By Jill Walters
What kind of holiday gifts would a discerning editor enjoy? How about the editor who seems rigid but has a secret sense of humor? The basic go-to coffee shop gift cards and sets of red pens are appreciated, but you can do better than that for your closest edibuddies and word nerds.
Below is a list of unique and memorable gifts—arranged alphabetically by store name—suitable for just about every age, size, flavor, and type of editor, plus the tiniest editors-to-be. You might even find something you’ll want to treat yourself to after making that big deadline!
Based on suggestions from fellow editors and plenty of searching, these affordable gifts all cost less than $50, and many register under the $25 mark. Most shops listed are owned by editors or wordy types, or are small businesses based in the Pacific Northwest and the western U.S. and Canada. (More small print at the end of the post.)
Sorry, bibliophiles, but there are no books included because there could easily be a dozen lists of books alone. This guide is full of clothing, accessories, office supplies, housewares, beverages, and generally fun things any word wizard would want.
1. AP vs. Chicago and Conscious Style Guide (aka Quiet Press) Shops
California editing superstar Karen Yin, the founder of the AP vs. Chicago and Conscious Style Guide websites (and 2017 Red Pencil Conference keynote speaker), makes it easy to show your love of editing and respectful language with merch from her two shops.
Please note: Order T-shirts from the Uni-T shop which has a wider selection and custom color choices not available on Karen’s Etsy shop.
And as an extra-special bonus, Karen is offering a 10% discount for blog readers through December 31, 2018, at both her shops with the discount code REDPEN.
- Edit or Die Mug ($12) A roomy 15-ounce mug perfect for imbibing while marking Oxford commas.
- Make Peace With Words T-shirt ($34) Wear your support for conscious and inclusive language choices with these incredibly comfy bamboo/organic cotton blend tees. Available in fitted or straight-cut styles with plenty of color choices for shirts and inks to customize your look.
Utah editor Jonathon Owen has been writing about language usage and change for more than a decade on his Arrant Pedantry blog. The store connected to his blog features witty T-shirts in many sizes and styles that will make any grammarian chuckle.
- Stet Wars: The Editor Strikes Back T-shirt ($14.99–$20.99 depending on style) One of several hilarious Sci-Fi/word nerd mashup tees available at this shop.
- I Could Care Fewer T-shirt ($14.99–$20.99 depending on style) Make the pedants cringe and the descriptivists cheer with this grammatical shirt.
The Blackwing 602 is one of the most famous pencils in history due to its impeccable quality and soft lead. Super-editor Mary Norris of The New Yorker even raved about Blackwing pencils in her book and in videos. Beyond the classic Blackwing 602, there are now several custom varieties of the flat-eraser writing implements as well as Blackwing accessories and merchandise.
- Blackwing Enamel Pin Set ($14.95) These three adorable and sturdy enamel pins will not only spruce up your clothing or bag, but also show the world that you’re a pencil connoisseur.
- Blackwing 602 Pencils ($21.95 for set of 12) You can’t go wrong with a good set of pencils. You can also customize the look of your Blackwings with separate colored erasers.
If the Chicago Manual of Style is your editing bible, you can now adorn yourself, your family, and your home with items inspired by this beloved reference book. Show off your mastery of Chicago style with items ranging from baby onesies to phone cases to blankets. There’s even a CMOS shower curtain.
- CMOS White Logo Beach Towel ($32–$39 depending on size) Show the world your favorite style guide while lounging at the beach or by the pool—editors deserve breaks too.
- CMOS White Logo Throw Pillow ($19–$39 depending on size) Go ahead and take a nap on the couch while resting your head on the CMOS logo. Who knows—maybe you’ll learn the entire hyphenation table by magical pillow osmosis!
Our friends to the north at Editors Canada offer training and professional certification suitable for those who work with both Canadian and American English, plus they have a neat little shop with bilingual calendars and magnets designed for editorial types.
- 2018–2019 Calendar ($35 (CAD) for U.S. version including shipping to U.S.; $25–$45 (CAD) for Canadian and International versions) A colorful wall calendar with editing tips and special wordy holidays such as Dictionary Day.
This Portland-based business makes colorful and fun stationery, home goods, gifts, and vintage postage stamp sets. Be sure to check out their tongue-in-cheek award ribbon collection.
- Good Grammar is Sexy Pencils ($10 for set of six) Show your grammar greatness with these funny No. 2 pencils. Several other motivational, snarky, and nerdy pencil imprints are available.
- Library Cards ($8 for set of 50) Just like the old-school cards used to check out books of yore, these 3-by-5-inch cards are great for keeping track of your lent books or writing notes. Available in a variety of colors.
Tantalize your olfactory senses with soy wax candles from this Minneapolis candlemaker that bases all its scents on book and literary themes. They offer special seasonal varieties and cozy favorites.
- Old Books Candle ($6–$18 depending on size) Edit, read, or write to the subtle scent of an old book. “But not the rotten, mildewy kind,” according to the maker.
- Rainy Day Reads Candle ($6–$18 depending on size) Wildly appropriate for a drizzly Pacific Northwest winter, this scent with lavender, ginger, and fresh rain will perk you up.
Find all sorts of imaginative word play, punctuation, and nerdy designs from this Arizona-based shop. Most designs are available on multiple items including clothing, accessories, prints, or home goods.
