Overcrowded bookshelves. An endless to-be-read pile. A picky reader. During the holidays, we love to show our bookish friends how much they mean to us, often with yet another book. But sometimes, gifting books year after year can be repetitive. This holiday, spice it up and go for something creative for that special reader in your life (and without breaking the bank to do it). For the book lover who has it all, here are some gift ideas that might just do the trick.

Affordable Bookish Holiday Gifts That Aren’t Books

1. Scented Candles

I have found something incredibly soothing about reading with a scented candle. The warm light. The ambiance. The soothing aromas. You can find dozens of affordable and quality options online with creative scents, including that old book smell or something inspired by your favorite reading location.


2. Book nerd clothing

Because how better to show off a love of books than with a little swag? Online retailers such offer several options of printed t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and accessories. If you are thinking of something simpler for your gift, why not go for a pair of bookish socks? (I may or may not be wearing a pair right now). They are fun, easy, and the perfect bookish accent to any outfit.


3. A Personal Library Kit

We get it, this book lover has so many books, they may as well be running a library. So what if you got them a library kit to make it more official? Help your book lover keep their personal library with a lovely set of stationary to put their personal stamp on every book they own. Or keep it simple with a set of beautiful book plates to keep inside the cover. For the friend perpetually lending out their copies, this is a must.


4. A Book Journal

Look, we LOVE websites like Goodreads that help keep our reading lists organized while connecting us to all our bookish friends. Adding a reading journal to the mix can make a reading experience that much more reflective and creative. Scribbling down character notes, thoughts, favorite quotes, and the like can help your reader engage with books on an entirely new level. Plus, after knocking out a several books, it is a wonderful trip down memory lane to be able to open up a journal and flip through your reading history. Plus, they come in a variety of creative formats!


5. Reading Light

Because we have all spent a night awake until the crack of dawn because we NEED to find out what happens next. Keep your reader company in the night with a quality book light. Some of them even come shaped as books!


6. Personalized Reading List

If you are REALLY strapped on cash this holiday season, here is a way to give a meaningful gift without spending a dime. Curate a list of your favorites or new recommendations to share. Maybe it is a list of books you and a friend read together the coming season. Or a list curated for certain occasions (a rainy day, road trip reads, genre based lists). If you want to get creative with this, some places offer reading list posters (this scratch off one is a personal favorite of mine).


7. An Annotated Book

Ok this MAY be cheating a bit, but this is a personal favorite of mine. Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a book and think “hey, I know my friend would LOVE this.” Then I begin annotating as I read, highlighting favorite quotes and noting questions and thoughts I have while reading. Once finished, I send it along to my friend with a little note inscribed in the beginning. This creates a unique and shared reading experience for whoever you pass it along to. They get to read one of your favorites with you along the way the entire time. And what’s best, you both get to discuss it immediately after they finish!


8. Tea

Because is a reading session complete without snuggling up, book in hand with a hot cup of tea beside you? As with the scented candles, you can find a ton of bookish themes online!



Help your reader upgrade from dog-earing or using their receipts and ticket stubs to mark their place with some quality bookmarks they will want to use again and again. Custom made, creative, meaningful, there are just SO many options! I keep a set of felt bookmarks myself inspired by some of my favorites.


10. Subscriptions

Don’t quite know what your reader wants to actually read? Then a book subscription service might JUST do the trick. Give them the gift of books while letting them choose their next adventure. There are services like Owlcrate, or Book of the Month that help deliver books to readers for months.


11. Bookish Crafts

Here is where you can get really nifty with your gifts. Many online vendors repurpose recycled pages and covers to make fresh items. Fans, posters, even a wreath! Help your bookish friend decorate their space with these gorgeous pieces.

And lastly…

12. Another Book

Because let’s face it, who honestly doesn’t like getting another book?


Happy bookish holidays!



Looking for more? Check out these amazing books that we love to give and get!