Seven Ways to Hint that You Want Books for Christmas

Christmas is coming up, and if you’re like me, you want to make sure as many smooth, rectangular packages are underneath the tree as possible. I’m referring to the best presents of all: books. (If you thought I meant gift cards, this probably isn’t the post for you.)

Here are some tips to make sure others get the hint that you’d rather have a new novel or biography than another vial of body wash or pair of socks.

Oh, sure, you could just add a book to your wish list or even outright ask for a particular title as a gift. But come on, readers. We can be more clever than that. Let’s help others in our life realize what we really want for Christmas.

One: Choose a Prominent Place: Tape a picture of a book to a milk carton with the caption: “Have You Seen This Book Under the Christmas Tree?” Add “please” if you’re feeling polite. Other options include: taping a note to a mirror, creating a computer screensaver or lockscreen with a particular book cover, or using up a whole pad of sticky notes with the title’s name and leaving them in frequently-used locations.

Two: Stage an Overheard Conversation. Have a fake phone chat with a friend (for the purposes of this example, we’ll call her Minerva, because why not?). After a bit of small talk with appropriate pauses, wait until you know a friend or family member is nearby, but don’t let that person know you’re aware of their presence. Then say something like, “Can you believe [author’s name] book is coming out just in time for Christmas? Oh, Minverva, I’d be delighted if someone was kind enough to buy me [title] this year!” This has the advantage of being so subtle that the gift-giver will think the present is a total surprise!

Three: Leave a Note for Santa Lying Around. I suggest something like this: “Dear Santa, Whether I’ve been good or not this year is totally irrelevant to the present I’m requesting. Surprised? Well, let me explain. Studies have shown that reading increases empathy and abstract reasoning skills. Also, buying books supports authors, and the following books are written by people who are on the “nice” list (I checked). [Insert title list here] In conclusion: send me books, Santa, not because I deserve it, but because you want to help me become a better person. Sincerely, [your name]” (This is guaranteed to get the attention of someone used to reading saccharine-sweet accounts of exaggerated good behavior.)

Four: Mark the Target Locations: If you’re shopping with a friend or driving through town with your spouse, be sure to sigh longingly whenever you pass a bookstore. Possibly add an indirect, helpful comment like, “If I had a million dollars, I would spend all of them there. On these specific titles. In time for Christmas so I have something to read this January. Hypothetically, of course.”

Five: The Accidental Text. Tell a friend or family member that you’re going to send them a picture of something cute—a puppy with a red sweater you saw on the way to work or your daughter in her angel costume. Instead, text the cover of the book you want. Then say, “Oops! My mistake. I must have that picture on here because I’m hoping someone will buy it for me for Christmas.” Then send the real picture so the person will be in a sentimental mood and buy you the book right away. This works particularly well to influence givers who aren’t in your immediate area.

Six: Enlist the Nativity. Copy some covers of favorite books from the Internet and print them out in miniature. Cut out and fold into a book shape, then insert into the arms of the wise men. (Gold, frankincense, and myrrh can be used to prop them up for the best effect.) Then, dangling from the stable roof, hang up a sign that says, “What Jesus wished the wise men would have brought.” Someone will get the hint.

Seven: Sing. Every time “All I Want for Christmas is You” comes on the radio, change “you” to “books.” If someone corrects you, deny that these are not the original and most logical lyrics. Because clearly this is a very deep and coherent song, so if it’s really “I just want you for my own,” referring to a person, instead of “I just want them for my own” referring to the latest paperbacks, isn’t that a little possessive and selfish? And why would Mariah not need to hang her stocking by the fireplace except because paper is flammable and her precious books could go up in flames? I have questions, my friends. Questions that can only be answered with literature.

Do you have any favorite techniques on this list, readers? Or any additional ideas?

New Releases: December 2017

It’s almost Christmas time! And if you’re like me, presents shaped like books are the most exciting of all. (Even as a kid, I’d snoop under the tree to count how many perfectly smooth rectangular packages had my name on them.) If you know and love a reader (or want to leave hints for your own wish list) take a look at the books below…there’s a gift for just about every fiction lover’s style releasing this month!

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

by Julie Klassen

Synopsis: In the confines of Ivy Cottage, friendships thrive, romances blossom, and mysteries await! Gentlewoman Rachel Ashford has moved into Ivy Cottage with the two Miss Groves, where she discovers mysteries hidden among her books. Together with her one-time love Sir Timothy, she searches for answers—and is forced to face her true feelings.

Buy for Someone Who: Loves British dramas and all things Jane Austen, enjoys getting to know a delightful cast of characters.

The House on Foster Hill

by Jaime Jo Wright

Synopsis: Fleeing a stalker, Kaine Prescott purchases an old house sight unseen in Wisconsin, which turns out to have a dark history: a century earlier, an unidentified woman was found dead on the grounds. As Kaine tries to settle in, she learns the story of her ancestor Ivy Thorpe, who, with the help of a man from her past, tried to uncover the truth about the death.

Buy for Someone Who: Wants a page-turning suspense novel with lots of twists and turns, can’t choose between historical and contemporary genres.

Holding the Fort

by Regina Jennings

Synopsis: When dance hall singer Louisa Bell visits Fort Reno to see her brother, she is mistaken for the governess that the harried Major Daniel Adams is waiting for. Between his rowdy troops and his two daughters, he has more responsibility than he can handle alone. Eager for the opportunity, Louisa sets out to show the widower that she is a perfect fit.

Buy for Someone Who: Loves to laugh and get to know lovable characters, can’t resist a hard-won happy ending to a delightful romance.

The Probing

by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky

Synopsis: In cycle three of the series, the Harbingers team investigates more mysterious and fascinating supernatural occurrences in Hollywood, a small town in North Carolina, and elsewhere. Can they keep the growing darkness at bay? This fast-paced and ongoing collection reads like your favorite TV series, with each linked episode written by a talented author.

Buy for Someone Who: Enjoys Stranger Things and other speculative stories, wants something a little edgy and fast-paced.

What’s a book that you’d love to receive for Christmas this year?

Prayer for Authors: December 2017

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in November:

Alton Gansky
Angela Hunt
Regina Jennings
Julie Klassen
Bill Myers
Frank Peretti
Jaime Jo Wright

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.–John 1:14 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For balance and moments of peace and reflection even when there are other demands on authors’ time and attention.
  • For freedom from comparison and inadequacy.
  • For booksellers to have a productive holiday season and the ability to deal well with stress amidst the busyness.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy days to pray for these authors and their books. We appreciate having you join with us!