Christmas Lists for Writers Don’t Include Kitten Hats or Nose Hair Clippers

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Tue, Dec 9 - 12:31 am EDT | 6 years ago by
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Jenny Cromie 

As you can see from my picture, it looks like I’m wearing a kitten on my head.

See, my walking partner gave me an early Christmas present yesterday. And I very much appreciate the sentiment and the thoughtfulness that went into the gift (in fact, I was speechless). After all, we walk five miles a day in subzero temps all winter long, and she wants me to be warm.

And even though I’m too old to really care about what other people think—especially out on the trail in the middle of the woods—I still feel a little like I did in elementary school when my mother forced me to wear a bright blue nylon snowsuit that made me walk stiff-legged like Frankenstein all the way to school. It was warm (as most ugly outer garments are), but I think I would have preferred a little chill than to suffer the humiliation of wearing that fashion disaster all winter long.

Now, in the case of my most recent outer garmet acquisition (and no, it’s not made of real fur), I most definitely would have chosen a different hat for myself. But I’m a good friend, and I will wear the tabby cat hat on my head all winter long.

By now, I’m sure you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with writing and building a successful freelance business. Well, I’m getting to that.

See, if you don’t tell the people in your life what you’d really like for Christmas, you just might end up with a kitten hat like me. Or like a couple of my other writer friends a few years back, you might unwrap a waffle iron, a pair of nosehair clippers, or expired Hickory Farm cheese on Christmas morning (and no, I’m not making these up).

The waffle iron was a present to my friend from her husband. And I don’t know if she ever made him waffles or not, but I know the man narrowly escaped getting bonked on the head with it after she unwrapped the gift. My friend Dave received the nose hair clippers from his mother one year. And the expired Hickory Farm cheese was a present from a couple that was notorious for badly executed re-gifting practices.

So that brings me to the point of this post. If you want to avoid unwrapping kitten hats and nose hair clippers under the tree this year, you’d better have a list to hand over to your spouse, parents, boyfriend, girlfriend, children, and friends.

Save them the money and the time agonizing over what to get your literary self and just hand them this list (or better yet, pen your own):

  • A revolving line of credit at, Barnes & Noble, or Borders. Or for the more budget-conscious of the bunch, a $25 gift certificate to a bookstore of your choice.
  • Cool bookshelves or bookcases. Visit the WebUrbanist for some fabulous designs and ideas.
  • A new laptop. My MacBook literally changed my freelance life. Or if you don’t need a new laptop, what about an external hard drive or digital recorder for all those interviews?
  • Useful services. I would love it if someone offered to pay my wireless bill, annual membership to or Freelance Success for a year. Wouldn’t you?
  • A stress-relieving tool. Rejection letters got you down? What about asking for a gym membership or a gift certificate to the local spa? Or if you want to work out in your own home, what about a treadmill to run or walk off all the potato chips, mocha almond fudge ice cream, or [fill in the diet no-no of your choice] that you scarf down under deadline pressure? Or just skip sweating altogether and ask for a massage chair (if you get one of these, please invite me over).

So fellow readers and writers, please feel free to buy me anything off of the above list.

But please, no more kitten hats.

What have I left off the list? Please feel free to add in the comments section below so that you can print off the list in its entirety and give it to Santa or one of his elves.

Meowy Christmas,


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  • Stephanie

    A gift that I’ve always thought would be great for a writer would be a nice fountain pen and a beautiful journal. I love fountain pens, and they can be such a thoughtful gift – when I was in college and asking for letters of recommendations from my professors, I gave them nice pens as a thank you gift. They were always very well received.

    I have to agree with a gift certificate to Amazon or other bookstore. You really can’t go wrong there!

  • jaden

    wow funny articles!! thumbs p!1

  • Amanda

    This is a great piece, and although I cannot claim to ever had received anything as bad as expired cheese… the idea of buying things for others that they just do not need or want is certainly a recurring issue year after year!

