costco-sized pack of lined yellow tablets that I use to write first drafts that I got from my husband. It felt like a giant acknowledgment that he’d married a writer “for better or worse!”

  6. Michael December 15, 2021 at 7:42 am #

    Thanks, Bob. These are great ideas. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! Michael

  7. Sarah December 15, 2021 at 8:02 am #

    A friend gave me a purse-sized Kaweco fountain pen just yesterday! I love it! Years ago another friend gave me a “WRITE YOUR OWN STORY” mug- it now corals my pens, bookmarks, and letter knife opener. My favorite though is my Quirky Writer keyboard…the clickety-clap is wondrous.

  8. Deena Adams December 15, 2021 at 10:58 am #

    Thanks for sharing your list, Bob. I’ve also bought ornaments every year for myself and our children and started buying them for our seven grandchildren each year as well.

    When I started this writing journey in 2018, I found an open book ornament with the words, “Create Every Day,” on it. I love it!

    For my birthday this year my daughter bought me a pair of socks with books all over them and the bottom of one foot says, “So many books,” and the bottom of the other says, “So little time.” I love those socks too because I’m also an avid reader.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. December 15, 2021 at 11:10 am #

    Bob, my favorite things include a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with handmade ornaments. I actually started one of my as-yet-unpublished novels with a scene where a middle-aged gal is decorating the tree in her mother’s nursing home as snow begins to fall. I loved that opening but, apparently, Hallmark did not. Such is life.

  10. Roberta Messner December 15, 2021 at 11:59 am #

    My bestest gift is one of your favorites, too, Bob. . .a brand-new Learnal. It is there I scribble writing quotes from folks who know a whole lot more than I do (Hint: Some of your wise words are there). This past October, I was honored to meet your dearly beloved wife in Huntington Beach. One of her quotes is in my Learnal as well. It’s not about writing, but the writer. She told me when you leave the house, she misses you! Now there’s a writer with a treasure!

  11. Daphne Woodall December 15, 2021 at 5:12 pm #

    Love your list Bob. I have received “writer” character movies; mugs; journals; The Christian Writers Market Guide and other writer craft books as well as Writing Conference Fees!

  12. Raylarn December 15, 2021 at 10:40 pm #

    Loved this!

  13. Jeannie Waters December 16, 2021 at 9:14 am #

    The Christian Writers Market Guide has been my favorite.

  14. Kristen Joy Wilks December 16, 2021 at 2:01 pm #

    My Shakespearian insult mug!

  15. Bev Murrill December 21, 2021 at 11:56 pm #

    A leather bound Complete works of John Bunyan, circa 1800s given to me by dear friends. A VERY expensive fountain pen from another dear friend.

  16. Georgia Francis December 22, 2021 at 10:06 am #

    A mug that simply says:

    Drink Wine
    Read Books
    Be Happy

    I do, and so I am!

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