Beautiful classic books to give as gifts

The beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library editions make great gifts for book lovers. Here is our curated guide to the best classic gift books for all your family and friends.

07/12/2020
4 minutes to read
A Christmas Carol, Poems for Christmas and Peter Pan against a backdrop of a person reading in front of a crackling fire

Whether your mum is impossible to buy for or you've picked someone you barely know in the office Secret Santa, we have the solution to solve your Christmas shopping panic. Macmillan Collector’s Library has a selection of beautiful classic books to give as gifts, from literary classics and stunning poetry collections to inspiring and informative non-fiction. At around the £10 mark and with close to two hundred books to choose from, the Macmillan Collector's Library has a classic book for everyone. Here is our edit of the best classic gift books for each and every person on your Christmas list.

Looking for more Christmas gifting ideas?  Don't miss our Christmas gift guide for book lovers. 

The classic book to gift to parents

My Family and Other Animals

by Gerald Durrell

Book cover for My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals is a modern classic documenting the eccentric Durrell family's life in Corfu. The TV series may have finished but not to fear, the original book is just as heartwarming and hilarious – a perfect gift for parents bringing up a brood.


The classic book to gift to siblings

Peter Pan

by J. M. Barrie

Book cover for Peter Pan

Transport your siblings back to the days of bedtime games with this gorgeously illustrated edition of Peter Pan. The adventures of Wendy, John and Michael in Neverland is a timeless classic for any brother or sister.


The classic book to gift to children

Poems of Childhood

by Various

Book cover for Poems of Childhood

Full of nursery rhymes, nonsense, mermaids and more, Poems of Childhood is an ideal pocket-sized book for reading aloud to a little one. Give the gift of your favourite childhood poems from ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ to ‘The Tyger’. 


The classic book to gift to grandparents

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Book cover for A Christmas Carol

Adapted for film and TV countless times over the years, A Christmas Carol is a festive staple. But how often do we think back to Charles Dickens' original novella? This Christmassy classic is a crowd-pleaser that grandparents are sure to love.


The classic book to gift to your partner

Poems for Happiness

by Various

Book cover for Poems for Happiness

Poems for Happiness is a wonderful gift for someone who brings you joy. Poets such as Walt Whitman, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson and W. B Yeats explore the delights of daily life in this gorgeous anthology. Plus, who can resist the rapturous swimming nuns on the cover?


The classic book to gift to your Secret Santa

Poems for Christmas

by Various

Book cover for Poems for Christmas

No idea what to buy your Secret Santa? Poems for Christmas is a gift for old and young, bookish or not. Containing traditional poems such as ‘Silent Night' and ‘Twelve Days of Christmas' as well as poems from the likes of Susan Coolidge and Rudyard Kipling, there's a poem to please everyone.

Discover our selection of the best Christmas poems here.


Classic books to gift to a treasured friend

Why Friendship Matters

by Michèle Mendelssohn

Book cover for Why Friendship Matters

This beautiful Macmillan Collector’s Library edition is a thoughtful gift book to give to a treasured friend. It is an inspiring collection filled with writing which celebrates and explores all aspects of friendship, from writers including Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jane Austen.

My Ántonia

by Willa Cather

Book cover for My Ántonia

The characters in My Ántonia are a testament to true, lasting friendship. Jim and Antonia meet as children, go through hardship, part and reunite in the beautiful, rural landscape of Nebraska. A beautiful gift to cuddle up with by the fire, from one friend to another.


The classic book to gift to the foodie in your life

Food for Thought

by Annie Gray

Book cover for Food for Thought

A gift book for the foodie in your life, Food for Thought is a delicious collection of writing about food. Brimming with satire on Victorian etiquette, intriguing recipes through the centuries and culinary advice from cooks and hosts, there is so much here to enjoy.

The classic book to gift to a teacher

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

by Muriel Spark

Book cover for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Listed as one of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a witty, passionate portrait of an unconventional but beloved teacher. An ideal gift for the teacher in your life who needs a good laugh.


The classic book to gift to the feminist in your family

The Awakening & Other Stories

by Kate Chopin

Book cover for The Awakening & Other Stories

Kate Chopin is a remarkable early feminist who writes about all aspects of female life, from a guilty self-purchase of silk stockings to awakening from an unhappy family life. The Awakening & Other Stories is a collection of her best stories and an inspiring gift for any feminist.

