Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come

For the month of December, my posts will all be Christmas-themed, just to be festive (or annoying, depending on your point of view). You can love it or hate it, celebrate it with joy or celebrate a different winter-time festival—but either way, Christmas is here and so is its impact on our culture. So I figured it would be appropriate if my blog reflected that.

For everyone who celebrates Christmas, the presents have been unwrapped, the food has been eaten, the pictures have been uploaded to Facebook. Even if some things happened or didn’t happen this holiday that made you unhappy or stressed, I hope that you can find at least one thing that you can be thankful for.

I love Christmas, and my memories of Christmases past are pleasant ones. The tree, making Christmas cookies, dinner with family and games after. I grew up listening to a wide variety of Christmas music, and every year I add to my mental and physical playlist of Christmas songs.

Christmas present this year was especially fun, because my nephew is now old enough to unwrap gifts and play with toys. Watching him pushing his new wagon around, wearing his ugly Christmas sweater (which, of course, on a baby is cute), adds a new level of magic to Christmas day. More memories for Christmas past.

I hope to have many more Christmases yet to come. There’s more Christmas music to listen to, more toys to give my nephew, more gingerbread houses to build and pictures to take. It’s a season of kindness and charity—which really should exist at all times of the year—that the world sorely needs. I hope I always keep love and generosity in my life, so that my future isn’t like the doom that was predicted for Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Here’s to many more Christmases in the future, and to a great 2013!

Xmas 120

Books make good Christmas Gifts

For the month of December, my posts will all be Christmas-themed, just to be festive (or annoying, depending on your point of view). You can love it or hate it, celebrate it with joy or celebrate a different winter-time festival—but either way, Christmas is here and so is its impact on our culture. So I figured it would be appropriate if my blog reflected that.

Since it’s the season for buying lots of stuff to give to other people, I decided to compose a short list in support of buying a book as a gift for your friend, family member, or even co-worker who you don’t really like. In the future, when I have some published works under my belt, this would of course apply to you, dear reader, buying (cough cough hint hint) one of my books. But since I’m not published (yet!), you can go spend your money with other authors for this Christmas.

So here’s my list of Christmas shopping tips, and why I think you should spend your money on books:

-Books are the gifts that keep on giving. A good story, or even a good non-fiction book, can be enjoyed again and again, and can be enjoyed by multiple people for years after the moment of the giving.

-Even if someone doesn’t like to read, there’s a book out there for them. It may not be hard to shop for the teen who’s into YA fantasy novels, but what about those other people? Well, even non-reader Uncle Bob might enjoy a glossy photo-filled book about his favorite wines, or a book of sports cartoons might be the perfect Secret Santa gag gift for your co-worker.

-If you’re buying an e-reader as a gift, it would add that little something extra if you spent a few dollars more and put a book or two on there. Especially if the person receiving the e-reader has never used one before or isn’t especially tech-savvy, having some ready-to-read books on it will make the gift that much more personal and user-friendly.

-Books don’t have to be expensive gifts. Sure, you can buy that $50 glossy hardcover coffee table book. But if your budget (and/or long list of people to shop for) doesn’t work well with that, you can still buy books. Most paperback fiction can still be bought for under $10. And don’t forget e-books, many of which are cheaper than that. And many small press and indie authors have special deals on their own websites with discounts or free gifts at this time of year, so check out author websites.

-Buying a book supports the author, so it’s like two gifts in one. Whether the author is a gajillionaire like J.K. Rowling, or a struggling indie writer you’ve never heard of, every book was lovingly crafted by somebody. Somebody put time, thought, energy, money, and love into every paperback, non-fiction book, and e-book out there. So if you buy a new book for a gift, you’re also giving to that author, and they deserve a merry Christmas too.

How many of you like to give or receive books as gifts?