Easy last-minute gift idea

It’s Saturday, four days before Christmas. Some of you have your presents bought, wrapped, mailed or placed under the tree.  However, if you are still looking for a gift for Aunt Mary, or your sweet niece Leslie,  then you’ve come to the right place.

Today my guest is Karen Ehman.  Karen always amazes me.  She’s actually in the midst of a book launch.  If you haven’t heard about it, you’ve got to check it out.  It’s called “Let. It. Go:  How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.”  It’s one of those books where I didn’t want to stop reading!  And I’ll probably read it again.

But in the midst of her busyness, she took the time to share a wonderful gift idea with us.  And, to top it off, she’s giving away a gift certificate to Proverbs 31 so you can assemble your own gift for someone … after Christmas.

Now, here’s Karen ……


With so many on our gift-giving list and time running out, I thought I’d offer you my favorite Christmas gift idea: Book baskets!

Simply take a book and build a gift basket around it.

The first time I saw one was when my best friend from college, Kelly, gave a Laura Ingalls Wilder book basket to my daughter when she was about seven.

In it she placed an old copy of Little House in the Big Woods. Then, she included all of the items Laura got for Christmas in 1867.

~ A peppermint stick

~ A pair of red mittens

~ A cookie shaped like a heart and sprinkled with white sugar

~ A shiny new penny

~ Her own tin cup

~ A rag doll named Charlotte

It was an instant hit!

In the years since, I have given away lots of book baskets to kids. Some books have included Balto, Hansel & Gretel, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh.

Also the Curious George books are easy to do this with. In one, he visits a candy factory. In another, he takes a trip to the zoo. In one he makes pancakes. These are easy to come up with items to carry out the theme. (fancy chocolates, candy molds & supplies; animal crackers, gummy bears and a stuffed animal; pancake mix, turner, maple syrup and chocolate chips.)

You can even try your hand at baskets for adults.

Know a gardening enthusiast? Purchase a book on gardening and then round out the basket with some gardening tools, packets of seeds, a pair of gardening gloves and some carrot-cake muffins or home-canned jam.

How about a baseball fan? Include a biography of their favorite player and some peanuts in the shell, Cracker Jacks, Big League Chew gum and some baseball foil-wrapped chocolates.

And, for a great gift for a special girlfriend, mom or sister, give a tea cup devotional. Simply choose a devotional book (we at Proverbs 31 have many!) On top of that, place a new or antique tea cup and saucer. In it, tuck some tea bags. Tie it shut with clear wrap or tulle and tie shut with a bow. You may also stick a pen in the bow or add a tag with a favorite Bible verse written on it. Perfect to bless someone while encouraging their walk with the Lord.

With a simple book, you can build a great gift!


I love this idea, Karen!!!  The possibilities are endless.  And this can be affordable if you use a used (and well-loved) book.  Thank you!

Today, Karen would like to give away a $15.00 gift certificate to purchase a book at Proverbs 31 Ministries.  To enter,  post a comment with the name of a book that would make a good gift basket.  If you have some ideas to add to a book basket, include that as well.  But it’s not needed.  Just a book title will do.

I’ll select a winner at random and announce her on Monday. Also, there’s still time to enter yesterday’s giveaway of Rachel Olsen’s book, “My One Word.”


Karen Ehman is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ national speaking team and a featured speaker for Hearts at Home conferences for moms. She is the author of five books including A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others, The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized and the popular ebook Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday. Her newest book is LET. IT. GO: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith which includes a companion DVD Bible study and workbook.




  1. says

    I give children’s books to new mothers. My favorite is Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado. In the basket could be a baby blanket (or even wrap basket in blanket), crayons for future coloring time, a pocket Testament to share God’s word, blocks for play, and an inexpensive journal for the new mom or dad to begin a letter to their baby or to record thoughts and prayers.

    Other books I give; I’ll Love You Forever and The Kissing Hand.

    Books I have received and given to adults: The Prayer of Jabez, several by Barbara Johnson, Facing Adversity by Charles Stanley, and Love, Ronnie,the love letters to Nancy Reagan from President Ronald Reagan.

  2. Debbie Lynch says

    “Redeemed” by Karen Kingsbury would be an awesome gift for some of the college age young ladies in my church.