- “Whom” Owl Tote ($24) The owls may not be what they seem, but they do know the difference between “who” and “whom.” This strong, roomy cotton tote will certainly get you compliments.
- Punctuation Coaster Set With Holder ($40 for six coasters and holder) Choose your six favorite punctuation marks to customize these laser-engraved bamboo coasters. Each symbol comes with its own silly saying.
This Columbia Valley winery produces flavorful wines with varietal and blend names such as Foreshadow, Protagonist, Subplot, and Suspense—perfect as a gift for fiction editors and readers. Visit their tasting rooms in Richland, WA, and Woodinville, WA, just outside Seattle, to sample their latest vintages and learn about their “Book Club” wine club options.
(Note: Wine is not available to ship to all states or countries; please see the website for restrictions or ways to buy through a third-party seller.)
- 2016 Readers Chardonnay ($20) Enjoy a glass of this light, refreshing white wine after a deadline, or share with a bookish friend who likes fruity tastes.
- 2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon ($28) A smooth and aromatic red wine to sip after considering story arcs or marking en dashes.
The Lingthusiasm podcast is a favorite of word lovers from across the world, and linguist hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne also maintain a shop fit for any word fan.
- IPA Scarves ($40.99) Subtly show off your language love with this huge (55″ square) scarf featuring the International Phonetic Alphabet. Choose from a rainbow of colors and actual rainbow patterns. The IPA pattern is also available as a necktie.
- Heck Yeah Language Change Zipper Pouch ($15–$22.50 depending on size) Show that you aren’t a language curmudgeon with these handy zipper pouches.
British Columbia–based Murchie’s is famous for its flavorful tea blends and has a handful of literary-inspired tastes for fans of bookish essentials such as libraries and Sherlock Holmes.
(Note: Murchie’s prices are listed in Canadian dollars. They offer flat-rate shipping to the U.S. and Canada.)
- Editors’ Blend Tea Bags ($4.50–$14.95 (CAD) depending on size) Created specially for the 2011 Editors’ Association of Canada (now Editors Canada) conference in Vancouver, this complex black tea blend will get you through that difficult document.
12. Paper Hammer
With a studio in Tieton, WA, and a flagship store in downtown Seattle, Paper Hammer creates snazzy letterpress items and books sure to delight lovers of letters, typography, and words. They also make a poster with special proofreaders’ marks you didn’t know you needed.
- Woodblock Type Notebook ($12) This useful little notebook features an artistic letterpress ampersand on the front cover and an exclamation point on the back to finish off your thoughts.
- Type Postcards Set ($24 for 14 postcards) Share typography puns with friends and family, or hang them over your desk for font inspiration.
13. Sock It to Me
Portland-area designers Sock It to Me make whimsical foot attire for the whole family and even offer a monthly specialty sock subscription service.
- Pencil Me In Crew Socks ($11) Adorn your peds with pencils, paper, and pencil shavings on these cozy socks.
- Wise Owl Knee Highs ($12) Let the literary wisdom flow while keeping your feet warm with scholarly avians and books.
This Portland creator of literary wearables and accessories also has a big heart and partners with a literacy-advocacy nonprofit.
- Writing Gloves ($26) Available in prints from 33 different classic tales, these fingerless cotton gloves will keep your hands toasty while you work all winter long.
- Storybook Baby Blanket ($36) A perfect gift for the tykes of word lovers, these cotton flannel blankets will swaddle little ones in classic children’s stories.
Additional Shops to Search for Merch:
- Archie McPhee
This Seattle novelty gift shop carries some of the strangest things you’ll ever find—including candy, temporary tattoos, bandages, air fresheners, and action figures featuring the likenesses (and scents?!) of literary greats Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shakespeare. Plus the one-and-only Librarian Action Figure modeled after Seattle’s most famous librarian, Nancy Pearl. They also have especially large writing implements, if you … ahem … get our point.
Located on the main level of Seattle’s downtown Central Library, FriendShop sells PNW-sourced goods with funds benefitting the Seattle Public Library. They sell a few select items online for those of you who are fans of the Central Library’s unique architecture but don’t live in the area.
Best-known for making high-end office goods, fountain pens, and leather accessories, Levenger also offers a fun selection of affordable office supplies. Check out the metal “Page Nibs” if you’re tired of using sticky page flags.
- Out of Print
Find your favorite vintage book covers and other literary designs on clothing, accessories, and more. Keep an eye out for the adorable matchbox sets that look like tiny libraries.
The famous Portland indie bookstore offers plenty of reading and PNW-themed goodies to add to your book order.
- Storyville Coffee
Seattle coffee roaster Storyville sells two appropriately named blends— Prologue (caffeinated) and Epilogue (decaf)—to fit the beginning and end of your editing day.
The Fine Print: Items and prices were current as of mid-November 2018. Prices do not include tax or shipping costs unless noted. All prices are listed in U.S. dollars unless noted. Shipping policies and times vary with each store. Gift choices were made by the author based on suggestions from other editors and extensive searches.
About the Blog: Posts on the Northwest Editors Guild blog present the views of their authors. Links to outside websites do not imply the Guild’s endorsement. Questions? Ideas? You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.