Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Perfect Gifts by Jacqueline Seewald

Emerson wrote:

“Gifts of one who loved me--Twas high time they came;

When he ceased to love me, Time they stopped for shame.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson had some outspoken thoughts and opinions regarding gift-giving. Emerson, nineteenth century transcendental philosopher and theologian, observed in his essay entitled “Gifts” that flowers and fruits are always appropriate gifts “because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world.” Emerson went on to observe that things of necessity are also appropriate gifts as well.

Emerson stated that the only true gift is a portion of ourselves. Something we create is of more significance than anything we could possibly buy in a store: “It is a cold, lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy me something which does not represent your life and talent, but a goldsmith’s.”

However, let’s face it, modern man is a materialistic creature, unlike Emerson. Maybe it’s too bad more of us don’t read Emerson’s essays and aren’t influenced by his advice. But if we did, commerce as we know it would be seriously impacted.

To avoid mall madness and still manage to give gifts that friends, family and fellow workers appreciate definitely takes time and planning. Internet shopping is one approach never dreamed of in Emerson’s philosophy.

Books are in my opinion perfect gifts. Even those people who are basically nonreaders enjoy a beautiful coffee table book. There are books to suit every taste. Many men appreciate useful nonfiction how-to books. Many women like cookbooks. Children enjoy picture books.
Romance and mystery novels are always in demand. (Check out the Five Star/Gale’s line. Each month, brand new mysteries and romance novels are offered.)

Of course, some readers prefer large print books since they’re so much easier on the eyes. I’m pleased to say that my historical romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS was just published in a large print edition by Thorndike Press.

Books are also great gifts for teenagers as well as adults and children. Teens actually do read for pleasure, not just for school assignments. My new young adult novel STACY’S SONG published by L&L Dreamspell is an uplifting coming of age/romance that ends at Christmas and would be a good gift for teenage girls ages 12 to 17 . It's published both in paperback and Kindle/e-book editions.

What would you recommend as perfect holiday presents? If books, which would you suggest?


Diana L. Driver said...

In "print" books I would suggest any of Robert Sabudo's pop-up books. He does what's called "paper engineering" and his books are precious. Otherwise, first thing I'd suggest is a Kindle. That's what my hubby is giving me (we already have it!) and I'm giving a Kindle to my sister.

My novel, Ninth Lord of the Night, is perfect for older teens and adults. It's action/adventure with elements of magical realism and was optioned for film for over five years. "Seventeen year old Zack tangles with murderers and artifact smugglers and is swept into the world of Mayan myths and legends - a world that is his to claim if he only has the courage. It's definitely a book that's remembered long after the last page is read.

Diana Driver

Joe Prentis said...


Great article! I don't think there is any greater gift than a book. Each well written book contains a whole world just waiting to be discovered. I am now in the process of sorting through my books and giving some of them to the library. It is almost more than I can stand to get rid of any of them, for each book and the characters they contain are special friends.

Jade Walker said...

I choose my gifts based on the person. Some prefer baked goods. Others like books. My husband digs "experience" presents. For readers, I would suggest buying a Kindle and an Amazon gift certificate (so they can spend Xmas morning picking out books to read).

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Let us all know if your YA novel does get made into a movie. What an exciting experience! A Kindle does sound like a wonderful gift. So many books are now available and at reasonable prices.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


When we downsized to an apartment from our house, I was forced to give away three large bookcases of books. It was painful. But we donated everything that was in good condition to the library for their booksale. Hopefully, the books found good homes and money was raised to support our local library.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Jade,

Thank you commenting.You are the second person suggesting a Kindle purchase. The e-publishing revolution is catching on bigtime! Selfishly, I hope print hangs in there as well.

Jillian said...

I read Stacy's Song and I recommend it for a young person!
I like the gift card from Amazon idea as well- or Fictionwise. Then the recipient can browse on Christmas day and shop for books!

Great Post -

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks, Jillian,

I'm delighted that you read Stacy's Song and enjoyed it.

I agree that gift cards are a good idea. That way the recipient can select what he/she really wants.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Jackie: Nice post, and a timely reminder that books make good gifts for everyone, no matter their interests. Thanks for sharing.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Joyce,

Thanks for the kind words. There are many wonderful books that people would enjoy if
they knew of their existence. Those of us who
write for small, independent publishers have to accept that publicity and distribution are
problematic. But it's still important to let people know that there are many treasures in the realm of books just waiting to be found.

D'Ann said...

I would love to get any book for X-Mas, but I especially love the holiday anthologies that houses put together for the holidays.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, D'Ann,

I love holiday anthologies too. Short stories, poems and novelettes make great holiday gifts.

Cindy Sample said...

Books are the perfect gift for everyone and not just mine. My adult kids would much prefer getting an Amazon gift card to anything I make and or bake (not known as a domestic diva around my house). And in case they are reading this excellent blog, Mom would love a Kindle for Christmas.

Happy holidsys, everyone.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Cindy,

Point your kids in this direction. Seems like the overwhelming response has been that readers and writers alike would appreciate either an Amazon gift card or a Kindle. Any Nook fanciers out there??

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Jacqueline, and beautifully written. Thank you!

Pauline B Jones said...

I still remember the year my Grandmother gave me four books: DADDY LONG LEGS, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM and POLLYANNA. I don't remember what else I got that year. The books were well loved and read often until they just fell apart. I got many books to read from her at other times, but I do remember that year and those books.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Rebbie,

Thanks for posting and for your kind words!
I appreciate both.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pauline,

Those are all great books. I loved them too.
The great thing is if our children and grandchildren know how much we love to read, they will want to read too!