  3. Angie says

    This is the best gift idea ever! Cant beleive I haven’t seen it before :) my go to favorite book is little women… How fun this gift would be! Im done shopping but I am writing it down for next year :)

  4. Sandy says

    The Polar Express – One of my all time favorites…you could give the Book, a mug or insulated cup, some hot cocoa, etc. and maybe a copy of the movie (depending on how much you wanted to spend)

  5. Stacie says

    We do this when our friends/family have new babies. We especially like to give a favorite homemade baby food book with bibs, spoons, and silicone cupcake liners which are the perfect tool for freezing baby food!

  6. Ginger says

    A lot of books come to mind…..

    Guess How Much I Love You
    Happy Birthday to You
    The Red Ripe Strawberry

    and many books for ladies….
    Mitten Strings for God

    Such a fun idea!! and thanks as always for bringing us new things like Let. It. Go.

    Blessings and peace this Christmas

  7. Stacey Green says

    Let.It.Go. -I’ve didn’t know she had a new one out. I must tell a funny…at a Hearts at Home Conference I was looking at several of Karen’s books deciding which one to purchase. I hear a voice near me say that any of the books will sell great at a garage sale later for a quarter. I turn to look and it was Karen! She is a fun, loving, personable, and inspiring lady!

  8. Nancy says

    This is a wonderful idea!! Any Fancy Nancy or Princess books for girls. Choose your own adventure or Magic Treehouse for boys and best of all, one of the many Proverbs 31 books to my friends and family! Oooooohhhh sooooo many ideas are coming to mind! I love to give books as gifts, this just gives it so much more!! :-)

  9. Amy Miller says

    I LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing it – I also had never heard it but will DEFINITELY be using it! My group of friends are all turning 40 in the next few years and “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh would make an awesome basket. You could add lots of free but meaningful things to it…shells and sea glass you’ve collected.

  10. Linda says

    What a Great idea! Love it :)
    Jesus Calling has really ministered to me personally throughout this year……I think any friend would be happy to receive it

  11. Alicia Starr says

    I recently read “A Marriage Carol”, by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman, I and loved it! Fake snow, Christmas ornaments, and warm socks would all for into the theme of this tale.

  12. Cathy says

    Love, love, LOVE this idea!
    “Jesus Calling” is the first book to come to mind, but I’m sure if I let my imagination go, I will come up with many, many more!

  13. Melissa Harrell says

    I love this idea! I have a couple of people on my list I need to pick up something for! It also starts the year off on the right foot with God in the driver seat! Hhhhmmmm this is just the inspiration I needed! Thank you for the last minute push! Grace and Peace, melissa

  14. Andrea says

    Gigi God’s little princess. It’s my daughters favorite and it would make a cute dress up basket with princess stuff!

  15. Jan says

    What wonderful ideas and so many books to choose from. Any of Elizabeth George’s books or Elyse Fitzpatrick’s. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace would be a start of a lovely gift basket for a newly married or engaged woman.

  16. Carol S says

    I love this idea. I don’t have any ideas at the moment but with a little thought I am sure that it could be done with most books.

  17. AJ says

    Made To Crave – including a candle – to signify peacefulness/ restfulness; pretty scarf – to signify God’s warmth and care for us; and a Praise CD the person would like – something to distract the mind from what is not needed and instead draw them closer into the relationship they crave to have with God.

  18. Karen H. says

    for a child-“A Very Hungry Catepillar” then stuff the basket with real or plastic fruits and vegetables with butterfly accents

  19. says

    LOVE this idea!! I have trouble every year with gift ideas for my husband’s Aunts & Uncle. This will definitely help me. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp will be a great gift for one of his Aunts. My mind is already racing with ideas for next year. Thanks!

    In His Calm,

  20. Sheila says

    I would love to get the LET.IT.GO book, place into a basket with Hot cocoa,soft cuddly socks,a muscial CD of soft music, for my daughter,she has a problem not knowing when to slow down, I think she would really appreciate this idea.
    We also have Secret Sister Teas in March, at church,so Iam going to fix a basket of Tea cup devotional,tea cup,tea and a few cookies as a gift for mine. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  21. Laura Hegemann says

    What a great idea! The Loord puts so many people in our paths who don’t know him.
    If there is a mom that maybe you bump into at the grocery store and you just don’t knownifnshe knows The Lord. How Bout. Basket with a Women’s Devotional Bible, a small tube of hand lotion, a pair of fuzzy socks, a star bucks gift card. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  22. Mary says

    Jesus Calling would be a great choice…it’s such a great book to help foster an intimate relationship with the Lord!

