Something political

A Ladybird Book About Donald Trump by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris (2019)

The latest in the hilarious Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups series introduces us to the orange-hued president and his ‘very important jobs’. Pairing the Ladybird illustrations we know and love from childhood with witty captions, it’s the perfect satirical stocking-filler for politics buffs.

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (2019)

It’s been a tumultuous year, from Brexit blunders to climate chaos. To galvanize yourself into sorting it all out - after you've come out of your eggnog-induced stupor, of course - try this collection of speeches from teenage activist Greta Thunberg, arguably the person who has done the most to raise consciousness around the climate crisis in 2019.

How to Have Feminist Sex by Flo Perry (2019)

This graphic novel by Grayson Perry’s daughter moves the discussions of feminism from the workplace to the bedroom. Addressing how women can be free of patriarchal conditioning between the sheets, it’s a beautifully illustrated norm-challenger for the women in your life.

How To Be Right by James O’Brien (2018)

Have a left-leaning in-law or colleague who needs some help backing up their arguments? Here’s the perfect gift to stuff into their stocking. Radio presenter James O’Brien shares tips for handling all kinds of un-PC arguments flung across the table while the turkey is carved in this laugh-out-loud book. Read an extract here.

Something calming

The Magic of Sleep by Michael Acton Smith (2019)

Is the strain of all those end of year reports starting to show for your Secret Santa? Gift them this bedtime balm to help them get a good night’s sleep. The Magic of Sleep tells us everything we’ve wanted to know about the land of nod but were too tired to ask. It's beautifully illustrated, too.

The Poetry Pharmacy Returns by William Sieghart (2019)

Since 2014 William Sieghart has prescribed almost a thousand poems across the UK to readers with various emotional ills. This collection of soothing sonnets is a source of endless comfort, delight or inspiration. Sometimes only a poem will do.

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking (2017)

You've all heard of ‘hygge’, but here’s another Danish concept that’s a little easier to translate. Lykke is the Danish word for happiness, encapsulating the idea that how we live in the small moments of our everyday lives affects our outlook. From community to cooking, it's a hug in a book. Find out more about what Lykke means here.

Something creative

The Super Cute Book of Kawaii by Marceline Smith (2019)

Spread a little ‘kawaii’ (the Japanese word for cute) this festive season with these ten, easy how-to projects which include beauty tips, styling ideas and ways to make your home cosier, ilustrated with some extremely kawaii Japanese mascots like Hello Kitty, Miffy and Pusheen.

Mrs Hinch: The Activity Journal by Mrs Hinch (2019)

Cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch is back, this time with a fun activity journal that will make cleaning the house on Boxing Day a breeze. Filled with to-do lists, questionnaires and puzzles (like find-the-Henry), equip yourself with your favourite pens, cloths and a little elbow grease and get cracking.

How To Draw Inky Wonderlands by Johanna Basford (2019)

Perfect for those with an artistic streak, the latest book from ‘queen of colouring’ Johanna Basford is a no-skills-needed guide to drawing flowers, animals and fantasy scenes. Perfect for your colleague who spends more time doodling than actually taking notes in a meeting.

Something inspiring

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama (2019)

Following the overwhelming reception to her revealing memoir Becoming, the former First Lady wants to help people tell their own story with this guide journal. Packed with 150 questions and quotes, it's approximately 1000x more inspiring than that box of chocolates you were thinking about buying someone.

The School of Life by Alain de Botton (2019)

Mental health is on the agenda more than ever before, and the School of Life organisation aims to equip us with emotional and psychological tools to survive in the modern world. Full of empowering practical tips, it’s a little pocket of wellness for your Secret Santa as the days get darker and gloomier.

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (2017)

Is there someone in your office whose approach to life is a bit, er… slapdash? This guide by an ex-Navy SEAL cover 10 simple daily tasks we can easily complete to get our bodies and minds in order. Starting with the first job of the day – yes, making the bed – McRaven teaches us the importance of doing small things consistently, all accompanied by some words of wisdom.

Something classic

O Frabjous Day! by Lewis Carroll (2016)

If they're a fan of wordplay and riddles, try this gem – a cheeky little collection of Lewis Carroll's most extraordinary and eloquent verse. Just be careful not to open the pages yourself before handing it over, or you'll be drawn into its magic and find yourself utterly unable to give it away. As with all the Penguin Little Black Classics, it is also, conveniently, just small enough to fit in a stocking.

Sanditon by Jane Austen (1817)

If your Secret Santa was hooked on this year’s ITV adaptation of Sanditon (and were similarly outraged by the ending), gift them the beautiful clothbound edition of Austen’s final novel so they can pore over all the missing details. This edition also includes the early epistolary novel Lady Susan and the delightful fragment The Watsons.

Above Average at Games By P.G. Wodehouse (2019)

Perfect for sports fanatics, this rollicking anthology of novel extracts and short stories rounds up the best of P.G. Wodehouse's writing on one of his favourite subjects. As always with Wodehouse, it's brilliantly observed and extremely funny.

Something fun

Game of Thrones: A Viewer’s Guide to the World of Westeros by Myles McNutt (2019)

After eight seasons, the quest for the Iron Throne came to a dramatic conclusion in May this year. If your Secret Santa is still bemoaning the events of the finale, allow them to immerse themselves in the magical realm of Westeros once more with this fully-illustrated viewer’s guide, complete with character profiles, insightful essays and family trees. Yes, winter has arrived.

Richard Osman’s House of Games by Richard Osman (2019)

If your Secret Santa loves a spot of trivia after the Christmas feast, indulge them with this book featuring some of the best questions from Richard Osman’s hit BBC2 TV series, packed with 101 new and classic (and appropriately silly) games.

Fizz by Olly Smith (2019)

We couldn’t finish this list without a nod to one of the most important British festive traditions: drinking. Whether you’ve a penchant for a dirty Martini or a classic Tom Collins, get tipsy, tiddly and downright sauced all in the name of festive merriment with this boozy recipe book, featuring 80 delicious cocktail (and mocktail) recipes. 

The Ladybird Book of The Hangover by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris (2015)

'Tis the season to be jolly... very, very jolly indeed. If your lucky recipient is notoriously fond of a festive tipple, they might also benefit from this pocket-sized antidote to the morning after. Printed in large, easy-to-read type that even the queasiest reader can make out, these simple tips can help anyone to cope with the party season and the pesky workdays in between.

More books for Christmas

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