Day 73

The holidays. The cash outflow. The need for creative gift ideas. What else could I possibly be thinking about while I’m out walking in sub-zero weather (ok, I was thinking about how other women keep their asses warm, but I’ll save that for another day!)?

Today I thought of ten literary jewels — the titles of some of my favorite stories and books — that can be given alone or supplemented with a personal no-cost coupon, a promise, airline tickets, or a cozy home accessory.

1. A Walk in the Woods. Give Bill Bryson’s hilarious book to someone you love, along with a coupon for “a walk together in the woods.”  And don’t forget to tell your friend or lover this idea is courtesy of MyBigWalk!

2. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Hemingway’s story is featured in many collections. Pair it with a lovely desk lamp, and the gift has double meaning. Feeling really generous? Offer an hour of your cleaning and organizational help, to be redeemed before the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

3. A Room of One’s Own. Virginia Woolf’s poignant plea for  refuge and solitude endures as a literary favorite. Is there a room in your house you can clean out for your mate — or yourself — as a gift for the New Year? 

4. A Room with a View.  E.M.Forster’s characters travel to Florence to find their view. This beautiful book could be given with the promise of travel near or far. Or it might be accompanied by a certificate for a full-house window cleaning, generally available from a reputable company for around $150.

5. Beach MusicFor your favorite beach bum, how about a copy of Pat Conroy’s novel and a “happy music” CD mix you make yourself?  If there are tickets to a warm and sunny place tucked inside that book, who’s going to complain?

6. Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson’s book, a teapot, a lovely tea mix, and a beautiful sip-of-nectar mug from Anthropolgie would make a perfect holiday combo.  Or maybe you should make that three mugs.

7. The Big Sleep. Raymond Chandler’s classic (my favorite noir book ever) paired with a new pillow or cozy blanket to curl up with at the end of the day…ahh, that’s a gift I’d love!

8. The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.  When “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was made into a movie last year, it revived interest in F.Scott Fitzgerald’s shorter works. Or at least it should have. This fantastical story, which I read in Tales of the Jazz Age,  could be paired with a wonderful bling ring or big bauble from your favorite costume jeweler. And if you’re in a generous mood, there’s always Tiffany’s, dahhling…

9. Walking the Bible. Bruce Feiler’s book is perfect for your armchair traveler with a yen for books about the Holy Land. Pair it with a copy of the Old Testament, and you’ve given a friend a personally guided walk through the homeland of Judaism and Christianity.

10. The Wildwater Walking Club. Give copies of Claire Cook’s book to your favorite circle of women friends, with a vow to organize a weekly walk together in 2010.  Follow it up with a brunch date, and everyone will love you for it.