A Book-Filled Holiday Gift Guide

I truly believe the best present to give and receive is a book. I love looking at my bookshelf, seeing a book, and thinking of the friend who got it for me. To me, gifting a book says, “I see you, I know you, and I love you for who you are.” Here is a list of books that I’ve either read or seen rave reviews for that I think would be a heartfelt gift this holiday season. Over the last year, Penn and I have gotten to interview some incredible people on our podcast – I’ve included some of their books on this list.

The Little Book of Gratitude by Dr. Robert A. Emmons PhD

Dr. Emmons’ work focuses on the psychology of gratitude and joy as they relate to human flourishing and well-being. He says the best way to focus on gratitude is to integrate it organically into your natural life, such as adjusting your language. Instead of thinking, “I have to do these things today” think, “I get to do these things today.” The Little Book Of Gratitude is full of actionable and practical things you can keep coming back to. I personally think this would make a great stocking stuffer.

Now What?: How to Move Forward When We’re Divided (About Basically Everything) by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers

We had a really special conversation with the hosts of Pantsuit Politics, who describe their podcast as a show for “people who hate politics.” They shared some specific pointers for having often uncomfortable discussions with the people in our lives. Their book is guidepost on how to engage your family with a spirit of curiosity and listen closely to the anxieties and fears of your friends. A perfect gift for the positive peacemaker of your friend group.

Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour Ph.D.

We’ve had Dr. Lisa Damour on our podcast a few time and every single time I learn a little bit more about being a parent to a teen girl. As someone who deals with anxiety myself, hearing that the number of girls who said that they often felt nervous, worried, or fearful jumped 55 percent from 2009 to 2014, is terrifying. I’m so glad Dr. Damour write books for those of us who want to make the path to adulthood a little bit easier for our girls.

The Home Edit Workbook by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

You know I love my Home Edit girls and I’ve grabbed every book they’ve put out about getting organized. Their latest is an actual workbook filled with 52 home-editing challenges and activities. Your girl loves a prompt PLUS they have gold star stickers to reward yourself along the way. I’m in heaven. I’m sure you have a friend who would absolutely adore this to kickstart their 2023.

College Admissions Essentials by Ethan Sawyer

Our family is headed into the college admissions process very soon. It was such a relief when we had Ethan Sawyer on our podcast to tell us that we can not only make the process less stressful, but (gasp) we might even have fun. His book had advice from college admission professionals and interactive exercises to get you ready for the application process.

The Story of You by Ian Morgan Cron

When we sat down to talk to Ian Morgan Cron, Penn and I found it so impactful that we broke it into two episodes. Cron is an expert on the Enneagram personality typing system, but more specifically how we self-sabotage our own stories. His latest book encourages readers to break free from unconscious childhood messages and become your authentic self. If you know someone who loves self-help books, this is a must in their collection.

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School by Michelle Icard

Have you found a theme yet? We love talking to professionals about how to be better parents. Kids and tweens have growing brains and the smallest thing can be misinterpreted. For example, a furrowed brow could mean that you’re interested or thinking about what your child is saying, but your child is probably interpreting it as anger. In her book, Icard shares what phrases invite connection and which irritate kids or scare them off. I know a lot of parents who wish they had this book in those awkward years. 

The Midwest Survival Guide by Charlie Berens

Of course I had to add our friend Charlie Berens to the list! As someone with an excessively friendly Midwest neighbor, this guide to Midwest phrases and culture is incredibly helpful. I can see this being an easy gift for your cousin from Wisconsin. Plus, it’s filled with illustrations and quizzes for a fun and easy read.

Whether you are looking for a book on parenting, personal growth, or weird Midwest phrases, I think one of these books may be a great pick this holiday season. What books are you sticking under the Christmas tree this year?

Note: Some of the items in this blog include Amazon Affiliate and other links which earn a small commission.