Ready or not, the Christmas season is almost here. Some would argue it began nearly a month ago, but I vehemently protest the notion. I take my major holidays one at a time and let out a heavy sigh whenever a Starbucks barista hands me a “Merry Coffee” cup before Thanksgiving. But I realize I may be in a shrinking minority.
Regardless, we’ll all be shopping for Christmas gifts very soon which leads to dread and frustration for many of us. If you’re anything like me, you love to give meaningful gifts, but dislike the challenge of figuring out what those gifts will be.
“Hey, Google, what should I get my mother-in-law for Christmas?”
“According to Wikipedia, Christmas is—“
I doubt whether I can be of much help in your search for the perfect gifts for everyone, but I can make a few recommendations for those people in your life who love to read, write, and spend lots of time in the Bible. In other words, if you happen to know someone like me, you’ll be set. If not, you can safely disregard the following list.
- Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencils: Think stocking stuffers. While there was a time when I hated No. 2 pencils, not to mention fill-in-the-bubble exams, I’ve grown to appreciate the ability to erase writing mistakes especially when jotting notes in my Bible. These pencils look sharp—pun inevitable—and write easier and darker than any other I’ve used before. You way want to get Palomino’s long-point sharper as well.
- uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint Pens: Though some cases call for a pencil, I prefer to write with a ballpoint pen. In fact, most every first draft I create begins with pen and paper. I discovered these pens a few years ago and now refuse to use anything else. I’m sure you can find more attractive pens, but good luck finding some that write as smooth as these.
- Moleskine Cahier Journals: Once you have your writing utensils, you’ll need something on which to write. Personally, I’m particular about notebooks from their size to the color of their paper. Maybe these notebooks won’t impress others as they do me, but I’ll suggest them nonetheless.
- ESV Scripture Journals: Why juggle a Bible and notebook on your lap when you could have both in one conveniently sized journal? Since I shared the virtues of Scripture Journals last week, I won’t repeat myself. You’re welcome to read that post. (KJV Scripture Journals are also available if you’re interested.)
- ESV Single Column Journaling Bible: This is the most versatile Bible I own. It has space for notes, thick pages for easy turning, and a gorgeous cover that screams quality without being pretentious. There’s even a place to keep your Palomino pencil should you have one. Other translations have similar editions—see NIV, KJV, NKJV, CSB—but their covers aren’t quite as attractive to me as Crossway’s “natural leather” option.
- ESV Reader’s Bible: When the Bible is broken into six volumes, it’s anything but versatile, but that’s really the point. Sometimes all you want is to sit in a comfortable chair, throw your feet up, and immerse yourself in the word of God. This Bible makes that experience even better than you could have imagined. Without any verse numbers, footnotes, cross-references, or chapter breaks to distract you, you’ll find yourself reading longer than usual. Most any Christian would benefit from owning this set. The NIV has a similar four-volume edition, but the design doesn’t feel as timeless or inviting. Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s still a great option. I haven’t tried the new CSB Reader’s Bible, but it looks promising and currently sits at the top of my wishlist.
- ESV Men’s and Women’s Devotional Bibles: For those who enjoy 365-day devotionals, my wife and I appreciated these more than most we’ve tried. They are gospel-centered, theologically rich, often convicting, and always practical.
- Kindle Paperwhite: I never leave home without it. Opportunities to read abound if only you have access to a book when you need one. Better yet, why not give yourself access to hundreds or thousands of books when you’re ready to consume the written word? Read a sample before purchasing. Sync with your Audible account to read or listen without losing your place. Read in the dark. I could go on and on regarding my love for this device.
I considered offering a list of specific book recommendations, but I’ll leave you to ask. If you need suggestions, let me know. I’d be happy to help. Otherwise, have a merry Thanksgiving.