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Friday, December 20, 2013

Finding Perfect Holiday Presents by Jacqueline Seewald


The where and how of holiday shopping plagues most of us. Nothing can quite compare with the yearly ritual of holiday shopping, which theoretically begins on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. However, in actuality it begins much earlier, of late right after Halloween. In fact, the way things are going, pretty soon the stores will start putting up tinsel on the 4th of July.
The frenetic pace of shopping madness increases unabated throughout December. The shopping itself takes on such dimensions that with many people the material supercedes the spiritual aspect of the holidays.
But before the shopping can even begin, there is the business of finding parking at The Mall. Holiday shoppers know when they are nearing this location because traffic becomes as thick as an ant colony, and jockeying for position starts in earnest. Inevitably, a type "A" personality loses patience and aggressively pulls out on the shoulder of the road, speeds ahead, then forces his/her way into the regular stream of traffic. This individual manages to gain perhaps four or five car lengths to ultimately beat the traffic light, forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes and come to an abrupt halt. A cacophony of horns proceeds to announce the general agitation.
     Arriving at the mall, one is treated to a breathtaking sight—an unending sea of automobiles. There is quite literally not a parking spot to spare. And so begins the art of cruising for a space. This can be compared to the choreography of a ballet. Automobiles pirouette and arabesque around the lot.
     Inevitably, there is a car waiting in each aisle for someone to pull out. Often there are two vehicles set to swoop down like vultures. The poor driver who must pull out of the spot has a serious dilemma: which way to go? One or the other of the waiting drivers must be disappointed, only to drive off angrily, perhaps offering the middle finger salute. Definitely not showing proper holiday spirit! (More like the gunfight at Okay Corral)
     Drivers keep cruising, ready to dive like kamikaze pilots when they find a likely target--barely avoiding fender benders--a holiday miracle in itself. No matter how many spaces exist, there are never enough.
     Another technique involves following those who are leaving. Sometimes these shoppers are merely putting away their packages and return to the Mall for further exploration. Then there is the individual, fully aware someone is waiting for his/her parking spot, who decides this is a good time to sit and light up a cigarette, fiddle with the car radio, or begin a philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with someone they've conjured on a cell phone.
     Most amazing of all are those who decide to grab the closest parking spot. I'm talking here about nabbing the spaces set aside for the handicapped. These artists fall into several categories. First are those who have no physical impediment whatsoever but park illegally because they don't want to continue cruising. We have no trouble spotting them as they run out when the police start ticketing. The second category: those who somehow obtained handicapped stickers yet can move like gazelles, either had some impediment but are over it and kept their stickers, or obtained them illegally in the first place. There seem to be a growing number of these talented artists who we may refer to as prima donnas.
     With so many people claiming the right to place handicapped stickers in their automobiles, I am waiting for the time when non-handicapped signs will be issued instead.
     After managing to obtain a parking spot and reaching the Promised Land of the Mall, we are greeted by a chorus of Hallelujah from the sound system. Unfortunately, by this time, we are almost too weary to shop.
     When Christmas and Chanukah come and all the gifts are finally handed out, matters are not in the least resolved, as a good portion of those gifts will end up being returned soon after. (The heaviest shopping day of the entire year is December 26th) So just when we think our holiday shopping is finally done, it's only just begun!
Then there's the matter of re-gifting. That's the most bizarre ritual of all. This refers to presents that don't come with any clue as to where they were purchased. Even Sherlock Holmes would scratch his head in perplexity.
 These are gifts that no one in their right mind would want to keep: purple plaid socks, perfume that would make a skunk turn up its tail in disgust. Well, you get the picture! So what does one do with such odious presents? Naturally, we save them and give them to those who have given us their re-gifts. You know you've gone full cycle when one of your re-gifts is gifted back to you.
So how do we avoid mall madness? More people than ever are turning to online shopping. I would like to suggest that e-books are excellent gifts to give. You don’t have to run around. You can make your selections in comfort. And you don’t have to spend your life savings. There’s a perfect book for everyone, whether nonfiction: perhaps a cookbook, a book on home repairs, or fiction such as romance, mystery, or thriller. Naturally I’m going to recommend my newly published prize-winning historical romance novel THE CHEVALIER available in all e-book formats:

