Holiday gift guide for bookworms by a bookworm

Because books aren’t the only things that make us happy!

Bookworms are not all about books. Sure, receiving books gives us immense pleasure but there are other book-related gifts that elicit the same kind of joy.

There are many potential gift items out there that enhance the experience of reading like bookmarks, tote bags, even coffee/tea paraphernalia!

Now that Christmas is but a few days away, and perhaps you have a friend or two who love books and you can’t quite decide what to give them, I hope this list by yours truly—a lifelong bookworm—helps you in choosing the best gift.

Tote bags

Most bookworms are tote bag lovers, too. Why, you may ask? It’s because our trusty totes are the most convenient way to lug our books around. Stuck in a long queue at the bank? Order at the resto taking too long to arrive? All we need is to slide an arm into our tote bag—et voilà! Fishing out our book baon won’t take all of five seconds and we won’t mind being stuck in line or waiting for our food for a little while longer.

Tote bags are also quite affordable and come in innumerable designs. You can even have one personalized!

Fully Booked, for example, has a decent selection of tote bags that won’t break the bank. You can even buy a quote tote bag for P150!

You can also order online from Barnes & Noble and Strand Book Store which are known for their sturdy book bags, many of which are book themed.


Stereotypes aside, most bookworms tend to wear eyeglasses because of too much reading even when lighting conditions aren’t ideal. And a romp through the mall will reveal how frames for eyeglasses now come in a mind-boggling array of designs! Who says eyeglasses are and should be boring?

Case in point: JINS Philippines, for example, has recently released a most adorable Sesame Street line (I have had my eyes on the Cookie Monster frame for quite some time now). This comes after the success of their Doraemon series which also saw the release of the most adorable frames.

Owndays, another Japanese eyewear brand, also comes up with exciting frames, such as its recent Pokémon line, of which the Pikachu and Jigglypuff variants sold out quite quickly.

Local brands Sunnies Studios and Executive Optical also have a range of eyewear for all types of personalities.

Coffee and/or tea

Trust me, a bookworm is either a coffee or tea person—or in my case, both. And gifts in the form of anything coffee- or tea-related are very much appreciated.

If your bibliophile friend is into coffee, coffee pods/capsules in all their dizzying variety are always a good idea. For the holidays, I suggest any from Nespresso’s Festive Collection. This year, there’s Frosted Caramel Nut, Seasonal Delight Spices, and Festive Black Espresso, and as in the years previous, each flavor is a hug in a mug, perfect for the holidays!

For your tea-loving bookworm friend, I highly recommend the products of T2, an Australian company known for its premium tea and tea ware. When I’m in the mood for some tea while reading, my go-to blends are its Green and Herbal & Floral Teas like Gorgeous Geisha, Jade Mountain, and Sleep Tight. T2 also has a range of tea ware that are so beautiful they’re like pieces of art.

Harney & Sons, another favorite tea brand, also makes impeccable blends that discerning tea lovers will enjoy. They come in quaint tin cans, so you won’t need to wrap your gift anymore. My favorite varieties are Cherry Blossom, Paris, and Hot Cinnamon Spice, which is perfect for this season where there’s a chill in the air.

Unlike coffee, teas and related products are a little more difficult to find in the metro. T2 has a branch at the Podium, while you can buy Harney & Sons products on the Bow Tie Duck and in some stores on Shopee and Lazada. For more affordable teas that are also more readily available, Twinings is always a good option and is a brand carried by many groceries in Metro Manila.


And because we love coffee and tea, mugs will never not be a great gift idea.

Now, I could see some raised eyebrows. I know, I know, mugs are such an unimaginative option relegated to raffle draws and gift exchanges that they have become a meme.

The humble mug, however, has evolved beyond being a mere corporate giveaway. These days you can find mugs with the quirkiest and most imaginative designs, such as the ones from Flying Tiger Philippines. The Danish variety store, which has recently launched in Manila, released cute Christmas-themed mugs right on the heels of its equally adorable Halloween mug line.

Starbucks Philippines also regularly churns out mugs, tumblers, glasses, and other coffee paraphernalia that would make for great gifts, especially for bookworms such as myself. A cute mug/cup makes the coffee-/tea-drinking while reading even more pleasurable.


Bookworms also love to stream, especially with a plethora of book-to-screen adaptations available for streaming—hence, the gift of a streaming subscription doesn’t seem too bad an idea, right?

On Netflix, for instance, there are countless movies and series based on books. The last time I checked, new releases include The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, a documentary on the bestselling book by Mark Manson, and Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar which was adapted from Roald Dahl’s short stories.

Over on Disney+, coming soon this Dec. 20 is Percy Jackson and the Olympians based on the popular novels by Rick Riordan. While the movies adapted from the first two novels introduced us to actors Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario, most fans were disappointed about the adaptation. Over a decade later, Disney+ promises to turn things around and be more faithful to the books—and we’re waiting with bated breath, hoping to not be frustrated this time.

Other page-to-screen adaptations on Disney+ are Tiny Beautiful Things based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and movies like A Wrinkle in Time (Mageline L’Engle) and The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate), which is based on one of my most favorite books ever.

Meanwhile, Apple TV also has its own book-to-show content like the sweeping epic Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux. HBO GO, meanwhile, has an impressive adaptation of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and of course, what was once the biggest show on earth, Game of Thrones, which was (loosely) based on George R.R. Martin’s books.

But subscriptions aren’t only limited to streaming services. Your bookworm friend will also be thrilled with a year’s worth of access to The New Yorker (it comes with a free tote bag, too!), The New York Times, Vulture, or any other paywalled site that is popular among those who live and breathe words.

Stationery items

You’re not a bona fide bookworm if you don’t love abubot or knickknacks in the form of stationery, especially those you can use when reading.

I’m so happy that Fully Booked carries not only pretty bookmarks but also those that are witty and with quotes printed on them.

If you’re like me who annotates books whenever I encounter quotable quotes and memorable lines, National Book Store is the place to go for supplies such as sticky notes and flags. I don’t write on pages or highlight lines (unless if the book in question is a textbook) because I feel like I’m desecrating the book! But if you prefer highlighting over sticking flags or sticky notes, NBS is a wonderland of highlighters, pens, and markers. Stabilo is a reliable option, but I prefer those by the Japanese brand Zebra, particularly its MildLiner series.

Another great place to shop for knickknacks is at the Common Room in U.P. Town Center, which is a collaborative space that houses over 200 local crafters and brands. You can find all sorts of bookworm abubot here and spend hours perusing the products—all while supporting local.

I’m a fan of the Common Room’s tote bags, stickers, washi tapes, and of course, its collection of paper goods from bookmarks to desk pads, sticky notes to notebooks, perfect companions when you’re a compulsive note-taker and annotator when reading like me.

And if all else fails and you really can’t decide on what to give your book-loving friend, then the almighty Gift Certificate/Card will not let you down.

At the end of the day, whether you’ve decided on a mug or a bookmark or a subscription, cliched as it is, the thought is what matters the most.

The new lifestyle.