Best Books to Give for Christmas 2018

My annual list of books to give has become a tradition that has bounced from site to site over the years. I love giving books because they’re easy to wrap and can be shared and reread for years to come.

This Christmas, here are some books that are worth adding to your own Christmas list, as well as giving to family and friends.

For HGTV Enthusiasts

Homebody by Joanna Gaines
Regardless of whether someone’s style is midcentury modern, chabby chic, or rustic farmhouse like Joanna Gaines, he or she will love this book. It’s more than just a coffee table book because Joanna discusses her thought process for a space and design principles that cross all style genres.

Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith
I love this book! I was hooked with this quote at the beginning — “Let’s get your home looking the way you’ve always hoped so that you can use it the way you’ve always dreamed.”

For Home Cooks

Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten
This cookbook has a little more on technique than your average Food Network personality cookbook but also includes some great comfort food and entertaining recipes. This cookbook is perfect for the person who loves to entertain because the dishes are large! There are a few repeats from other cookbooks, so I don’t recommend this book for dedicated Barefoot Contessa fans. Instead, it’s a great way to introduce a new and enthusiastic cook to family-style favorites and new techniques.

Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
Like everything the Gaines family does, the recipes aren’t fancy but they are comforting and no-fuss. Cookbook snobs need not apply. This book is worth giving with the hope that they one day bring you Joanna’s quick After School Banana Bread.

The Happy Cookbook by Steve and Kathy Doocy
If you’ve tuned into Fox and Friends in the last month, you’ve probably seen this book promoted. I bought it when I learned that the recipe for Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ infamous Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie is included. This book isn’t just for Fox News fans though. There really are some good recipes and I can’t wait to delve into it more!

Keto Comfort Foods by Marie Emmerich
This is a must-have for anyone doing keto or for someone who just wants to integrate keto-friendly dishes into their cooking repertoire. The author has several keto cookbooks, but this one is my absolute favorite. It doesn’t rely too much on ingredients (i.e. xanthan gum, coconut aminos, etc.) that aren’t in your average pantry.

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon
When this book came out, it wasn’t on my must-buy list. However, it was recently included in my quarterly PopSugar Must Have subscription box and I’m so glad it was! The book has stories from Reese and includes some basics for entertaining (like table settings) and really tasty-looking southern recipes. It would be great for those just starting out on their own and dreaming of hosting their first adult dinner party. It’s definitely not your typical cookbook. I’ve been eating healthy going into the holidays, so I haven’t had a chance to try any of the recipes. Some I look forward to making include Green Goddess Dressing, Cheddar Biscuits, and Crab Puffs.

For Those Embracing Change in 2019

If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Better Be Tough: Lessons from My Life with Bulls, Protestors, and Politicians by Mike Broomhead
Full disclosure: I coauthored this book with Mike, but the heart of it is all him and his amazing advice. It’s great for those who are considering career changes, moving to another city, and other big life decisions. It’s also an excellent gift for recent high school or college graduates.

The Struggle is Real: Getting Better at Life, Stronger in Faith, and Free from the Stuff Keeping You Stuck by Nicole Unice
Giving someone a self-help book can be dicey, but I’m recommending this one because it’s Bible-based and more about strengthening your faith than mindless mantras from social media stars. If you’re a subscriber to BRIGHT, you might remember that I’ve recommended this book a couple times.

Good Days Start with Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude
This book is not complicated and calling it a “guide” is a bit overstated. It’s simply a journal that encourages people to write down three things they’re thankful for each day. There are no pre-printed dates, so there’s no guilt about not doing it every day. I’m not the type of person who keeps a journal. I think it’s more fun to include funny and serious items. One day I listed “Amazon Prime Now” as of my items! At under $6, it’s a great stocking stuffer.

For Fiction Enthusiasts

Man of War by Sean Parnell
This is Sean’s first novel and just like his first book and memoir, Outlaw Platoon, it is action-packed. If someone you know is a fan of Brad Thor, a veteran, or just a supporter of veterans, he or she will thoroughly enjoy this book. By the way, Brad Thor’s latest book, Spymaster, is also be a great gift to pair with Man of War!

Wildfire by Kurt Schlichter
I love a series! This is Kurt’s third in the Kelly Turnbull series. First was People’s Republic, then Indian Country. Wildfire is the latest and chronicles what’s happening when Blue America is on the brink of collapse. Give all three and you’ll be a Christmas hero.

Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan (Now available in a box set!)
I LOVED these books. I haven’t seen the movie for the first book yet, but it’s definitely high on my movie list. Most books that satisfy the guilty pleasures of labels, high society, and real estate-envy don’t often have a good story line. This series is the exception. I’m so glad the later books explored other relationships and characters, too.

I Wish I Might by Lisa De Pasquale
This is my first novel and it’s the perfect gift for women who want an inside look at beauty and lifestyle magazines, with a dose of romance. In a book review, S.L.M. Goldberg wrote that I Wish I Might is, “Chick lit that’s actually about the chick.” A high compliment from one of my favorite culture writers!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was my favorite summer read of 2017 and I included it on last year’s Christmas list. I’m including it again because other than the Crazy Rich Asian series, it’s still my most recent favorite fiction read. If you love old Hollywood, the story of Evelyn Hugo will intrigue you with its studio-arranged marriages, secret lovers, and gossip columnists. If you know about the real gossip from the era, you’ll see some familiar storylines and try to match them with the real-life actors.

For Laughs

The Gutfeld Monologues by Greg Gutfeld
While some might put a book by a Fox News host in a section on politics, I read Gutfeld first and foremost because he’s witty and clever. He’s the writer who most often makes me think, “I wish I had written that!” This book is really two books in one — a collection of Gutfeld’s monologues from The Five and a rebuttal or update of Gutfeld’s monologues from The Five. Receivers can choose their own Gutfeld adventure and decide which one was right!

PeopleofWalmart.com Adult Coloring Book: Rolling Back Dignity
Why bother with floral and swirly designs when your loved one can shade a shopper’s butt crack or crop top? Personally, I admire People of Walmart’s body confidence and risk-taking fashion. Speaking of adult coloring books, my favorite is actually The Golden Girls coloring book.

The Social Justice Warrior Handbook: A Practical Survival Guide for Snowflakes, Millennials, and Generation Z by Lisa De Pasquale
So, you knew this one was going to make list, too! Do you know someone who likes to laugh at the current outrage culture? Indulge them with this fun book of parody that’s so factual you’ll want to cry. Or use it to torment your SJW relative.

A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World by David Spade
This is an Audible exclusive and what convinced me to finally get an Audible subscription. This audiobook by David Spade is hilarious. I can’t imagine it being in book form because his personality and side comments make it so entertaining. It’s about working in Hollywood and New York (i.e. SNL days), being the older guy at LA parties, and a little bit about growing up in Arizona. Couple it with an Audible subscription (you get two free books!) and you’re golden.

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta
This book is for your friend who says “Treat Yourself.” Retta, who played Donna on Parks & Recreation, is funny and real in this book. She writes about what it was like being raised by thrifty Liberian parents, doing the college comedy circuit, and, of course, how she treats herself.

About My Mother: True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother by Peggy Rowe
If you’re a Mike Rowe fan, you’ve probably seen his mother make an appearance on his show, Returning the Favor, or in his social media feed. She is quite a storyteller and this book is sure to be a favorite.

For Kids

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs
It can’t be a coincidence that so many cooking competition shows (Chopped, MasterChef, Baking Championship, etc.) have versions for kids. I’m not a parent, but I gather that a lot more kids are interested in cooking. This book is great because it has lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Thump: The First Bundred Days by Timothy Lim, Mark Pellegrini, and Brett R. Smith
Thump, a bunny with very distinct hair, is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s beautifully drawn and written. The kids will adore him and the adults will get a chuckle. Give this to a MAGA parent and YUGE praise.

The Poky Little Puppy (A Little Golden Book Classic)
Every kid needs a Golden Book and this one is my favorite!

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Every year a new group of kids becomes old enough to start the Harry Potter series. Amazon has a great deal on a paperback box set of all seven books. You could start with just the first book, Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, but if you remember the thrill of reading the book for the first time you also remember the long wait between books! If you do go with one at a time, I say go for the hardcover editions!

Note: By using some of the links above, I may be compensated through the Amazon Affiliate program. However, none of this is sponsored and all opinions are my own.

Author of The SJW Handbook (parody amzn.to/2shVdRj) & I Wish I Might (novel amzn.to/2mecO8i). Dog Lover.