Gifts for the Writer

What should you buy for the writer on your gift list? Some of these items are no brainers. Others are generic, and still others apply to the individual. But here are some cost-effective ideas that may appeal to all in no particular order. The best way to get a wish list: Ask. Or go look at their desk if you have access and see what they collect or use the most.      

   Some of the more interesting gifts I’ve gotten have come from my writer pals or my kids, like the jar labeled Writer’s Remedy that holds little squares with different words for inspiration, or the figure holding a hammer to his computer with a plaque that says #1 Author & Mom, or the coffee mug with my book title. Be imaginative, or be simple. Whatever you give will be appreciated.

Here are some ideas:

  1. An Ebook reader device, i.e. a Kindle, Nook, Sony, or Kobo, or a tablet like the iPad.
  2. Accessories for the Ebook reader.
  3. Books and DVDs on their Wish List.
  4. Gift Cards to Amazon, B&N, Borders, Starbucks. You can order particular books on Amazon Kindle now to be sent to the gift recipient’s email address if they have a Kindle.
  5. Office Supplies: highlighters, ultra-fine black Sharpie pens, a good quality ballpoint pen, a sturdy stapler, paper clips, rubber bands, pads of paper. You name it, we can use it.
  6. Personalized notepads and Post-its. Great for scribbling memos.
  7. Cute desk accessories like Brighton pens and mini-clocks or magnetic paper clip holders.
  8. Scented Candles. Scents can soothe or energize.
  9. Body lotions, hand cream, scented soaps. If we smell good, we feel good.
  10. A gift certificate to a day spa. A mani-pedi or a massage can go a long way toward relaxation.
  11. USB Flash Drive. We can use several as backups to keep in different locations.
  12. Chocolates and/or Wine. You can never go wrong here. My favorite place to order food gifts is Wine Country Gift Baskets. They have a selection of everything and their prices are reasonable.                              

What else would you add?    

                               

Home for the Holidays

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

With Thanksgiving and the Holidays approaching rapidly, now is the time to straighten your house and clean out the clutter before festooning your living room with decorations and welcoming your guests.            

                                     

Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Dust Collectors: Make a list of all the items you want to get rid of in terms of furniture, memorabilia, paintings, and knickknacks sitting idly on your shelves. Write down descriptions and the prices you’d like to receive. If necessary, take digital photos. Then decide if you want to put them on eBay or Craigslist, have a yard sale, sell them on consignment at a local auction house, or donate them to a charity.

2. Photos, Slides, and VHS Tapes: Consider converting these into digital format. Re the photos, do you want to scan them onto a DVD, upload them to online storage, or scrapbook them into an album? It’s easier to sort your photos first by subject and then tackle one album at a time. Now’s the time to throw out duplicates and blurry pictures. Clear your drawers for other uses and save your heirs the job of sorting through this stuff later. Label the photos as you sort them. And how about slides and family videos of your early vacations or of the kids? Photo shops and places like Costco will convert your slides and VHS tapes onto DVD. Pay the price then toss the slides and tapes that take up too much room. Or buy a machine that will convert VHS to DVD in your home.

3. Clothing, Shoes, Handbags: Sift through your closet with a ruthless hand. Collect any clothing you haven’t worn in years and accessories you no longer favor. Donate them to a charity or hold a yard sale.

4. Files: Try to clear out those mounds of papers that collect everywhere. Tackle one pile at a time. Throw out items that are no longer relevant. File papers you want to keep for reference. Take care of things that need immediate attention. You’ll feel better when your home office or kitchen counter is more organized.

5. Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To You: What do you do about all the items in drawers and boxes that belong to your adult kids or spouse? Can you toss them without permission? If the item has any meaning to your loved one, don’t touch it. You wouldn’t like it if someone threw out your treasures, even if they held value to no one else. Remember the command: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. On the other hand, if you find a lot of old papers or letters, toys or tools, etc. that likely no one would miss, why not box the stuff and tell the owner you intend to toss the items. You’re giving him or her the option of sorting through them first. This makes the task less overwhelming by dividing it into small bundles to attack at a time.

6. Prepare For Company: Now that your house looks neater, and you’re ready to get out the decorations, there’s one more thing you have to do. Polish the Silver. Here’s a handy tip on getting your silver bright and shiny with little effort.   

SILVER POLISH SHORTCUT

Put the stopper in your kitchen sink drain. Line the sink with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Fill the basin with warm water. Dissolve 1/4 cup each salt and baking soda in water. Put in silver pieces. Let sit for a few minutes, then rotate. Sprinkle in more salt and baking soda as needed. When tarnish is gone, remove the item onto a clean towel and dry. If you wish, rub off stubborn spots with your favorite silver paste, rinse, and then buff with a dry cloth.