Holiday Gift Guide for Young Adults: Great Gifts for the Young Reader in Your Life
Holiday Gift Guide for Young Adults: Great Gifts for the Young Reader in Your Life
I don’t know about you, but the holidays feel a little extra special to me this year. After having to spend them with only my immediate family last year, I’m looking forward to things being a bit closer to normal this year. And to celebrate, I’m putting some extra care into the gifts I’m choosing for my friends and family.
While I always try to soak up the several weeks we get of beautiful foliage here in New England, I’m looking forward to the holiday decorations going up around town and starting to see trees pop up in people’s windows when I drive by at night. Even though the stores have had Christmas merchandise out since before Halloween, I’m finally starting to get into the spirit.
As a high school teacher myself, I’m starting to talk to my students about the kinds of things they’re hoping for this holiday season. I’m already keenly aware of the things they’re interested in just by observing them on a daily basis, so I’ve put together this Holiday Gift Guide for Young Adults with teen readers in mind. While these gifts are great for any young person in your life, they’ll be extra appreciated by the ones who always bring a book to the holiday family gatherings.
Now, you’ll need to know your target pretty well for this one, but glasses are a must-have these days, even for those of you lucky enough to have 20/20. About six years ago, I stumbled upon a website called EyeBuyDirect and I’ll never go back. The site offers hundreds of frames, in both adult and kid sizes, that can be ordered with or without prescription lenses. While you can’t try the frames on at home, the site does have some cool virtual try-on features and most frames have great customer reviews that include pictures to help give you an idea of what the frames look like in person.
The best part about this site? The frames and lenses are incredibly affordable! Most frames are around $30 or less and basic lenses prescription lenses start at around $19. Since I ordered my first pair, I’ve started quite the collection! This means I choose different frames based on my outfit and hairstyle making wearing glasses way more fun. You can also order blue light lenses which really help with eye strain and headaches when you’re on your phone or computer all day.
Check the site regularly; with the free rewards program and constant promotions, you’re sure to find a great deal in time for the holidays!
When I was teaching in our hybrid schedule last year (which I hated), one thing I did like was getting to see my students’ spaces. While some of them sat in their kitchens or living rooms for class, most of them chose the most comfortable option: their beds. So I got to see a lot of the kinds of decorations in their rooms. What did I see in almost every room? LED light strips around the ceiling.
These are not the basic white Christmas lights many of us had in our rooms growing up. These LED light strips are flush to the wall, come with a remote, are Alexa compatible, and can be programmed in basically any way you want them to be. Want them to go with your music? Done. Want them on a timer? Set. Only want them to be warm colours to help with your headaches? No problem. The best part is there are a ton of options only and they’re really affordable. This set here is 65 feet long and has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating with 54,000 reviews.
This story could very easily have been too heavy. The grief these characters feel is expertly communicated almost to a fault; sometimes it’s hard to see how they’ll ever find their way out. But that’s almost the beauty of it. Just like in our own lives, sometimes we realize that it’s actually darkest just before dawn. When we meet Rae, she seems completely broken. Imagining her opening her heart to anyone in any capacity is difficult, but Nolfi takes us on this journey with Rae in a way that feels organic. Quinn is both authentic and resilient given his circumstances, graces we can all aspire to, but will hopefully never have to call upon. Even with the emotional story giving you more than enough to hold on to, Nolfi also weaves in a few surprises that makes The Passing Storm truly riveting, particularly in the second half.
Don’t get me wrong; I love headphones. They’re great for so many things: working out, running errands, signaling to people that you don’t want to talk. But as a teacher, they’re also sort of the bane of my existence, especially now that they’re so easy to hide under your hair. That being said, I absolutely love seeing all the really fun cases my students have for their AirPods. Think about what the person on your list is into, and I guarantee you can find an AirPod case to match their interests.
The ones I linked here are all from Etsy so you can help support some small businesses this holiday season.
For the Star Wars fan: This adorable Millenium Falcon case from Little Ears Boutique
The Harry Potter Fan: This case from AirpodQueen
The Marvel fan: This case shaped like Mjölnir that’s only for the worthiest on your list
And if you’re not sure of their favourite fandom, check out this adorable iced coffee case from AirpodQueen
Another decor staple I noticed during hybrid learning was tapestries. Students had all sorts of different ones. Some were simply patterned while others were images of their favourite artists or actors. For the readers in your life, you have all sorts of inspiration to draw from. Websites like Society6 and Redbubble give you the chance to scroll for hours looking for the perfect design.
Something For Reluctant Readers
Now, in case you came here because the teen on your list either isn’t reading as much as they used to, or you want to instill a newfound love for reading in them, I have a suggestion: graphic novels and comics. As an ELA teacher, I have a lot of reluctant readers. I know those students won’t love long novels right away, but I can usually get them to pick up a comic or a graphic novel, and sometimes, more often than not, I can get them to enjoy stories that way.
Graphic novels have come a long way in the last decade or so, and a lot of novels are available in their traditional form as well as in graphic novel form. And with the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, comic books are becoming more and more popular.
If you’re looking for comics, you have a few options. You can pick them up serially either at your local comic shop using a site like this or you could order them online from one a little further away (many of them ship!). You could also head to a store like Newbury Comics. I always like to go into a store when possible so I can talk to the people that work there to get a sense of what’s new and what I might be interested in next. If you know that your teen likes a certain character, you can ask for the first issue in the latest run featuring that character.
For graphic novels, you have a few points of entry. You could try the graphic novel version of a book they’ve already read or you could choose something you think they might be interested in but wouldn’t pick up in traditional novel form. For example, I’ve had students read the graphic novel version of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones that would never have picked up such a long novel.
Remember: all reading is reading! If you read novels, that’s great! If you listen to audiobooks or read graphic novels, that’s also great! However we choose to consume stories, we’re all reading for the same reasons.
And if all else fails, head to your local bookstore, grab a gift card, and spend the afternoon picking out books together. Nothing beats supporting local small businesses and spending quality time with family and friends.
Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table