    The ideas for gifts for writers are great – a list I will be forwarding to my nearest and dearest ;-)

  • Nancy

    Oh, definitely an external hard drive.

    And a handful of thumb drives–I like to give each big project its own.

    And a case of Pilot Varsity Pens.

  • megan

    I love my little mini leather-bound notebook that I keep in my purse for random story ideas (because my best thoughts seem to appear while I’m out & about).

    Along the lines of getting out of the house, I am considering asking for a personal trainer this year, not only for contact with real human beings but also to have someone help me meet specific fitness goals.

  • jGrrl

    I had an electric ‘home spa’ for my tub, it was a billion years old and it finally gave up the ghost a few months ago.

    Thats OK though, I found a newer model thats half its size, half its price and twice as nice! For anyone who doesn’t know what they are – its a pad with precision holes in strategic places that hooks up to a powerful blower motor. The pad suctions to the bottom of a regular tub and the motor blows the air through the bubbles to ‘massage’ your tired bones and it happens to be my number one Christmas wish this year :-)

  • Elizabeth

    I love the idea of the case of Pilot Varsity Pens and the external hard drive ideas.

    Jennie, if you are asking, I need more storage containers and bookcases. ;)

    I told my husband I’d like to have a soundproof telephone kiosk so I could watch my kids play while I conduct phone interviews.

  • Julie

    See, I have a different take on it. Gifts aren’t something you order, because that makes it … not a gift! Whether or not I like a kitten hat is irrelevant — it’s the idea that someone thought of me and gave it to me that counts. (Yes, even with nose hair clippers.) I just wouldn’t hand someone a list because that makes me feel entitled or something.

  • Mark Jabo

    Can’t believe your friend didn’t throw in a gift certificate to the local Chinese restaurant where the rest of the cat ended up…

    On a serious note — sorry, I’m not feeling well :) — at they have a combo pen and 512MB USB flash drive and at they have a pen with a built-in light for night writing and all kinds of jackets/vests with lots of pockets which are great for holding pads, pens, etc when you’re traveling.

  • Roxanne

    How about the gift of not asking, every time you call, “What are you doing?”

    If you’re calling during normal business hours, the answer is (and always will be), “Working.”

  • Jenny Cromie

    I love all these ideas. Thanks for weighing in everyone. I’m big on journals, pens, and other writing instruments too. Always winners in my book.

    Jgrrl that home spa sounds like something I might buy myself for Christmas—it sounds divine. So does the personal trainer, Megan.

    Mark, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. :-( I will have to check out that USB/pen combo and that nightlight pen.

    Julie, I know what you mean about handing people lists. Normally I don’t do that unless asked. Otherwise, I just graciously accept what comes my way. And for the record, I really am very appreciative of my kitten hat. I will have a very warm head this winter.

    And clearly my dear friend and walking partner has my best interests at heart. Kitten hat aside, I can’t ask for a better gift than that. :-)

  • Alena

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first

    comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this

    blog very often.


  • Jenny Cromie

    Thanks Alena! I hope you continue coming back! And if there are any topics or issues you’d like me to tackle on the blog, just let me know!

  • Jackie Dishner

    Great gift ideas, Jenny. I’ve been thinking about getting a MacBook, but I’ve always used a PC. My daughter says I’d love the Mac. Maybe I’ll just get that one for myself.

    Jackie, a fellow b5er at…

  • Jenny Cromie

    Thanks Jackie. I think you would love the MacBook. :-)

    I want one of the newer ones, but I think Santa will have to hold off on that delivery for a awhile. My credit card doesn’t need any more exercise at the moment. LOL.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Alisa Bowman

    Was that a serious gift?! Yikes. I don’t even think I’d gift that to a kitten. On my list: anyone who wants to hook up my backup device so it actually works? That would be a priceless gift in my opinion. Same with optimizing my website for Google. Would LOVE that. Too bad they don’t sell these things at stores….I would love to trade in any number of ugly sweaters to get my backup device up and running.