My Ultimate (Thoughtful, Easy and Widely Available) Christmas Gift

by | Dec 10, 2019

AD: not sponsored or paid-for. Contains gifted press samples (chocolate) and affiliate links are marked *.

We’re revisiting a post that I (kind of) did a few years ago, really, but it’s a good one and so it deserves another airing. Because this post may just save your Christmas Bacon, if you’ve left present-buying until the last minute and/or have no clue what to buy people and/or don’t want to spend a fortune on absolute tat that people will hate and/or re-gift.

It is – quite frankly – a genius idea, this one, but I’m sure I can’t take credit for it because it’s so simple that a million people probably posted about it before me. The fundamental equation behind this gift idea is:

Good Book + Excellent Chocolate = Ultimate Christmas Experience

Give someone a brilliant read and something to munch on whilst they read it and you’ve pretty much sorted their holiday. The bonus for you is that you can order books right up until the last minute (or get them at the supermarket) and the chocolate is reasonably widely available, depending on which of the fancy and niche brands you plump for.

Which is important. Because there are caveats to this genius solve-all gifting idea, after all. The first is that the chocolate must be fine, interesting, artisanal or unusual – to elevate it above the Dairy Milk level – and the second is that the book must have a good cover. Be it vintage Penguin or classic Puffin or whatever other bird you can think of. Luckily publishers put a lot of thought into covers and so your job here is quite easy.

Read: Beautiful Books that Won’t Break The Bank

And before you all shout in defence of Dairy Milk, I love Dairy Milk, but for this gift to work then it can’t be just any old normal chocolate bar thrown in to the shopping trolley – the bars in this feature are all exquisitely made with the finest ingredients and truly are, for want of a less cringe term, a taste sensation. (Liberty is a treasure trove of pretty and quirky chocolates – find them all here* – and they helped massively with sourcing good-looking bars for this feature, so thank you Liberty!)

The selection of books I’ve chosen should offer up something for everyone (apart from kids) and there are a few suggestions, such as The Bees, for example, that are relatively obscure and could be a safe bet for those who are hard to please.

I have listed a load of books ‘n’ chocolate combos below, with pictures so that you can admire my supreme books ‘n’ chocolate styling prowess. Hopefully it’ll give you some idea as to what the hell I’m on about. Wrapping these little delightful parcels needn’t be a stress either – get yourself a load of eco-friendly, plain brown paper and you’re sorted. Add nice ribbons that can be reused by the recipient and Bob’s your Uncle.

Read: Six Good-Looking Emergency Books

There’s (believe it or not) a video that goes with this post. Or perhaps this is the post that goes with the video – either way, I’ve managed to eke out an unbelievable amount of content from what it basically the world’s most simple gift idea. It’s a bit Pippa’s Tips (sure I said that last time) but sometimes you need to be reminded of the basic things in life…

Little Women (Puffin in Bloom edition) £9.99 here* + Pana Mint Chocolate (raw, vegan), £3.20 here. A beautiful chunk of a collector’s edition book with a raw and minty bar to chomp on. What a pretty pairing!

Wolf Hall £5.94 here* + Pana Coconut & Goji Chocolate (raw, vegan) £3.20 here. Particularly pleased with this combo, for some reason – and this is the book to buy a voracious reader who hasn’t yet unearthed the delights of Hilary Mantel.

My Sister, The Serial Killer, £6.20 here* + Sour Cherries Chocolate, £4.95 here – one of the books of the year all wrapped up with a bar of finest dark chocolate, studded with dried cherries.

Pretty Iconic, £11.89 here* + Chabonnel & Walker Dark Chocolate Bar, £6.95 here* – glorious, velvety dark chocolate and one of the best beauty books you’ll find.

Ooh, I’m starting to feel like Willy Wonka with all of these chocolate descriptions!

The Handmaid’s Tale, £6 here* + Pana Chocolate Rose, £4.95 here* – the brutal modern classic that’s worryingly astute and a rose-oil infused chocolate bar that should hopefully salve the soul somewhat…

Girl, Woman, Other, £10.64 here* + Chocolate Society Salted Caramel, £4.95 here – this year’s well-deserved Booker prize winner and a brightly-wrapped bar that contrasts with the cover. Two knockout gifts for just over fifteen pounds.

(Has my Book + Chocolate messaging sunk in yet?!)

Persuasion, £12.59 here*+Rococo Violet Dark Chocolate, £5.50 here* – the most delightful edition of Jane Austen’s classic and an equally classic chocolate to accompany it.

The Bees, £5.84 here* + Love Cocoa Honeycomb Chocolate, £4.50 here* – I won’t lie, I’m thrilled with this combo. Not only is the book really quite unique (a darkly thrilling novel from a bee’s narrative perspective, anyone?) I’ve carried the theme through into the accompanying sweet treat. Feel free to applaud.

Made In India, £12.71 here* + Creighton’s Imperial Chilli, £4.95 here* – Meera Sodha writes the best Indian cook books. The recipes are just so fresh and delicious, I highly recommend. The book covers are also giftworthy in themselves, like art posters!