  23. Sheila says

    I would love to get the LET.IT.GO book, place into a basket with Hot cocoa,soft cuddly socks,a muscial CD of soft music, for my daughter,she has a problem not knowing when to slow down, I think she would really appreciate this idea.
    We also have Secret Sister Teas in March, at church,so Iam going to fix a basket with a Tea cup devotional,tea cup,tea and a few cookies as a gift for mine. Thanks for the ideas!!!
    I have not sent a message on this Topic before,it appears it is saying I have sent this message before!

    • Glynnis says

      Sheila – for some reason my blog is holding your comments in pending. However, I am approving them. You idea is posted and you are entered in the drawing for the gift certificate. Thanks so much!!

  24. Joy says

    My little girl would love Fancy Nancy, that would be so fun! Jesus Calling or My Urmost for His Highest with a coffe mug and a blanket would be awesome!!!!

  25. Nicole says

    Debbie Macomber’s “A Good Yarn” (or any of her Blossom Street books) with knitting needles, patterns, and yarn would be perfect for a friend or relative who likes to knit or crochet! I love this idea. I’m done shopping for this Christmas, but it’s on the list for some birthdays in the near future!

  26. Mary B says

    Pete the Cat is a wonderful series I have sent to my kids, Jan Brett has some awesome books too. I sent The Mitten and The Hat by Jan Brett to them this year, and Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. You can add many things for kids to those book baskets! Winter hat and gloves… winter toys! All kinds of things. I am teacher, books are wonderful gifts to give to all ages!

  27. Theresa Johnson says

    1.The Swiss family Robinson- showing how a family can come together in a crisis, in a basket this book and 2. a board game MONOPOLY- where the family can spend time together or 3. Conversation Jar provides an excellent way to stay connected with your family and friends. Where you can ask family members thought provoking questions simply by reading the card you pull out. Using the Conversation Jar makes staying connected fun and easy.

  28. Jada Smith says

    “If you give a mouse a cookie” or any of her other books would be fun for kids! “Let it go, made to crave, Greater” for adults.

  29. Sheryl Grasmeyer says

    What a great idea. I have unknowingly done this. For my husband this year I bought a bird book and a pair of binoculars.

  30. Sue R says

    I love the ideas…

    Any Tea book by Emilie Barnes…The Twelve Teas Of Christmas is one of my favorites…with tea cup, tea, scones and my lemon curd (made in the microwave and very easy), pretty tea spoons and napkins…and an invitation for a relaxing After Christmas Tea Time…

  31. Wanda says

    His Princess…Girl Talk with God for a young tween who is going through a difficult stretch. We placed the book in a Santa style basket complete with a Princess mug, shortbread cookies, hot chocolate packages, and an Angel ornament.

  32. jennifer rae says

    I think a “These are a Few of my Favorite Things” basket would be fun! Include your favorite book, nail polish, cookie, coffee etc.

  33. Leesa Chesnut says

    Boxcar Children or Sugar Creek Gang books for boys. Also one could do a Magic Tree House book theme. I love this idea! I am one, ahem, that is done. Wish I had seen this earlier! 😉 Merry Christmas!

  34. Audrey Rigsbee says

    I always give Brown Bear Brown Bear for a baby shower and also a baby Bible. I make baskets but around a book is a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration! Merry Christmas!

  35. Michele says

    How to make an Apple Pie and see the World
    My children love this book and you could have many ideas for this one!

  36. Sherri says

    I have a friend who just found out she’s pregnant with her first child! “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is a great one for her, and the basket fillers would be easy!!

  37. Vickie says

    The purpose driven life is really a wonderful life changer for a new Christian or an old one! Another that comes to mind is Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

  38. Becky J says

    The book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and amidst the trinkets place some gifts given in honor of the recipient to a ministry like Samaritan’s Purse ….Merry Christmas to all!!

  39. Lori Price says

    “Good Grief” by Lolly Winston. A touching book about a woman who’s husband passed away and how she deals with the grief. It is also hilarious in many ways. I would suggest to go with it pink bunny slippers and baking supplies. You will understand when you read the book! Blessings to all!

