Friday, December 21, 2012

Perfect Presents by Jacqueline Seewald

 What are perfect presents—those that will be appreciated and remembered? How and where do we go about locating them?
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 that 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, the crush of crowds, also possible violence, and still manage to give gifts that friends, family and fellow workers appreciate definitely takes time and thoughtful planning. Internet shopping is one approach never dreamed of in Emerson’s philosophy. More people than ever are turning to it.
     Books are in my opinion perfect gifts. There are books to suit every taste. Many men appreciate useful nonfiction how-to books. Many women like cookbooks. Young children enjoy picture books. Romance, mystery and thriller novels are always in demand. Ebooks are more popular than ever before and so convenient. There’s a huge selection and something for every taste. They also can cost much less than print versions.
     L&L Dreamspell has now published three of my Five Star/Gale hardcover novels in all ebook formats, the most recent being my Regency romance TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS. I’m delighted that this novel is now offered in a reasonably priced, affordable edition.
     L&L published THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL, books one and two in the Kim Reynolds mystery series in all ebook formats as well.

Ebooks are also great gifts for teenagers. Teens actually do read for pleasure, not just for school assignments. My young adult novel STACY’S SONG also 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, again available in all e-book formats.

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


Susan Oleksiw said...

Books give so much more to people than any bauble or toy. I can always think of a book for someone when I struggle to think of a material item for the same person. Perhaps writers just see other people's personalities in terms of stories. Congratulations on having your books available on all eBook formats.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

Obviously, I agree with you. There is always a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, that will be enjoyed or prove helpful to those on our gift list.

Unknown said...

Loved reading the comments of what the greats say about gifts. My very favorite is Emerson's about the best gift to give is a portion of ourselves. That's probably why books make such important gifts.
Thanks, Jacqueline, for making me think about gift giving.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

bdtharp said...

When I used to have more time I made lots of gifts. This year only one - a hug scarf for my littlest grandson. I love getting books or gift cards from bookstores. It's hard to find just the right gift sometimes. I truly love the ones people took the time to create, they mean so much. And a hug from the little ones ROCKS for me. What a glorious Great post, Jacqui.

Jennifer Drogell said...

I agree about books Jacqueline! One of the best writing books I've ever encountered is Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer. I might just give it to a few people now that I think of it! Happy Holidays!

Gail Farrelly said...


Loved the post, especially the Emerson quotes.

I agree with the poster above who suggested gift cards. I like that Amazon now has a deal (it's called "Suggest s Gift") where you can email a gift card, suggesting a specific book. The recipient can choose that book or something else. I like this, because it shows some special thought on the part of the giver. But also, the recipient gets to choose.

I have two holiday short stories at Untreed Reads (also on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold). Each is 99 cents. I've been encouraging people with Kindle friends to email, as a gift, one of my stories (click on "Give as a gift," to the right of the story), perhaps along with a gift card. Promotion never takes a holiday!

Happy holidays.


Cindy Sample said...

Hi Jacquie. You always have the most eloquent posts. I loved the Emerson quote. Books have always been my favorite gift since I was a toddler. No matter which format they come in, they bring magic to the reader. When I'm out selling I always tell people you can't go wrong with a gift of laughter.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

I think it's great you made the scarf for your grandson. It's something he will always associate with your love and remember.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Jennifer,

Thanks for mentioning that particular book--I think it's one lots of us who write would benefit from reading.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Gail,

Amazon definitely can benefit writers. Your ideas and suggestions are excellent.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Cindy,

Your novels are great because they combine mystery and humor so expertly. Wonderful Christmas gifts!

Conda Douglas said...

Books! Books! More books! This has always been true for me. Only change: now I want books for my e-reader, mostly. Not always, but I figure it's so easy I'll get more books!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Conda,

I think e-readers are definitely great gifts. They make reading so enjoyable and the convenience and low cost of the books is a big positive. We most certainly agree!

Unknown said...

Jacquie, perfect post for this time of year! Books are my favorite gifts to give and receive and I can always find something for even the hardest person to buy for.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

We completely agree. There are books for every taste. Buying clothes or jewelry for another often leads to problems because each person has individual specific preferences.
We writers can create individualized stories for our children and grandchildren or other close family members or friends.

Maryannwrites said...

I give book a lot as gifts. My whole family is immersed in reading and everyone, grandkids, too, love to get books as presents.

D'Ann said...

Books are a perfect gift!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Maryann,

You've written some wonderful novels and short stories. I'm certain your family loves to receive your writing as gifts. Like you I often buy beautiful and interesting books for my grandchildren. They also love books and are readers even though they're still young.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, D'Ann,

Glad you dropped by as well. I'm certain your novels would make perfect Christmas gifts.

mary F. Schoenecker said...

Happy for you, Jacquie that you received so many comments. I also agree that gifts from the home are the very best kind.I am going to buy your book Stacy's Song for my grand daughter's visit to us in March.

Anita Page said...

Jacquie, thank you for those Emerson quotes. I wasn't familiar with them.

I,too,love giving and getting books. I enjoy my e-reader, but there's nothing like browsing in a bookstore, if you're lucky enough to have access to one. Spent last Saturday in a B&N and bought a few gift books, including one for myself. That's allowed, right?

Carole Price said...

Terrific article, Jacquie, but then they always are. I love giving and receiving books, but am partial to the feel of a real book in my hands and how they look on my bookshelves.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Mary,

Thanks for commenting. I hope your granddaughter will like Stacy's Song. It's one of my best and I do enjoy writing for YA as much as adults.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Anita,

I think we should always buy ourselves gifts for the holidays. Who knows what we want and need. As for bookstores, they've closed several in our area unfortunately. They're missed by me. But there's a large B&N in a mall on the highway and I browse it often myself. Like you, I love books. I borrow from the library as well but ours never seems to have the really popular books--long waiting list!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Carole,

For me, having a print collection is important. I still buy new books. But when we downsized from a house to an apartment, my space became limited. I argued with my husband, but in the end we donated about a thousand excellent condition books to the library before we moved. This of course is another benefit of e-books, they don't take up space.

T.W. Fendley said...

Happy holidays, Jacquie-- We gave our grandkids kindles this year (the cheap version) and they've been exploring Amazon Prime and emedia at the library. Very encouraging to see how excited they were about it, even the ones who aren't huge readers.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Teresa,

Glad you had time to drop by. There's nothing more rewarding than giving gifts to our precious grandkids! Turning them into readers at an early age is so beneficial to their education as well.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving comments. Hoping that everyone has a happy, healthy holidays season, as well as a peaceful one.

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