10 books to buy everyone on your Christmas list

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The perfect Christmas gift is something that’s personal. These are the books to buy for everyone on your Christmas list, from the office secret Santa to your dad…

From the good (hello, surprise holiday) to the terrible (a steak knife for a vegetarian – really?), Christmas presents can be tricky to get right. 

But while clothes might not fit and jewellery ends up being returned on Boxing Day, books are a great gift with a title to suit everyone.

There’s something incredibly personal about receiving a carefully chosen book - it demonstrates how well you know somebody and that you’ve been listening to all their new interests and passions all year.

Whether it’s the cookbook that’s about to turn your family cordon bleu or the modern romance for your mistletoe kiss, these are the top tomes to tick off everyone on your list. 

For your partner-in-crime  

They always have a starring role in your late-night Instagram Stories (especially the ones you delete in the morning), making there no better present for your BFF than Caitlin Moran’s How to be Famous

Set during Britpop London, 19-year-old Johanna Morrigan deals with all the sex, drugs and, well, Britpop around her by writing a column for iconic British culture magazine The Face

Then, cue a two-night-stand that takes a dark turn…

To really amp up the music mad era, Moran has also curated a 90s soundtrack to listen to while you read the book, which you can find here

For the impatient cook in your family

Whether it’s your busy brother or your successful sister, sometimes it’s hard to cook from scratch instead of reaching for the freezer. 

Take the hassle out of home cooking by giving the gift of Simple, the new book from Yotam Ottolenghi. It’s got the best of his bold flavours with none of the faff.

With 140 recipes, there’s something for every occasion, from quick mid-week dinners to weekend feasts to remember.

If your lucky recipient has been really good this year, double up with the Ottolenghi Simple Hamper.

For your tipple-loving mum

Take your mum’s spirit knowledge up a notch with Gin: Distilled

This book contains everything you need to know about the nation’s favourite spirit, from how to make the perfect G&T, what garnish to pair with your pour and how to properly taste gin (hint: it’s not in a double and mixer). 

For your foodie flatmate

If your housemate spends most of their evenings experimenting in the kitchen, Together – Our Community Cookbook is the perfect present. 

These simple recipes from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and more are designed to be shared, meaning you’ll benefit from the likes of green chilli and avocado dip and caramelised plum upside-down cake too.

Best of all, profits from the book will go to the Hubb Community Kitchen, who supported families and neighbours after the Grenfell fire and continue to do so.

The book is also backed by The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

For the office Secret Santa

Whether they’re constantly late, always missing meetings or just need some help with life, How to Adult is a great Secret Santa gift no matter whose name you draw. 

From weekday hangovers to council tax confusion, this book will get you through adult life step-by-step – with pictures. 

For your bard-loving partner

For a traditional romantic gift with a twist, wrap up Shakespeare’s Sonnets Retold for your sweetheart. 

Taking the confusion out of things (because who really knew what Will was on about), James Anthony has translated these classic sonnets into modern language, giving them no excuse not to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.  

For your Insta-addicted best friend

If you’ve got someone who’s perennially scrolling, refreshing and double-tapping, they might benefit from taking a little digital detox.

The best way to keep those digits amused offline is with colouring, which can help provide a moment of mindfulness.

The World of Flowers colouring book is designed for adults and full of florals from South Africa, Japan and more.

Wrap up with these Blackwing colouring pencils.

For the animal-lover in your life 

Does Sir David Attenborough need any introduction? 

Following the Dynasties TV series, DynastiesThe Rise and Fall of Animal Families gets inside the lives of the penguin, lion and chimpanzee families we’ve been rooting for every Sunday night. 

With behind-the-scenes pictures and stories from the series, this is one the whole family will want to share.  

For your woke dad

If all your activism in the family group chat is finally paying off, your dad might be ready for Let Her Flythe inspiring memoir from Ziauddin Yousafazi, Malala Yousafazi’s father.

From Ziauddin’s start in a small mountain village in Pakistan to being the father of the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, this book is a moving account of fatherhood and a different face of feminism.

For the football nut in your life

If there’s someone in your life who still isn’t over our crushing defeat at this year’s World Cup, who manoeuvres people off the sofa at kick-off with military precision and who is more into their fantasy league than anything on Netflix, it’s got to be Peter Crouch’s How To Be A Footballer.

Crouch lets readers in on team superstitions, the bizarre quirks of a professional footballer’s life, the big personalities and even bigger egos that go along with it.

Whoever you’re ticking off your Christmas list, Penguin has you covered. Shop their books here