The annual shopping guide

General

Time for this annual post. Sorry to those who are sick an tired of such things, but most of this are things that I feel need to be said for the “shopping season”… and those that aren’t are, well, self-serving attempts to continue to justify this blog.

Gift-giving season is upon is. Presents for Chanukka and Hannuka and Channukka and however else you may want to spell it will be given out starting this Sunday night. Christmas (or Hristmass or whatever) is a mere crowded month away. So with that, you get to share once again in my views on gift-giving.

  1. Presence is more important than presents. The best thing you can give people you care for is either your physical or emotional presence. Spend time with your people when you can, be in contact with them when you can’t. You being supportive will be more meaningful and better remembered than a nifty techtoy or a well-chosen tome.
  2. Charity is a perfectly fine present. Giving money to some cause the person you’re giving to cares about can lift their heart, and need not be exchanged. One thing I find handy to fall back on for distant friends: donating money to the food bank in their area. Even if your friend is “food secure”, helping see to it that the people around them don’t go hungry is an improvement to the neighborhood that they live in which will be appreciated.
  3. Supporting your local, locally-owned businesses by buying stuff there is a good thing that will improve your neighborhood.
  4. Buying things online is a great convenience, and quite a legitimate one when you are buying gifts that you would have to ship anyway. The trip to the post office is often slow and crowded… and this year more than most, it’s still worth avoiding crowds.
  5. One nifty gift trick is to preorder a book for someone. Think of it like this: you have a friend that you know loves the writings of Neil Gaiman. So you want to get them a Gaiman book, but they already have all the ones you can think of, or you don’t even know what they already have…. but you know that they don’t have the graphic novel adaptation of Gaiman’s Chivalry, because it’s not being published until April! So you make them up a little card for Christmas, saying that the book will be arriving on their doorstep in April, and the person thinks that’s a thoughtful gift… and then in April, when most of the gifts they were given have already been forgotten, the book arrives and they think of you well again! And you can do this shopping at the last minute, when it’s too late to get things shipped and all the stores are crowded, as long as you have time to make up a card to give them.
  6. If you’re going to be shopping on Amazon anyway – and let’s face it, many of you are – please stop by the AAUGH Blog first. If you click on any of our links to books on Amazon as your way to get to Amazon, then Amazon pays attention to that and gives the AAUGH Blog a little cut of what you buy…. even if you don’t buy the book I linked to! Say, for example, that you click on this link for the paperback I just published, Cherry Sundae. And when you get to Amazon, you think “no, I don’t really want to purchase this complete 75th anniversary collection of the interesting and obscure adventure comic strip, even if it is at an introductory low price of $5.99 through Cyber Monday,” so you go about your shopping and buy a waffle iron, some organic toothpaste,  and a Catwoman bobblehead. Amazon will throw the blog a little money for having steered you in their direction, and it comes out of their pocket, not yours; they don’t charge you any extra.
  7. If you find the holidays are causing you stress rather than happiness, pause and step back. All these people that you are trying to do things for because you care about them? They care about you, too, and would rather that you have a happy holiday than feel stressed on their behalf.

I am, at the moment, stuffed with smoked Thanksgiving turkey, and am feeling too tired to make up a list of recommended Peanuts presents. I may not get around to it; life is full. But i do wish on you happy holidays, whatever holidays you celebrate; and if you celebrate none, then I wish you happy days nonetheless. Be well, be kind, and don’t save any egg nog for me; it just ain’t my thing.

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