There have been a few times in recent years when I have tried to share my fountain pen enthusiasm with some friends and colleagues with holiday gifts. A few years ago, I bought five or six Lamy Al-Star gift sets from Goulet Pens and gave those to a few clients and friends. I know that a few on the receiving end were pleased and ended up becoming regular fountain pen users, but you never know with some people. Some folks are intimidated by ink cartridges and bottled ink and the hassle of having to clean a pen. One person that I gifted what I thought was a nice Lamy set never event commented on it (I know, could be a reflection of that person’s manners more than anything), but I tried.
During the holidays, there are some nice gifts sets, and if a particular pen that comes in one of them would be a fit for someone, then it’s probably a good gift idea. I really like the Lamy gift sets, and there usually is one or two seasonal sets with the Safari and the Al-Star that comes with ink, and a converter, so you are ready to start writing.
For people who are more seasoned in the fountain pen hobby, a Lamy gift set probably isn’t going to cut it, and with fountain pens being expensive, you might not be able to purchase them a pen or know where to start because the true pen snobs are quite picky. In this case, I recommend giving a gift card to a pen and stationery retailer and letting them pick what they want or apply some of the card to a larger purchase, giving an assortment of notepads or paper, or even some accessories. Someone could gift me a variety of Rhodia notepads, and I would be happy and would use them readily. If someone bought me a nice pen sleeve, that would be a welcome gift, even though I already have three or four other pen sleeves. A notebook cover is another nice option, and there are plenty of retailers like Galen Leather, Makers South (although it might be too late to place a holiday order), and Nock Co who have so many options in different colors. A travel ink well is also a useful gift for someone who uses bottled ink. Pen and paper snobs also tend to appreciate nice paperclips in unique shapes (Midori has a lot of fun paperclips). The possibilities are endless, and the gifts don’t have to be expensive.