Surprise: the ideal gift is not necessarily a journal. “I know that it's almost impossible to walk by these lovely volumes bound in leather or handmade paper in a bookstore and not imagine oneself or the gift recipient standing on a windblown heath somewhere in 19th-century England, scribbling away,” he says. The truth is that writing journals given to writers wind up in a stack in the corner, “or are dispersed in various nooks throughout the house, and remain there forlorn and unused due to sheer quantity.”
Says Hankins, “A principle to live by is that one can certainly have too many writing journals, but one can never, never have too many books. Writers are readers, and they could not dream of continuing to write without the sustenance of the written word. My advice is to buy a writer a book that you love, one that has had a powerful effect on you. Chances are that such a book will be more meaningful to the person than a book you've never read but are guessing would be of interest to the recipient.”
Another option: A writing class or workshop. Check out the Great Smokies Writing Program (http://agc.unca.edu/great-smokies-writing-program), The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville (http://www.twwoa.org) and A-B Tech (http://www1.abtech.edu) among other local organizations.