Any Human Heart, £4.49 here* + Creighton’s Pink Gin Bar, £4.50 here – the cover of William Boyd’s wonderful novel is identical in colour to Creighton’s Pink Gin chocolate bar. I just couldn’t resist putting these together – in fact, I think this was one of the book-n-choc pairs that sparked off my need to revisit the whole idea!

My Thoughts Exactly, £5.64 here* + Creighton’s Maple Bacon, £3.95 here* – a slightly offbeat little hook-up here, but I thought that it was well suited. Lily Allen (author of the autobiography hidden behind the bar!) has never been known for toeing the line or fading into the background, so I’ve chosen an appropriately unexpected chocolate flavour. Not for everyone, admittedly, but it would certainly be a conversation starter!

Testaments, £10 here* + Sour Cherries (as before) – another colour-block combo, but oh so pleasing. Don’t you think? Again, a striking cover that is almost a gift in itself and then the sour cherries rising up above the parapet once more. Under his eye!

The Hours, £5.99 here* + Pump Street Gingerbread Chocolate, £7.95 here*. One of the pricier chocolates, but at least I’ve popped it in with one of the cheaper paperback books! And this novel by Michael Cunningham is an absolute literary treat – a Pulitzer winner and a weave of stories that’ll stay with you for life.

I, Robot, £10 here* + Salted Caramel Chocolate (as before) – a book I never thought in a million years I’d be featuring, but I read a sample of it and thought that it was brilliant. Witty, self-deprecating but in all of the right amounts. I genuinely have this on my bedside table on my book pile! I don’t even like football. Plenty do, however, which makes this a bit of a no-brainer. The cover doesn’t quite meet my strict criteria but this is the wildcard…

For more book suggestions there’s a whole category here on the website – just click here and all book posts will come up as a listing!


  1. Absolutely fantastic! I’m thinking of friends birthdays though the year now…

  2. This is utterly brilliant!!

  3. Honestly, would you please post this every year. What a brilliant idea. Love it. Of course that means that you can’t do something easy like Amazon. You need to find the chocolate and the book, put them together, wrap and send. BUT, this is a great idea also for the rest of the year. LOVE it. Bravo and kudos to you. Why didn’t I think of something that simple and chic. You win. Happy Holidays!

    • I have another good idea for next year too!! Just you wait… : )

  4. This is SO good! Actually brilliant. I squealed at The Bees with the honeycomb chocolate (loved that book). Wrapped in craft paper with some twine. Yes yes yes.

  5. This is such a great idea, but can I post a warning about raw chocolate? If you haven’t had it before it can be a bit challenging. I’d opt for normal chocolate as a gift every time unless you already know the recipient likes raw chocolate. (My husband got me some as stocking fillers one year and the bars were so pretty, but I had to sneak them into the bin when he wasn’t around.)

    • Hahaha!! Yeah it’s an interesting taste. However I have had some of these before at events and were lovely x

  6. A book and chocolate are something you can never go wrong with in our books and sweets loving family.

    Anne from Doctor Anne

  7. Perfect timing! I’ve got a few more gifts to buy and I’m completely out of ideas so your post has inspired me!! Brilliant and I imagine that the “pairing” is going to be a lot of fun!! Happy Christmas :)

  8. I am totally sold on this. Love it!
    Happy Christmas when it arrives Ruth, thanks for all the fab posts xx

  9. I know it sounds weird but I’ve never really considered a Book as a Christmas gift but these look perfect! Will definitely be adding a few to my cart! X

  10. Wow, I’d take that “Persuasion” & Violet chocolate anytime! What a lovely idea! I never treat myself to “fancy chocolate” bars and instead always end up buying the old but trusted Ritter Sport chocolate (salted candied almond or peppermint, anyone?), but this surely is much nicer – for the packaging alone!
    I am kind of reluctant to give books as presents which I haven’t read yet (I will always feel remorse about “treating” my mother-in-law to “The goldfinch” before reading it myself and absolutely hating the main character – couldn’t finish that one), but some of these classics are no-brainers…

    I also really enjoy many of your book recommendations, and will definitely look into some of these which I haven’t read yet. “My sister, the serial killer” caught my eye at a book shop the other day, but I couldn’t decide on buying… will revisit.

  11. This is fabulous. If you had done this post much earlier, we are talking September or maybe October then everyone on my list would be getting a book and chocolate combination. It may become the ultimate gift idea for next year instead, it will also work for birthdays. Thank you for helping me out, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. x

    • Oh my God, do you really get everything done that early?!!!! That’s amazing! x

      • I have never understood why all the gift guides start in December because most people start much earlier. Admittedly I spend most of December still trying to find my husband something as he is particular and difficult to shop for.
        I am seriously hoping that all of my friends will be gifting me books and chocolate. It is absolutely going to be my birthday theme for the year. x

        • Next year I shall launch them in early November as a compromise!! : )

  12. Brilliant!

  13. Just gorgeous… and such a perfect gift for introverts/homebodies like me.

    Please, please, please write (or video) more about books, Ruth. It was always my favourite part of your content.


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