Be inspired by our edit of the feminist books you should be reading. 


The classic book to gift to someone who loves a laugh

The Diary of a Nobody

by George Grossmith

Book cover for The Diary of a Nobody

The Diary of a Nobody is a satirical diary written by pompous Mr Pooter about all his middle-class woes. Dip into his awful jokes and embarrassing moments in this perfectly pitched spoof, an ideal present for someone who thinks they're funny.


The classic book to gift to a climate change warrior

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Book cover for Walden

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau imparts his wisdom of living in the woods in a handbuilt cabin, cut off from society and living off the land. His philosophical musings on being immersed in nature are an inspiring gift for those who treasure the environment.


The classic book to gift to someone who loves travel and adventure

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

by Mary Seacole

Book cover for Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

Mary Seacole was a fiercely independent self-funded entrepreneur from Jamaica. She left home to travel through the Caribbean, The Bahamas, Central America and to England. A trained nurse, she was desperate to offer help during the Crimean War, but was denied work by officials and by Florence Nightingale. Mary knew what she wanted to achieve and wouldn’t let anything stand in her way, so she set up her famous hotel for British soldiers, offering respite from the front line. Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands is her gutsy autobiography and wonderful real-life adventure story. 

Poems for Travellers

by Various

Book cover for Poems for Travellers

Whether backpacking around the globe or jetting off to luxurious locations, we all have someone in our lives who loves to travel. Give them the gift of Poems for Travellers, the perfect pocket-sized companion to any hand luggage bag.

Discover our favourite poems about travel.


The classic book to gift to the TV addict

Ross Poldark

by Winston Graham

Book cover for Ross Poldark

Poldark has dominated the period drama world since 2015, but Winston Graham's original story has been captivating readers for 60 years prior. His original book, Ross Poldark, is a great way to lure a TV lover to books.

Discover all the Poldark books in order


The classic book to gift to avid walkers

The Joy of Walking

by Suzy Cripps

Book cover for The Joy of Walking

This beautiful gift book takes you on a journey through classic writing which shows how the simple act of walking goes to the heart of life itself. In The Joy of Walking you’ll find a wealth of essays, poetry and fiction celebrating and exploring the joy of walking, from E. M. Forster, William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman among many others.



The classic book to gift to a horror movie enthusiast

The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave

by Henry James

Book cover for The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave

The Turn of the Screw is an eerily gothic novella about a governess slowly losing her mind, an ideal gift for fans of psychological thrillers and ghost stories. Netflix's chilling series The Haunting of Bly Manor was inspired by Henry James's classic ghostly tale.


The classic book to gift to a theatre-goer

The Phantom of the Opera

by Gaston Leroux

Book cover for The Phantom of the Opera

Gaston Leroux's dramatic and disturbing novel follows a mysterious phantom causing trouble backstage at the Paris Opera House. Any lover of theatre is sure to enjoy this gorgeous edition of The Phantom of the Opera.

If you love The Phantom of the Opera, don't miss these other musical based on books.


The classic book to gift to an animal lover

Classic Dog Stories

by Ned Halley

Book cover for Classic Dog Stories

Dog lovers will be delighted to find this classic gift book in their stockings this Christmas. This entertaining collection dedicated to man’s best friend features stories from our most accomplished writers, including Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Jack London and Jerome K. Jerome.

Classic Cat Stories

by Various

Book cover for Classic Cat Stories

This stunning gift book will be loved by fans of our feline friends. Here there are fairy tales and fables, comic stories and spooky tales, all of which celebrate cats and their curious ways.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

by Hugh Lofting

Book cover for The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Whether they're a cat or dog lover, The Story of Doctor Dolittle is a gift for all animal enthusiasts. With a star-studded new adaptation coming to cinemas in January, Christmas is the perfect time to pick up Hugh Lofting's original book.


The classic book to gift to a writer

A Room of One's Own

by Virginia Woolf

Book cover for A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf's declaration that women need their own money and space in order to write has become world-famous. Her A Room of One's Own is a guidebook to all writers and would make an inspiring gift for anyone putting pen to paper this Christmas.