Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reflections on Holiday Shopping Plus Giveaway by Jacqueline Seewald

The where and how of holiday shopping plagues many 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 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 a bestseller or something from an unknown author. There are a multitude of useful nonfiction titles: perhaps a cookbook, a book on home repairs, or history. Fiction provides many choices such as romance, mystery, or thriller.
Naturally I’m going to recommend several of my own books that are current:
DARK MOON RISING, adult paranormal romance from Luminosity, is available in All e-book formats and print. Check out Five Star reviews on Amazon:
Also available from:


B&N Online:


THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER, published by Clean Reads Press in both print and all ebook formats, is not just for teens.
STACY’S SONG, also published by Clean Reads, is another upbeat YA novel. It’s perfect for the holidays. It even ends at Christmas. Check out the excellent editorial reviews at:

 In the holiday spirit, I’m giving away pdf copies of this novel to several readers. Leave an e-mail address with your comment to be in the random drawing.
 There is a book for every taste available for ordering online. What are your feelings regarding holiday shopping? Do you shop online or prefer to shop in person?  Do you give books as gifts? Do you consider books good gifts? Thoughts and comments most welcome!


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

I am NOT a shopper ... Christmas is no exception especially when I'm having difficulty getting into the Christmas cheer....

Great post though!


Rose Anderson said...

Cute post! My sister-in-law and I always went out for Black Friday when there were very few people doing it. It was a yearly ritual for us, and believe me, the whole thing changed a lot over the last 20 years. I once witnessed two women in a fist fight over a TV! We went at midnight last year and stayed with our family all through Thanksgiving. That's when stores decided they could co opt the holiday. This year we didn't even go. We may never do it again. Leaving your loved ones immediately after eating your Thanksgiving dinner to go shopping for those same loved ones misses the point entirely.

You're so right. Books make excellent gifts! I know I love them.

I'd love to read Stacy's song. Thanks! (you know where I am) :)

Allan J. Emerson said...

Jacqueline, your post made the ghosts of mall shopping experiences past arise vividly before me. You made me laugh, and feel grateful that I've completed my Christmas shopping and will be giving the stores a wide berth until after the New Year.

Nancy Means Wright said...

Great reading, Jacquie, and all so true...even in small, bucolic Vermont there's always a parking problem. I try to shop online--or in my local bookstore. And give out lots of checks to the 7 grandkids--at least mom or dad can cash them. We don't have a large mall in Middlebury, so no shopping experience there! Even so, I can't wait till Cmas is over for the year! It has gotten entirely too commercial and repetitious. I infinitely prefer Valentine's Day when we give one another chocolate!

D'Ann said...

Funny post! LOL Love your cover! Merry Christmas!

Susan Coryell said...

Ha! I'm with you, Jacquie. Give books! Also, there are lots of charities to give through. I especially like the Heifer Project and even young kids enjoy being a part of such gift-giving. Have a lovely holiday and stay away from malls!

Susan Oleksiw said...

Your post reminds me of all the previous experiences trying to shop at the mall. I gave it up years ago, and now I only shop at local stores, especially book stores. The holiday madness is, well, madness. Good post, Jacquie.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I want to thank Pam, Rose, Allan, Nancy, D'Ann, Susan Coryell and Susan Okeksiw for their lovely comments. From Blogger Statistics I know that a great many have read my column and I'm pleased by that as well. Since Rose Anderson was the only commentator to request a copy of STACY'S SONG, she has received it. I will check periodically until this Friday to see if there are any more requests for a free pdf copy of the novel. Happy holidays to every reader and writer!

Bonnie Tharp said...

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing it with us as I think we all can relate. Happy Holidays to all!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks, Bonnie! Happy holidays!