Tag Archives: gifts

Need an Idea for a Holiday Gift?

Warning: self-promotion to follow. If you don’t like this sort of thing, stop reading now!

Holiday season is upon us, and many people exchange gifts. If you’re trying to think of a good gift for someone, may I suggest…one of my books.


This is certainly my best-known book. I can’t help mentioning: it was on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. Yes, two. It’s a book about the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Read a sample chapter; watch the 1-minute video; request the book-group discussion guide. Or read more about it here.


I love all my books equally, but my sister says that she thinks that this is my best book. It was such a pleasure to go deeper into the fascinating subject of happiness.  The fact is, if you’re not happy at home, it’s hard to be happy anywhere.  New York Times and international bestseller.

Read a a sample chapter; watch the 1-minute video; request the book-group discussion guide. Or read more about it here.


I intended this to be the gateway-drug biography that would introduce Churchill to an audience who knows nothing about him, but I’ve since learned that the people who respond most to the book are those who have already read a lot of books about Churchill. What a subject! It was a joy to write this book.

Read an interview; test your knowledge.

I love getting, and giving, books as gifts.  In my whole life, no gifts have pleased me more than the hardback Little House books that my parents gave me, one each year–with those marvelous illustrations by Garth Williams.

In fact, if you want to give yourself a little holiday treat, re-read the chapter, “Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus” in Little House on the Prairie. I get choked up just thinking about it. “Pa and Ma and Mr. Edwards acted as if they were almost crying. Laura didn’t know why.” I love the detail that Mr. Edwards throws in: “Santa Claus rode well for a man of his weight and build.” Okay, I have to stop, or I will quote the entire chapter.

Want Personalized Bookplates for Holiday Gifts? Don’t Delay!

Many people give Happier at Home and The Happiness Project as holiday gifts. A trend that I very much appreciate.

If you’d like to make your gift more special and personalized, sign up here, and I’ll send you a bookplate that’s personalized for the recipient and signed by me (as shown in the photo). Think how happy you’ll be to cross some gift-giving tasks off your list! U.S. and Canada only — so sorry about that.

I can be a little slow, so to make sure that neither of us has to worry about whether you’ll receive the bookplates in time, request as soon as possible.

If you’re not able to envision what I’m talking about, look here.

If you’re wondering if The Happiness Project would make a good gift, I can’t resist mentioning: #1 New York Times bestseller, and a bestseller for more than two years. That’s right, TWO.

–  order your copy

check out the gallery of foreign covers; so interesting to see what different countries put on the cover

watch the one-minute book video

listen to a sample of the audiobook

If you’re wondering whether Happier at Home would make a good gift, it was also a New York Times bestseller, and you can…

– read a sample chapter on the subject of “time”

– watch the one-minute book trailer, “Ten ways to be happier at home” (guess which suggestion proved controversial?)

– listen to a sample of the audiobook

– request the one-page book club discussion guide

– read the Behind-the-Scenes extra (I had a great time writing this)

Obviously, I’m happy to sign and personalize a bookplate for you–it doesn’t have to be a gift! Request as many as you want — within reason. Although I’m flattered when people request 100, I can’t send that many. Again, I’m very sorry that because of mailing issues, this is limited to U.S. and Canada.

Want a “Tips for Happiness in Your New Home” Card To Accompany a Gift? Or For Yourself?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve heard that a lot of people are giving Happier at Home as a gift to someone with a new home: recent grad, new roommate, newlywed, newly divorced, empty nester, downsizer, upsizer, new baby, new city.

At times of transition like these, we give special thought to what we want from “home.” So, to make such a gift a little more special, I’ve created a card about “Tips for happiness in your new home” that I will sign and mail to anyone who wants it.

(Did the surprisingly controversial entry about “Every room should include something purple” make it onto the list? I’m not telling.)

So, let’s say a friend just moved to a new city, and you want to give Happier at Home as a housewarming gift. Or you want to give the book at a bridal shower. Send me the recipient’s name and your mailing address, and I’ll personalize and sign this tips card, so you can put it with the book. Or I’ll send one for you!

For either Happier at Home or The Happiness Project, you can also ask for a personalized, signed bookplate or signature card (to accompany an e- or audio-book), as well.

These are free, ask for as many as you like, and I’ll mail them anywhere. But if you’re requesting them for holiday gifts, request now. I can be slow turning these around.

To request any or all, email me here.

My favorite present to give is a book, and it’s always nice to have some way to make it feel extra-personal.

What book do you most often give as a gift? For me, Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language. How I love that mind-blowing book.

Want a Personalized, Signed Bookplate for a Holiday Gift? Request Soon.

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for personalized, signed bookplates for Happier at Home and The Happiness Project from people who want to give the books as holiday gifts. This makes me feel 1) stunned by the organization and foresight of such folks, and 2) pleased that people decide to give my books as gifts.

If you are considering buying the books as gifts, and would like to request bookplates to make them more personal, I’m very happy, as always, to mail them to you. However, I have to admit it  I can’t always turn requests around quickly. So, if you possibly can, request now so that neither of us have to worry about the bookplates getting back to you in time for the holidays.

And think how happy you’ll be to cross some gift-buying tasks off your list! Nothing makes me feel happier than getting that perfect gift wrapped and ready, well before I intend to give it. (True, I experience this quite rarely, but it’s delightful when I do.) Books make great gifts; having a book personalized makes it feel more special.

If you’re not sure I’m talking about, check out the photo. This bookplate is a specially designed sticker that I personalize and sign for someone to put in the front of his or her book. Like getting a book signed by the author, only by mail.

Obviously, I’m happy to sign and personalize a bookplate for you–it doesn’t have to be a gift! Request as many as you want. Free, of course.

Email me to tell me how many you’d like, and with what names, and be sure to include your mailing address. These are actual physical objects that I will mail to you.

A “Little Thing” (Very Little) That Makes Me Happy: the Gift Bag.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible,” and I’m often struck by how much happiness I get from small, seemingly trivial aspects of my life.

Solving a nagging problem, even a very insignificant one, can bring me a sizable boost. One of my Twelve Personal Commandments is to Identify the problem, because once I recognize a problem, I can often identify a solution. Here’s an example.

I always felt slightly frustrated when wrapping presents. I didn’t do a neat, attractive job, but never wanted to put in the effort to wrap more prettily. (All that paper just gets ripped off, right?) I didn’t like the waste. The long rolls of wrapping paper are hard to store. I always forgot to buy seasonal paper when it was on sale.

Now, however, I use gift bags instead of wrapping, and it’s almost embarrassing to admit how much satisfaction I get out of my system. It’s so much quicker and easier; just pop the gift into a bag of the appropriate size and color, and I’m done.

I keep a drawer dedicated to nothing but gift bags and tissue paper – almost all of which are recycled. If anything comes into my house with nice tissue paper, I save it. Whenever I get anything in a nice gift bag, I add the bag to my collection – and gloat over my acquisition.

Now, when I give gift bags, I never write directly on the bag, in case the recipient is also a gift-bag re-reuser.

I recognize that in the context of a happy life, this is a trivial issue. A staggeringly trivial issue. And yet, this little thing makes a difference. The happiness I get from this system comes not from the relief of a terrible problem, but rather, the simplicity and perfection of the solution.

Have you found a quick, easy solution to a nagging problem like that – a “little thing” that gives you a disproportionate but real boost in happiness?

* I write often about my craving for gold stars – turns out there’s a woman in Brooklyn who has been handing them out for the past year! She blogs about it at Gold Star 4 Trying, “We all need gold stars.”

* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at gretchenrubin1 [at] gmail [.com] — and don’t forget the “1”. (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.