Christmas Gift Ideas: Outside the Box

Last year First Things asked me for some Bible-related gift giving recommendations. You can find the complete list here. I think it stands the test of time (and the recommendations in the comments are good, too). How would you update it for 2013? Would you add Crossway's Omega, one of the more recent R. L. Allan editions? As entry-level suggestions go, I still find myself suggesting the Cambridge Clarion because it's an excellent single column design available in a spectrum of translations, and for the cool factor I suggest the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible a lot. Please, give me your suggestions in the comments.

The question is, what do you get for the person who already has a nice Bible? (Or a dozen.) Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. A Reading Stand

Over the past year I have gone a little crazy with sloped book stands, but only because they're incredibly useful. I started by buying a Franklin Library Desk Stand from Levenger, then added one of their tabletop Editor's Desks. (I can't find either of these on their website at the moment, which I hope is because they don't want you to apply the current discount to these items, and not because they've discontinued them.)

Book Stand

The Editor's Desk turns any tabletop -- in this case, a vintage library table -- into a sloped book stand.

The reason I like these sloped surfaces so much is that they position books nicely both for consultation and display. We're accustomed to storing books on the shelf or in stacks, but with these, you have leave them lying open, ready for use. Do your daily reading on these stands, and your Bible is always open where you left off.

I bought the Desk Stand on sale, and the Editor's Desk came at a great price from eBay -- even so, I felt guilty paying Levenger prices for items that are available vintage -- if you're willing to look. For example, my wife found this used stand (with bookcase) for just $25 (and I didn't have to put it together). The nicks and dings add character and show that reading can get rough sometimes. Hit the local Goodwill or antique shop, and there's no telling what you'll find.


2. Paper.

There are some luxuries we justify more easily than others. I know people who will buy nice Bibles then feel guilty for splurging on an equally nice notebook. Do them a favor and give them an Allan Journal. Nice thin paper makes these notebooks really handy despite the high page count, and the covers are beautiful.


I've written about other paper ideas on my other blog.

3. Pencil

To write in your Bible or in a nice new journal, there are many instruments to choose from. Why not a pencil, though? When I want to put lead on the page, I use an old Parker Duofold pencil (sadly without a matching fountain pen):


Modern mechanical pencils by Rotring are a classy option. If you're shopping for me, though, make it a Yard-O-Led sterling silver pencil -- or any sterling silver pencil, for that matter. I love that classic look.

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Those are my outside-the-box ideas, and while some of them might require a little hunting in secondhand shops, I think they'd make for a memorable gift. I'm sure the Bible Design Blog audience can come up with more, though. Thinking outside the box, what would you recommend ... for someone like you?