My e-book of romantic short stories BEYOND THE BO TREE:
and my co-authored family mystery novel THE THIRD EYE:
All are e-books, inexpensively priced and easy to order.
And for those who prefer paperback novels, I’d like to suggest my mysteries from Harlequin Worldwide reprinted this year:
There is a book for every taste available for ordering online. What are your feelings regarding holiday shopping? Do you give books as gifts? Do you consider books good gifts? Thoughts and comments most welcome! Let’s exchange opinions.



30 comments:

susan furlong bolliger said...

Great post! I still have shopping to do, so your humorous take on mall parking will help me get through the day. Very enjoyable, thanks!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for dropping by, Susan. I'm glad you enjoyed my take on holiday shopping.

Nancy Means Wright said...

A terrific blog, Jacquie! Great but frightening description of traffic aggression and manic shoppers. Here in Vermont I try to stay out of it and shop locally in our mid-sized small town of Middlebury. Happy holidays to you!

Betty Gordon said...

Your post brought a chuckle which I needed. Have a magical Christmas, Jacquie.

Betty Gordon

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nancy,

Here in NJ, we have a small state with a very large population. Things can get mighty stressful in the malls. On a less humorous note, we experienced one fellow who started shooting in a large local mall and then killed himself while another man was killed in the course of a car jacking at another upscale mall. Like I said, online shopping is a decent alternative.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Betty,

So glad you stopped by and I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

Bobbi A. Chukran, Author said...

Great post, Jacqueline! And I agree, more folks should shop online, like for e-books. ;-)

Gail Farrelly said...

Being the chicken I am, I stay away from malls around the holiday season. I like to shop online. It's relaxing, and I don't have to worry about getting a parking space.

Happy Holidays to Jacquie and to all the blog writers and readers.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Bobbi,

I think all of us who write think the same way. Books have become so easily available from online sellers.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Gail,

Another good reason to stay out of malls at this time of year is the number of sick people that show up to shop, spreading germs.

Jan Christensen said...

Liked this, Jacqueline, and loved the way you segued from the hassle of going to malls during the holiday season into buying books on-line, especially your own. Good job!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks, Jan, glad you could drop by.

Annie Seaton said...

Having just stumbled in the door from Christmas shopping and the horrors of parking, I loved your post! On line shopping for your book looks good!Congratulations!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks, Annie, for visiting, especially after Christmas shopping.

Susan Oleksiw said...

You reminded me of all the reasons for not going to the mall this year. Fun post.

Janis Patterson said...

I didn't think anything about Christmas shopping could make me laugh, but you did. Thank you!

Maryann Miller said...

These are always fun reads as we can all relate. LOL

authenticparenting said...

Online shopping!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

The malls will be gunning for me!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Janis,

Glad my post gave you a laugh! We all need them.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Maryann,

I think most of us have had to deal with the press of crowds when shopping at the big stories.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Anna,

Yes, online shopping is a big help at this time of year!

earlwstaggs said...

Jacqueline, you described most entertainingly why I avoid shopping by any means possible. Fortunately, I have a designated shopper (aka "wife") who has mastered all the obstacles you presented. I also strongly support your campaign in favor of online ebook shopping. Only thing I'd add is that the books be mine. Happy Holidays!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Earl,

I agree--readers should definitely buy your books online. They will be in for a fine experience.

Unknown said...

Ahh, memories of Christmas. Enjoyed your post--and lets buy books for Christmas!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kind of takes all the fun out of it when you try to shop in person, Jacqueline. Most of my gifts have to be sent out of town, so I tend to order those online now and ship direct. The easier, the better.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pat,

I agree. The online approach is definitely easier these days. And so many more people are getting wise to it!

BD Tharp said...

Happy Holidays, Jacquie. I enjoyed your Mall experience much more than the real thing. --Bonnie

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

Thanks for dropping by! Glad you enjoyed my blog. Happy Holidays!