Themed Gifts for Jane Austen Fans and Pride & Prejudice Lovers
The best Christmas gifts are those which prove you know the person and anticipate what they will enjoy. What are the best holiday gifts for a Jane Austen reader?
Short Answer: something related to the books, but not the books themselves. There is not a reader alive who needs another copy of top Jane Austen books like Emma or Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for Christmas.
When shopping for a reader, books can actually a bad idea. However, if you can anticipate something that the person would love to read, a book can become a great gift. Christmas gifts for Jane Austen readers should anticipate and extend their love of Jane Austen without being too obvious.
Two choices for casual Jane Austen reading are the books Sandition and The Watsons. Both of these are lesser-known because neither has an ending, being incomplete upon the death of Jane Austen. Jane Austen's first novel, Lady Susan, was a short story and thus never gained as much fame as her later work. A hardcore fan may have already read these, but most people have never heard of them.
Another choice for those who enjoy collecting: "The Complete Jane Austen" (available on Amazon) which contains all popular books by Jane Austen. (Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey)
Many books and movies based on Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Emma have become famous without many people realizing they were based on a book at all. An Austen-based gift honors the recipents' interests without being too serious. If you feel uncomfortable giving a book, or your giftee really just likes the movies, a Jane Austen inspired gift or Jane Austen gift basket may be more appropriate. There are many Jane Austen movies based on various books, the BBC has a whole collection (they've even done the same books twice), but there are other more modern movies not set in the world of Jane Austen, but borrowing her stories.
For example, the books and movies surrounding Bridget Jones take a light-hearted look at the same themes as Pride and Prejudice. The story follows a female news reporter on her hilarious mishaps. They reference the book without just stealing the plot, and set it all in modern times. A great gift for Pride and Prejudice lovers is the Bridget Jones movie. They even make fun of themselves by using the same male protagonist as the Pride and Prejudice movie did, and even recreate his famous scene. There is also a novel series of Bridget Jones' Diary for those who would rather read it.
Another lighthearted look at Jane Austen's work comes with the movie "Clueless." This movie is aimed at teens, while Bridget Jones is aimed at adults. Clueless is a recreation of the book "Emma" in a modern high school. A romantic comedy, this movie is an awesome christmas gift for Emma fans.
Another choice is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Be wary of using Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as a Jane Austen gift, as the more "serious" readers may take offence. If your giftee enjoys the movies and wouldn't be interested in reading the heavier books, this may however be a good choice. (an aside: the audiobooks of Austen novels are great gifts too!)
There have also been various sequels and completions of Sandition and other Jane Austen novels. These are rather hit & miss, so do your research before buying an Austen inspired book for a Jane Austen fan.
Jane Austen Swag
For a true Austen fan, it may be best not to focus on a single book. There are many books about the life of Jane Austen, and a movie adaptation recently came out. Beside that, there are various ways to pay tribute to Austen without using a movie or book.
My favorite Jane Austen swag is the 5 year Jane-A-Day Diary. Beautifully bound in cream and gold, this diary has a memorable quote from Jane Austen's books or personal correspondence at the top of each page. Below, there are 5 spaces to write your thoughts. The idea is that you react to the quote, or write your thoughts of the day, and see how your perspective changes over the 5 year period. Any Jane Austen fan will love this diary.
Jane Austen quotes are in endless supply from Etsy shops. You can get a Jane Austen quotation wall art piece, or a bookmark, and anything in between. Many Etsy retailers will personalize pieces with any quote you wish. (for inspiration - open the Jane-A-Day calendar or simply search for the most memorable quotes online) Etsy is also a treasure trove of Jane Austen dresses or costumes (more like Jane Austen inspired dresses, maybe a bit historically inaccurate or dresses from the movies, not the books), if you are willing to fork over the cash. Just check out the treasuries below.
"That Austen Feeling"
If you want to give something which only references the Jane Austen books, but is not a media item or quote, why not recreate the Jane Austen feeling in a gift basket? A few ideas for an Austen gift basket include:
- good pens and a blank journal (all Jane Austen girls keep a journal)
- a picnic basket with a blanket and drinks inside (recreation of an Emma scene)
- old novels and a cross stitch kit (common womanly pursuits engaged in by many)
- an antique "whist" game set (commonly played by characters)