Holiday Gift Guide — AND GIVEAWAY!

24 11 2011

It’s just about that time of year, my good people, when all your favorite gift-giving holidays convene. That’s right, such holidays as: my mom’s birthday. My grandmother’s birthday. National Fritters Day. Letter Writing Day. Pepper Pot Day. AND MANY MORE!

You will need to be armed to the teeth with gifts if you hope to make it to the other end of December alive. Personally, I like to do all my shopping from the same location, as far away from humanity as possible, and preferably while sitting. I think you know what that means—online shopping! This post will almost entirely feature items from JetPens; maybe, if I’m feeling particularly industrious, I’ll do another (or more?!) post(s) involving writing utensils from other websites.

And! As promised in the title, there will be a giveaway associated with this post. Details will follow. But first—pens!

I’ll organize this into two major categories—pens I own, and pens I don’t own but am going to recommend anyway—and for the first category, I’ll break it down by price. Let’s begin!


Pens I Own

$1 to $10

There are far too many pens in this category to list them all individually. So I’ve compiled a wish list of them on JetPens! And now it can be your wish list.


$11 to $30

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for Calligraphy – $13.50

Great for artists and people who can write in Japanese.

It’s got individual synthetic fiber bristles, and it’s refillable. Can write from a hair-thin line to an I-can’t-be-bothered-to-measure-how-thick broad line. Comes with 2 refills.


Uni-ball Alpha Gel Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm – $14.00

This has all my favorite things in a mechanical pencil. All of them. Including lead.

Fantastically comfortable Alpha-Gel grip + Kuru Toga lead-rotating mechanism = maybe the best pencil ever? Especially helpful for those who have to take a bunch of scantron tests / handwrite a bunch of essays in pencil. A.k.a. students.


Uni-ball Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip Series Ballpoint Pens – 0.7mm – $16.50

There is possibly nothing I can do to make this ballpoint pen better.

Can’t have my favorite mechanical pencil without my favorite ballpoint pen. As an added bonus, I have reviewed this one before! This body takes any size Jetstream retractable refill (I currently have the 0.5mm refill in mine), and also fits the Zebra Sarasa gel refills.


Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner’s Fountain Pen – $16.50

Be careful, you're gonna put your eye out with that thing.

I’ve reviewed this one before, too. It’s a nice fine nib pen. Warning: doesn’t come with a refill. I’d advise buying the converter; it’s cheaper than the cartridges, and easier to refill. Warning: I bought the cartridges (which I refill by syringe), but I have not personally tried the converter.


Akayashi Sai Watercolor Brush Pen – 5 Color Autumn Set – $17.50

Convenient watercolors? Yes. It can exist.

I would recommend buying these brush pens with the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Mini Pallet ($4.50) and a waterbrush pen like the Kuretake Small Compact Size ($4.25), which actually pushes the total cost of this set up to $26.25, but I think it’s worth it. And the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen works great with these for a watercolor black.


J. Herbin Tapered Body Frosted Glass Dip Pen – Large – $20.00

Fun fact: I studied abroad in Venice before my fine pen obsession kicked in. I only bought 1 glass dip pen from Murano. I REGRET THIS VERY STRONGLY.

Impractical, but beautiful. Especially nice for ink enthusiasts (I recommend Noodler’s, which you can get through places like Goldspot Pens or the Goulet Pen Company). Easy to clean; just don’t drop it.


Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen – $21.00

Alas, the price has gone up on these since I bought this one. Curse you, modern economy!

From extra-fine nib to broad nib in a variety of colors. Also check out the Kaweco Ice Sport line if you like translucent and bright colors. I have the medium nib, which I find to be one of the thinner mediums I own.


Lamy Safari, Vista, and Al-Star Fountain Pens – $26, $26, and $37.50

So the Lamy Al-Star is technically out of this arbitrary price category I decided to sort things by. JUST TRY TO STOP ME!

Colorful, durable, with nibs ranging from extra-fine to broad, and in my experience, they’ve all been wonderful writers. I’d recommend getting the converter with this one, as these pens go well with having a nigh unlimited spectrum of ink colors to choose from. Warning: also recommending the converter because the Lamy takes a special cartridge rather than the standard international short cartridge. The pen is designed so that you just drop the cartridge in and then twist the nib section back onto the barrel; the cartridge then punctures itself. Warning: I’ve never actually tried to shove an international short cartridge into a Lamy, as far as I can remember, so I can’t advise what would happen.


Lamy Joy Calligraphy Fountain Pen – $29

Pen is conveniently named to describe what emotion you'll be experiencing while using said pen

Comes with a converter. And a lovely tapered body. And the cap posts on the end! Calligraphy nib options: 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm. Nibs are interchangeable with the regular Lamy nibs, if you just like the body.


$30 and up (except for the already mentioned Lamy Al-Star)

A. G. Spalding & Bros. Mini Fountain Pen – Fine Nib – $33.00

Sleek and classy, like a little sci-fi spaceship.

