How to use this guide
Step 1: Consider a journalist you love.
Step 2: Survey our selection of recommended gifts.
Step 3: Find them at your friendly local retailer or order online.
Step 4: When you acquire the item, wrap it festively (or in one of the newspapers to which you happily still subscribe).
Step 5: Await joyful results.
How to use this guide
Step 1: Find the items you covet.
Step 2: Leave this story up on your device, with appropriate gifts on screen, in a highly visible place where loved ones will see it.
Step 3: Await joyful results.
NY Times Crossword Puzzle Book ($13)
Why wait until Sunday to tackle the celebrated weekend puzzler? The latest in a long line of Gray Lady compilations, 2020’s “The New York Times: Hello My Name Is Sunday” (St.Martin’s Griffin) lets you do battle with 50 crossword puzzles any time. Of course, if you find the Sunday to be too tough, there are equivalent editions for the easier Monday and Tuesday versions. Beginner tip: Don’t just fill in words based on answers you know. Look for letter patterns and obvious fill-ins: i.e., if a clue is plural, the answer must be plural, and odds are, it ends with an “s”. Filling that in could help you with a connected clue.
Video Conference Light ($70)
Say goodbye to Zoom calls where you look like a soon-to-be victim in a low-budget horror movie. Just attach the suction cup of this light-weight light to the back of your laptop and adjust the softening diffuser and color temperature. It has a charging cable but the battery should get you through even the most dragged-out video conferences.
Paperback Game ($32)
No word game is likely to top Scrabble for popularity. But if you are ready to try something fresh — and less frustrating — try Paperback (Fowers Games). Here, all players start with the same letters and wild cards and your simple job is to form a word with a hand of five. Each letter card has a value that, added up, allows you to purchase more letters, some of which have special abilities. Longer words score bigger bonuses, eventually leading to more victory points. The same publisher also offers a sequel game, Hardback, with more-involved rules and strategy.
Smartphone Stabilizer ($90)
These days, it seems journalists have to do it all. But this gift idea can make one part — shooting clean photos and video on the go — easier. This smartphone gimbal is easy to use both in the office and in the field with minimal set-up. The Hohem iSteady Mobile+ can take 360-degree video, has multiple modes to fit whichever type of shot you need, and can help balance those shaky walking shots you may get when covering events like rallies and protests. It even comes with a tripod and hard case for storage.
Jumble Hat ($20)
Still going strong after 66 years, Jumble may be the syndicated newspaper feature that gets even less respect than Family Circus. Here’s a chance, though, to proudly celebrate the perennial puzzler that challenges readers to unscramble words to help complete a punny cartoon caption. It’s available through the online store of the tiBaoerlm nSu. (Just unscramble the Jumble to find out.)
Solar Power Bank ($30)
It happens. You don’t notice that your phone is just about dead until you are out in the field. With this handy gadget from Blavor, you not only can charge your phone (either by plugging it in or placing it directly on the Qi base), you can recharge the charger thanks to our good friend, the sun. But that’s not all: it also functions as a flashlight and there’s a compass on the strap — which we hope you’ll never need.
Camera Lens Travel Mug ($14)
With detail down to the f-stops and stabilizer switch, you’d swear this handsome mug is actually a stray zoom lens. But with its screw-top lens cover and stain-less steel interior, this clever cup from Bestic keeps 11 ounces of your favorite beverage hot or cold. It comes with a helpful tote bag, too. And, yes, we know it is likely to be used to store other things. We’re not naive.
Typewriter Coasters ($18)
No need to change the ribbon or unjam the keys with this set. Four cold-cast ceramic coasters come parked in a nicely detailed old-school typewriter replica. Okay, so the keyboard isn’t quite QWERTY. It’s nonetheless a handsome way to remind you of the roots of our field while also keeping your favorite beverage glass from sweating onto your desk and rendering those important notes illegible.
Tabletop Light Box ($41)
This nifty kit turns a nook in your office into a mini photo studio. It includes four different color backdrops and features two built-in LED strips. Pro tip from Quill Creative Director Tony Peterson: “Stick to in-animate objects. This light box isn’t where to cut corners on your annual baby photos.”
Cameo ($10 and up)
Through this website, you can get a personalized greeting sent from a wide variety of celebrities (for a wide variety of prices). Among the journalists and political figures offering their services: GretchenCarlson ($75), 2016 Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski ($70), former President of Mexico Vicente Fox ($300) and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton ($90).
Press Freedom T-shirts ($20-30)
Show off your love for the First Amendment with these three comfy T-shirts. “The First Amendment Is Served” unisex shirt has a classic block design emphasizing a favorite part of the Bill of Rights — free press and free speech. From Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on TBS, a portion of the proceeds from every shirt sale benefits The Committee to Protect Journalists.
From the SPJ fashion collection come the “I back the First Amendment” and the “May the First be with you” shirts. Both feature the amendment’s text on the back and are available in men’s and women’s sizes. Note: Supplies and sizes are limited.
Typewriter Key Necklace ($20)
Old-school typewriters may be a rarity in today’s newsrooms, but they can still make for fashionable accessories. Case in point: this necklace featuring an authentic typewriter key pendant, either light or dark, on your choice of chain. Because real vintage type-writer parts are used, the key may show some signs of use, making every piece unique. The seller, Joy Sparks Designs, also offers similar bracelets, cufflinks, earrings, watches and keychains. Choose from any letter or special character (may we recommend the semi-colon or backspace?) but be aware that availability is based on the keys in stock.
Custom Text Scarf ($59)
Sometimes when you write or read a great article, you just want to show it off. Well, now you can actually wear that award-winning story with this custom text scarf from Litographs. Upload your choice of text up to approximately 20,000 words and pick from two styles: a looped infinity scarf or a winter scarf lined with fuzz. The challenge is coming up with what text to use. (We opted for the SPJ Code of Ethics.)
Shower Curtain ($30)
As you spend more time at home with your furry editing buddies as co-workers, you may begin to wonder what a newspaper written for and by them would be like. Wonder no more! This fun “Cat Reading a Newspaper” shower curtain from MitoVilla not only answers that question, but it comes in multiple sizes to fit your facilities. Fret not, dog lovers: there are also pup-centric versions available from the same company.
Subscriptions (prices vary)
Of course, the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year is a subscription to a newspaper, website or magazine. Not only is this a gift to both the recipient, it’s also a gift to the publication and the industry: three gifts for the price of one.
Ethics Books ($25 print edition; $20 eBook)
Don’t wait for the film version (we’re hoping for either Viola Davis or Meryl Streep as “the Code”). The must-have book for any journalist’s shelf is the latest edition of “Media Ethics: A Guide for Professional Conduct.” It’s packed with case studies dealing with deception, diversity, accuracy, conflict of interest, sourcing and more.
SPJ Membership (prices vary)
Thanks to you and your $37.50, a student or recent graduate can become a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. For $75, you can add a professional to our ranks. Feeling particularly generous this season? A lifetime membership can be had for $1,000. Bonus: No gift wrapping required.