It’s that time of year again, folks, where you’re desperately on the present hunt, hoping that the perfect idea will appear to you in a dream (or is that just me?). But worry not, because Cultured Vultures is back to help you out, still firmly standing by the belief that a book gift is usually a pretty safe route to go down for a lot of people in your life – especially if they tend to be a right pain to buy for, or you don’t know them very well.
The Work Secret Santa
Why do Secret Santas exist, especially at work? It is to torture us? Probably not, but it sure feels like it. Whether you get your manager or the guy in IT that you barely know, it’s always a pain.
The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People – Meik Wiking
You’ve heard of hygge, and now it’s time for lykke. Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, and he’s been on the hunt for the world’s happiest people. This is a good call for your boss or someone that you don’t know very well, because being happy seems to be fairly inoffensive as a concept.
The Ladybird Book of the Hangover – Jason Hazely and Joel Morris
These Ladybird books have been a godsend for Secret Santas in the last few years. They’re genuinely funny and entertaining, and hugely relatable. This one relates how best to avoid working the day after the office Christmas party, and how to deal with with the hangover. Not a gift for your boss unless they have a sense of humour, but a good one for someone you know a bit better.
The Crap Secret Santa Gift Book – Secret Santa
A book that does exactly what it says on the tin, and also doesn’t hide the fact that you bought it because you were desperate and had no idea what else to get. It’s by the people who do Very British Problems, which means it will be a laugh, and it makes a big deal in its marketing about having a picture of a swan in it. I’m sure there’s a good reason for this.
Also try: Bedtime Stories for Worried Liberals, Where’s Boris and William Shakespeare’s Brexit.
Something For The Kids
Do you have a niece/nephew/godchild/other kid in your life that you have no idea about a present for, but if you get them sweets again their parent will murder you?
Bernard is a disco bunny encouraging little people to be themselves and embrace their differences. A picture book with very cute illustrations, any parent would be pleased with your efforts if this turned up under the tree for the little kids.
Haig gets kids – all his books for them are the perfect mix of fun and poignancy, and The Truth Pixie is no different. Written in kid-friendly verse, this funny story with the usual illustrations from Chris Mould teaches kids about loving themselves. Buy this for the kid between 5 and 8, and they will love you for it.
High Five To The Hero: 15 Favourite Fairytales Retold With Boy Power – Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu
Featuring 15 rewritten stories, from the Pied Piper to King Arthur to Anansi, this book shows boys that heroes can be more than warriors. King Arthur is great at sorting out arguments! Demi-god Hercules is good at healing! Boys need this book but girls should read it too – it’s such a pure idea, addressing gender stereotypes in a way that is never talking down.
Also try: No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, The Jolly Christmas Postman and Heartstopper.
Your Kid’s Teacher Who You Forgot To Get Something For
If anyone in your kid’s life deserves a decent present, it’s the teacher who has to deal with them and 29 of their monstrous little friends every single day.
I doubt that there are many teachers who would claim to be well rested. This little book is packed with tips and facts that will help anyone who has trouble switching off to get the decent night they deserve.
Also try: I Did My Homework In My Head (And Other Wacky Things Kids Say).
Your Mum/Dad/Auntie/Uncle/Miscellaneous Elderly Relative
This is another group that are a right pain to buy for, especially if you don’t see them much. But somehow they’re always suddenly coming for Christmas and you’d feel super guilty if they had something for you and you had nothing for them. We’ve all been there.
You don’t need to be a fan of maps to enjoy this book, which mixes all kinds of puzzles from anagrams to searches to general knowledge questions which just happen to be about maps and the UK in general. If your person likes doing crosswords or goes to pub quizzes, this is the gift for them.
This is definitely a book skewed towards the ‘elderly relative’ part of this category. Lee is the beloved author of Cider With Rosie, quite the popular author in his day, and this memoir about the land that shaped him as a writer could be surprisingly thoughtful for many an older family member.
Albolm is the best selling author of titles such as Five People You Meet In Heaven, and featured on last year’s Book Gift Guide. Finding Chika is the memoir Albolm has written about Chika, a child orphaned by the Haiti earthquake, who became a part of his family. Albolm writes so beautifully that this is bound to be a winner with mums, aunties and grandmas.
Also try: Christmas At Battersea, My Life and Rugby, Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas
If you have a bookworm in your life who for some reason is brave enough to leave the choice of book up to you, then you better make sure you get a good one.
Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old And Wise – Katherine Rundell
A thought-provoking essay for adult readers, children’s author Rundell lays out her stall to convince her readers that children’s books have a lot to offer them, from emotional spontaneity to imagination. Open up a whole new world of books for a reader stuck in a rut.
You may or may not have heard there’s a movie coming out at the end of this year, but everyone is expecting it to be kind of a big deal. It’s time to make sure that your bookworm has read this classic, so they’re ready for whatever the big screen decides to throw at them.
Another classic, increasingly relevant in this new age of Fake News. Depending on the results of the General Election, it could be even more important that your bookworm is trained in spotting double standards from the establishment.
Also try: The Starless Sea, and Starsight.
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