This pen has grown on me a lot more since I first reviewed it, and especially since I started using Rotring Turquoise ink in it (warning: that is a ridiculous price; I paid $4 for my refills at the Art Brown Pen Shop, but they don’t seem to sell that refill online). More of a medium or maybe even broad (what do I know; I never use broad nibs) nib. Warning: do not try to take the clip off or accidentally take the clip off. It comes off, and scratches the satin metal finish in the process. Oops.


Kaweco Liliput Al Fountain Pen – $53.00

This is such a disappointingly unsexy picture of a phenomenally sexy pen.

I got the fine nib. Yes, this pen is everything I hoped for, and also more. Yes, I desperately owe you all a proper review of this pen;  I am waiting for the opportunity and the lighting so that I can take the kind of pictures that do this pen justice.  Comes in extra-fine to broad nibs. Takes international short cartridges. Also takes….YOUR HEART.


Pilot Prera Clear Body Fountain Pen – $58.00

When I first held this pen, I couldn't leave the store without buying it. And now here we are!

I bought the fine nib, which was a Japanese fine nib—also known as an extra exceptionally fine line nib. Possibly the finest nib I own (too bad I dropped it on the nib (ARGH WHOOPS)). Also comes in medium nib. I’d recommend getting the Pilot Plumix as well (currently cheapest at Target, I believe); the nibs are interchangeable. You (like me) can have a Pilot Prera with an italic nib! Makes your handwriting look even fancier than normal.


Pens I Don’t Own

I’m only going to make two recommendations. First, the Uni-ball Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5mm Pencil ($16.50); I bought one for a friend and he loves it. Four colors of Jetstreams, a pencil, and an eraser all in one body! Second, the Zebra Sharbo X….specifically the Zebra Sharbo X LT3 Pen Body Component – Silver ($49.50). Look at that thing. I want it. Why wouldn’t you?





Brad at JetPens has generously offered up a $10 JetPens gift card for one lucky commenter on this post! The rules:

  1. Leave one comment on this post any time between now and Sunday, November 27th 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. This contest is open to all readers in any country! That includes you, international people!
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Just make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner in the evening of Sunday, November 27th (sometime between noon and midnight). Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

Good luck! And preemptive happiness to your holidays!



P.S. I should have it set up so comments will post without my having to approve them all moderator-style. But if your comment doesn’t show up right away, that means I didn’t set that up correctly, and your comment will show up when I go through and hit “approve” on all of them. Don’t worry! Or, if you are worried, feel free to email me!




74 responses

24 11 2011

I like the diversity of you’re selection! I think the pocket brush is making googly eyes at me. Or maybe its the other way around.

24 11 2011

I am posting so I can be a part of this contest!

24 11 2011


24 11 2011

Wow…a Jetpens gift card would be…pretty much the best thing ever!

24 11 2011

A jetpens gift card would be great!

24 11 2011

Thanks for the giveaway and very neat list you have there! Happy Holidays!

24 11 2011

Thanks a lot for the giveaway!!
Happy holidays!

24 11 2011
Azizah A. (@GourmetPens)

Awesome list! Thank you for the wonderful compilation!

24 11 2011
Kevin S


24 11 2011

I love these pens! I love my Lamy Joy and i’m thinking to get the pilot prera…

24 11 2011

Woohoo giveaway! Count me in!

24 11 2011
Steve Wilson (@slwphoto)

Great list of pens! Happy Turkey Day!

24 11 2011

Ohohoho! Happy Holidays@

The gift guide is great, I’m considering getting the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush set for a friend :)

24 11 2011
fran harder

Oh, Happy Day! Winner gift guide! now, im curious with the smexy Kaweco Liliput. ^_____^
love your doodles!

24 11 2011

I want it

24 11 2011
Kyle D.

Great gift guide! I’m excited for your review of the Kaweco Liliput.

24 11 2011

I agree. I have the Sharbo X in Coral Red, and it is beautiful and sturdy! (The only not so great thing is that if you use it often, you’ll run out of ink pretty fast.) If I win, I’ll have to decide what to get from my wishlist, although I’ve been admiring the Cplay Sevenroll Leather Pencil Cases for some time. [ ]

24 11 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

24 11 2011
Sara anderson

I hope I win XD Thanks to this post I have even more on my wishlist!
Thank you for the chance.

24 11 2011

Great gift list, & hoping I win :D

25 11 2011

My Christmas “selfgift”, coming to me TWSBI 540 Diamond :-)

25 11 2011

Very cool, thanks for the chance! :-)

25 11 2011

Stop giving me reasons to shop at JetPens, I DON’T NEED YOU TO ENABLE ME
I looked at all the pictures and drooled a little. I may have a problem.

25 11 2011
Rori Lieurance (@RoriRants)

I totally have a problem. And I’m ok with that. Thanks for the list!! Heading off to JetPens now…

25 11 2011
K Ly

JetPens is pretty awesome about the giveaways! On a completely different note, I’m intensely jealous of your study abroad in Italy. That must have been an amazing time!