  40. Vickie says

    Love any recipe book, especially Dinner – A Love Story – new this year! For kids, a recipe book written for them and include some ingredients for a particular recipe. Great idea!

  41. Holly says

    What a great idea! Too many choices to chose from. One that hasn’t already been mentioned is a little book I received many years ago — P.S. I Love You.

  42. Pat says

    A fun book to give to a child at Christmas would be Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett! It would be easy to make this into a gift basket idea by adding a gingerbread cookie cutter, icings, candies to decorate, and perhaps even the makings for a gingerbread house! If this is for a grandchild, an invitation to bring all the goodies to grandma’s house to make the house together would just be the “icing on the cake”! It may even start a new tradition at your house!

  43. A.B. says

    “Jesus Calling for Kids devotional ” add a notebook and pen for a journal with a bag of bag of Hershey Chocolates Hugs and kisses.

  44. says

    Tracey Finck’s Love Letters to a Child, complete with a blank journal or pretty stationery and pen. It’s a great baby shower gift, and so I would include a sippy cup for the child and a grownup cup for tea or coffee for mom. If it’s for someone with older children, maybe just matching travel mugs for them.

  45. michelle h says

    at my house right now we are LOVING Jotham’s Journey so i’m going to try to think up a basket for this book and give next year to all our friends with kids.

  46. Heather Lee says

    I did this with The Love Dare! Gave the Fireproof dvd, Love Dare book, salt & pepper shakers super glued together. =)

  47. Liz says

    What a wonderful idea! It can be used for any occasion throughout the year. I think that What Happens When Women Say Yes to God: Experiencing Life in Extraordinary Ways is my new favorite for the year!

  48. Elaine says

    “Cinderella” for a young girl. The basket could include a Beany Baby bird because the birds were Cinderella’s friends; a pair of clear plastic high heels; a “Cinderella” DVD; a package of pumpkin seeds, etc.

  49. Jennifer R. says

    When I read Karen’s idea for a tea cup devotional basket I loved it. I love reading devotional books and this is what I came up with.

    The Tea Lover’s Devotional by Emilie Barnes
    Everything Beautiful Teacup with Lid
    Organic Peppermint Bible Verse Tea (or another flavor) These tea bags have a Bible verse tag on each tea bag.

    These three items I found on ChristianBook.com

  50. kristen says

    I would use unglued and the unglued devotional. And put them in a yellow purse like on the cover. You could also add the key tags.

  51. Nancy Silvers says

    You could put one of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books in with a Soup mug, soup mix and crackers.

    “The Bible Promise Book” with a journal to write down concerns and promises. Add a pretty pen too.

    There are endless ideas!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  52. Bev says

    Our town library does this every year as one of their fundraisers. It’s always fun to see what folks think of and place in the baskets. There are so many good books to do this with.

    A dog cook book can have a dog biscuit cutter or make some and send with it.

    Many children’s book have the matching stuffed animal and sometimes other goodies like stickers etc.
    It’s fun to do as well.
    Fun posts. Thanks everyone!

  53. Cindy S. says

    Thank you P31 for your daily encouragement.
    The book basket gift idea is a neat idea.
    For an elderly person….how about a word search or crossword puzzle book…add some
    alphabet soup/crackers/vintage glass bottle coca cola/magnifying glass!
    lots of fun just thinking up ideas…thanks for the jump start!
    Merry Christmas and Praise God for His Indescribable Gift- JESUS!

  54. Karen says

    I love cook books! And finding cooking gadgets is easy and fun to do. You could do a healthy theme, dessert theme, italian theme….the ideas are limitless.

  55. Kathryn says

    I Wonder…Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb by Janette Oke

    or Time for Jesus

    or anything by Max Lucado
    or………..(I love books!)

  56. Elaine Segstro says

    I just attended a performance of the Nutcracker, and who doesn’t love the Nutcracker at Christmas. One could include the book, a CD of the Nutcracker music, even a DVD of the ballet, a Nutcracker Christmas ornament, and even sugar plums!

  57. Jane says

    The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books for a child. It would be good to give in a basket with a stuffed bunny and a blanket and maybe some verses about love. The basket could be used as the bunny’s bed.

  58. Wilma says

    I love this idea . I will use it somewhere. I would suggest the book-Tips for the Lazy Gardener and add a bunch of Annual seeds that you can direct sow in the garden. Maybe a pkg of Manure tea to make her fertilizer as well

  59. Nancy says

    The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado for a baby or small child. Include a stuffed lamb and a soft blanket, possibly a baby Jesus or lamb tree ornament.

