The Most Beautiful Gift Books to Give this Christmas

  24 Nov '22   |  Posted by: Birlinn

We all know the famous expression, but when searching for a special Christmas gift, it makes sense to judge a book (at least in part) by its cover! The readers in your life, along with those who covet stunning additions to their coffee-table selection, would all appreciate any of the following beautiful books. From fully-illustrated travel guides to gorgeous poetry anthologies and more, enjoy this list of some of our most aesthetically appealing titles, ideal gift books for this Christmas. 

Hebridean Journey by Brigid Benson

The Outer Hebrides, the island chain at the very edge of Europe, are known for their rugged natural beauty, rich cultural traditions, and magical historical sites. This guide by bestselling author Brigid Benson offers a wealth of information on exploring the vibrant islands of Lewis, Harris, Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Bara, and Vatersay. From white powder-sand beaches to peaty moors and jagged hills, these landscapes are some of the most beautiful and varied in the country. The pages of Hebridean Journey are full of gorgeous photographs, also taken by Brigid, making it the perfect gift for the travel-lover in your life.

The Salt Roads by John Goodlad

The Salt Roads by John Goodlad will certainly captivate you with its bright, whimsical cover. But the story inside is even more engaging– the extraordinary tale of how salt fish from Shetland became one of the staple foods of Europe, fostered economic prosperity, and inspired great artists, writers, and musicians. This well-researched account is told in an accessible, intriguing way, and covers a wide array of historical periods and topics. The narrative flows from the wild waters of the North Atlantic to the fjords of Greenland, Spanish restaurants, and Jewish shtetls in Eastern Europe. John then includes the perspectives of those in the industry today and addresses current issues like climate change and sustainable fishing practicies. All around, The Salt Roads makes for a beautiful Christmas gift for an inquisitive, intellectual reader. 

Of Stone and Sky by Merryn Glover

Merryn Glover’s second novel was published in 2021 to critical acclaim. Set in the stunning Scottish Highlands, Of Stone and Sky begins with the sudden disappearance of shepherd Colvin Munro, leaving a mysterious trail of possessions in the Cairngorm Mountains behind him. Years later, his sister Mo and brother Sorley embark on a journey to uncover what happened to him. Full of passion, complexity, and connection, this beautiful book follows generations of a shepherding family, celebrating the bonds between people, their land, and their way of life.

Blue Scotland by Mollie Hughes

World-record-breaking adventurer Mollie Hughes has written an incredibly comprehensive guide to water sports in Scotland, and it’s a book that is both practical and gorgeous. Blue Scotland was released earlier this year, and it includes over 80 locations for outdoor water enthusiasts to explore. From urban paddleboarding along the Clyde to revitalising cold-water wild swimming in Highland lochs, this book is jam-packed with great tips for how to access and enjoy blue spaces all around our beautiful country. Perfect for watersports fans of any level, this fully-illustrated guide would make for a lovely Christmas gift.

Landscapes in Stone by Alan McKirdy

The Landscapes in Stone series spans thirteen volumes, three of which were published just this year, exploring the geological history of different regions in Scotland. The books include accessible, fascinating scientific writing as well as many striking images of Scottish landscapes. Each book also contains a concluding section all about the geology of some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks and tourist sites, such as the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye or Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. As a set or on their own, they are beautiful gift books to give this season.

Other Worlds, edited by Stewart Conn

With its festive, illustrated cover and ethereal title, Other Worlds is a charming poetry collection that lives up to its appearance. Edited by Stewart Conn, this anthology includes some of Scotland’s finest writing on the beauty of its unique and varied islands. From Orkney and Shetland to Mull, Iona, and Arran, the rich depictions of island nature and culture will delight and enchant a keen poetry-enthusiast. Consider gifting a copy of this exquisite collection this year.

The Scottish Nature Colouring Book by Eilidh Muldoon

Last but certainly not least, who wouldn’t love a fun and calming activity to pass the time over the Christmas holidays? Eilidh Muldoon has created quite a few wonderful colouring books in the past few years, but The Scottish Nature Colouring Book has especially wide appeal with its floral designs and equally stunning landscapes and seascapes. With mindful colouring becoming more and more popular as a healing and mentally-enriching practice, this book would make a fine gift for artists of all ages and abilities.

Get a jump-start on your Christmas shopping with these particularly beautiful titles:

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