25 11 2011

Just found your website and I look forward to reading more posts.

25 11 2011
Francisco Durán (@bored_agitated)

Yay! Thanks for the chance to win!!

25 11 2011

I just found your site. I’m enjoying looking back through your posts, and getting registered in a drawing is a great bonus.

26 11 2011

Lovely guide!

26 11 2011
Robyn Brown

Just found your bog. I love your pen photos and reviews.

26 11 2011


26 11 2011

Thanks for an enjoyable review! I’ve always wondered about the Kaweco Lilliput. Your photo actually gives some idea of its actual size. I had imagined it to be quite tiny, but judging by your photo it appears to be a little bigger than I thought. Thanks!

26 11 2011

I hope I win

26 11 2011

that sharbo x looks amazing!!…maybe ill buy it with 10 bucks off…thanks for the giveaway!

26 11 2011
Ron Gilmour

Very nice assemblage of gift ideas! I’m going to have to check out the HighAce thing from Sailor. I didn’t even know Sailor made budget pens.

26 11 2011
arlie thee

Great list! Love Jet Pens!

26 11 2011
Charles Hadden

yes!!! a great gift!

26 11 2011

Great give away!

26 11 2011
Jimmy Simpson

I would love to win the Jet Pens gift card.

26 11 2011

JetPens is my FAVORITE!!!! WOO HOO!

26 11 2011
Sheryl C

Good call on the Pentel pocket brush pen and the Kuru Toga – love ’em both!

26 11 2011


26 11 2011

Hey, I’m a pen maniac, and I’m also from International! So show me teh money!

26 11 2011

Thnaks for your wonderful blog posts. Count me in on the giveaway.

26 11 2011

Jetpens gift card? Yes please!

26 11 2011
Peter Montecuollo

Awesome contest! Count me in!

26 11 2011

I like it: all nibs are good, its just that some are different than others. Let’s here it for diversity

26 11 2011

Very nice, excellent list of fountain pens.

26 11 2011
Trezeline L. Brooks

I love examining the Jet pens website. So many wonderful things to play with.

26 11 2011

Nice blog – Jetpens rocks too!

26 11 2011
A. Rivera

That is a nice selection. Here is to hoping I get a small start on Xmas shopping, haha. Best, and keep on blogging.

26 11 2011
domestic diva

Lovely! Thanks for the chance.

26 11 2011

I <3 Pens!

26 11 2011

Oooh, this looks awesome! Also, yay international competitions! I always feel so sad when there’s an awesome giveaway but I can’t enter.

26 11 2011

Really hope I win, jetpens is awesome!

26 11 2011

please please please please please please :) gimme an early christmas gift

26 11 2011

Woo Hoo!! An INTERNATIONAL jetpens giveaway. I’m pretty stoked since Jetpens started limiting their giveaways to the US. =(

26 11 2011

Great blog! I enjoyed every post!
Keep it going :)

26 11 2011
Debra Schneider

Thanks for some wonderful new pen suggestions. I’ll be checking them out!

26 11 2011

Great choices; I own a few myself =)

And yes, the gift card would get me a few more!

30 11 2011
No Pen Intended

Hey you! You were the winner. I need to hear back from you before 11:59 PM this Thursday, December 1st or I will have to give the prize away to someone else!

26 11 2011
Colin S.

Your JetPens wish list has a lot of items I would like to try some time. This would be a good chance. I have also been looking at the UniBall Jet Stream Alpha Gel series.

27 11 2011

Nice selection of favorite pens.

27 11 2011

This is a wonderful list of pens. esp all those yummy fountain pens :D:D

27 11 2011
Nathaniel C.

Hope I win! :)

27 11 2011
Stephanie H.

I love these contests!! :D

27 11 2011
Wesley B (@Wesleyintheory)

Contests and pens what a great combo. Thanks for the reviews you posted I enjoyed reading these, and if I win that would be a bonus

27 11 2011
Wesley B (@Wesleyintheory)

Opps I just realized it was 12pm I was thinking 12am! Got in to late but still great review :)

27 11 2011

It maybe too late to entered. But I liked the post anyway.


27 11 2011
Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway WINNER! « No Pen Intended

[…] everyone for entering MY VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Things I have learned: my comments section is currently not set up to display numbers on the […]

3 01 2012

Hello! I’m having trouble finding reviews of the Kaweco Liliput Al. Please tell us more about it!

Also, I’m having difficulty determining if any of the mini converters will fit in it. Are you using cartridges or did you manage to find a suitable converter?


9 02 2012
No Pen Intended

Done! Short answer: I haven’t found a mini converter that fits, so I’m using cartridges / filling empty cartridges by syringe if I want bottled ink.

4 03 2012

cool contest

24 11 2013

A few days ago a friend I seduced into fountain pendom dropped his pilot metropolitan (my gift) on its nib. Youch. So I switched the nib + feed from a pilot penmanship I always carry around. Now I’m jealous and need lots of penmanships to transform every pilot to an EF writer. Jetpens! I need you!

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