  60. Debbie says

    On the Night you Were Born- I just used this as part of a baby present.

    Pete’s a Pizza- with ingredients to make your own pizza.

    The Polar Express- with hot chocolate, marshmallows, a mug, train whistle and a bell.

    A children’s bible, a Veggie tale movie, things to make your own bookmark, bible craft.

    Do a search on children’s books related to food. There are many.

    Can you tell I teach? We make themed baskets for our silent auction each year from children to adults-movie baskets, car care, spaghetti/cooking, gardening, sports etc.

  61. says

    My sister is really into organizing…reading about it and getting inspired. I think a great gift basket would be one with a neat organizing book or even a copy of Real Simple magazine that would contain lots of organizing tips. The ideas for the basket are endless depending on the recipient. I LOVE this idea!

  62. Kristi Seat says

    I’m thinking now about “The Hobbit.” Loved the book and its symbolism since I was in 9th grade. Of course, the movie just came out and my nephew is in 9th grade so I’m pondering as to how I could make that gift basket superfun! Maybe a riddle book for when Bilbo meets with Gollum…But, it’s late so I might have to ponder on that tomorrow! Great idea Karen and thank you for sharing Glynnis!!! I would love to do this with our online bible study material. Hope you and your families both have a Merry Christmas! Love your hearts for women! Blessings! ~Kristi Seat

  63. Vicky says

    What a great idea for building a basket around the personality and interests of the individual, since you can find a book about almost anything!

    I would suggest any book by Becky Freeman (Johnson). With titles like Coffee Cake Friendship and Cheesecake Fun, Peanut Butter Kisses and Mud Pie Hugs, and Still Lickin’ the Spoon, ideas for stocking the basket practically think themselves up!

  64. diki b. says

    Oh i have several girlfriends i could give the, Let. It. Go: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith book to. Maybe with a prayer journal, Calgon for the bath with a tea cup and relaxing teas. I love this idea Karen, great job as always!

  65. Sue Kostynick says

    The book would be aUnglued. I would put in some calming bubble bath.candles.body lotion ,a bath pillow to relax with while reading. A calming music tape to listen to
    As well.

  66. Careen S says

    I’m inspired by a childhood favorite…A true story by Ralph Moody called “Little Britches” and since I have boys and mostly nephews I think this would be a wonderful and meaningful gift!

  67. Jenn says

    I love the book basket idea! I am marrying in to a family with 13 young nieces and nephews and plan to utilize this for upcoming birthdays and Christmases, for sure! Need to read “Love You Forever” again for the accompanying gifts, since I love the story.

    Special thanks to the teachers who have weighed in here! I admire your hearts for kids and your patience and loving spirits!

  68. Jennifer says

    One I haven’t seen mentioned yet is Kisses From Katie. And you can order beads from the local women to include in the basket. Great ideas and I’m making a list if books from all these wonderful comments!! Thank you!!!

  69. Michelle says

    For a young girl…a book from the Sadie Rose series. For a boy, a Wally McDoogle book. My children loved these series.

  70. Jen N says

    Jan Karon’s Mitford Christmas book would make a great gift! You could include an angel or a small nativity set. Thanks for sharing the great ideas!

  71. Marcella says

    The Jesus Calling devotional. You could write out your favorite verses, include a pen and note cards for their own favorites, a candy cane with its meaning. Endless possibilities. Bthanks for the idea.

  72. says

    I love, Love, LOVE this idea!! I love to give the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and the possibilities are endless with these books. Thanks so much for the idea!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!

  73. LRF says

    Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Peter Rabbit. Raggedy Ann books (choose almost any title). Little Women. So many possibilities. Thanks for the idea! I have some readers in my life that I would like to try this for some time. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a Christmas gift, it could be a birthday or even a “just because” gift to encourage someone:)


  74. Kathy Webb says

    Let It Go…..(I just got it in my stocking this morning…we have out of town grandchildren so we have to do stockings early at our house) and I cannot wait to read it because I am killing myself wanting things to be “special” for my family, and I understand this book will show me how to let go of some of my thinking :)
    Seems every year I add something else to the family list of “must dos”…hopefully next year things will be a little more calm!
    Merry Christmas!

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