The Rumpus 2021 Holiday Gift Guide


I love giving all kinds of gifts—birthday gifts, solstice gifts, just-because gifts—because I am bad at saying nice things. I’m not sure if this is a result of being brainwashed by our late-capitalist hellscape or raised by immigrant parents (or both!), but regardless, I am delighted to present to you The Rumpus‘s 2021 holiday gift guide!


Thrill any and all readers on your list with holiday gift subscriptions to our incredible Book Club and equally awesome Poetry Book Club! It’s the gift that keeps on giving long after the holiday season ends. Each subscription comes with a certificate you can print out and put under the tree—and makes a perfect last-minute gift!


For the adventurous reader: a personalized grab bag from Capitol Hill Books. You can provide genre preferences, set a price range, and even choose whether you want to see the booksellers’ selected titles in advance.


For the one working a 9-5 and writing a novel: coffee from Happy Mug. It is both reasonably priced and delicious! They also have a wonderful, seasonally rotating tea selection. Bonus: the person who writes the copy is hilarious and you’ll have something to look at other than your phone while waiting for your drink to brew/steep.


For trying out the pomodoro method, but fashionably: an asymmetrical hourglass.


For the one who is in their thirties but still obsessed with Alice in Wonderland (it’s me, I am the one): this candle from Noble Objects, which comes in either a “tea party” or “library” scent. The company is 100% book candles, and also offers monthly subscriptions—you can choose a genre or seasonal package.


For the hungry reader: master the art of eating out alone with a book weight. Hands-free!


For the writer constantly lending out their books: a custom ex libris stamp. The shop owner is also able to render simple images (*cough* book cover *cough*) as stamp patterns.


For the one who is in the middle of five books at the same time: these old-school library-inspired bookmarks and/or a selection of these wooden gems.


For the traditionalist: The Notebook, which I only this year learned that I have been pronouncing wrong my entire life. Select “blank” to engender an existential crisis or “dotted” for the person who’s trying new things next year, really.


For the trust-fund cottagecore dreamer: a handmade caddy—either for the desk or for the bath (tub tragically not included).


For the one who has too many mugs: a mug rack on which they can proudly display their treasures. This one comes w/ the necessary hardware and an installation tutorial that even I was able to follow (thus learning how to hang things like an adult instead of making eight-thousand holes in my wall before deciding it’s good enough).


For the one who can never have too many mugs: We’re also excited share we have a few boxes of our Special Edition WLAMF mug in stock! This beautiful mug holds seventeen ounces of your go-juice of choice and will inspire you to put pen to paper and write your heart out.


And, I have also recently fallen down a rabbit hole of rainbow-hued Instagram-Famous Ceramicists.


For the one who got really into letter-writing: a Pepin stationery set, like this gorgeous Bauhaus-style one, and a gift subscription to our Letters in the Mail program. (There’s also a Letters for Kids option, for the young reader/writers on your list!)


For the (fun) grammarian: STET!, a card game designed by Random House copyeditor Benjamin Dreyer.


Still haven’t found the perfect present? Click here to visit The Rumpus store, and explore all our merchandise. Your support is critical to our continued existence, and every purchase helps keep us alive.


And finally, for everyone: Forgo material gifts and instead set up recurring donations. Recurring donations—even in small quantities—are sometimes more useful for organizations because of their consistency. I don’t want to provide too many suggestions here because I think that, often, the best places to send our money are smaller, local organizations (or local chapters of larger organizations), that are just a Google search away. Two favorites of mine: the Hoosier Abortion Fund and a mutual aid group in DC called They/Them Collective.

Happy holidays to you and yours,


Feature image via Creative Commons.

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus and currently lives in the DC area. Her debut essay collection, A Fish Growing Lungs, was published by Burrow Press in June 2020 and was a finalist for the Believer Award. You can find her on Twitter @happiestwerther. More from this author →