|Seriously, these things could light up a bedroom like St. Patrick's Cathedral.|
My favorite bit, though, was none of these things. It wasn't the opening of presents either: After all, by noon, that joy was spent to be replaced by having to clean up the piles of wrapping paper and then go to some relative's house for dinner. No, my favorite part of the Christmas season was when the J.C. Penney Big Book Catalog and the Sears and Roebuck Wish Book came in the mail.
These things were the size of all seven Harry Potter books stacked end-to-end and a good half of the pages were devoted to just toys. Here, take a look:
I spent a portion of every day after Thanksgiving with a big red pen circling all the toys I wanted for Christmas and then trying to find the best place in the house to nonchalantly leave the catalog for my parents to happen upon and find inspiration for my gifts.
Now that I am grown, of course, much of Christmas has lost its glamour. I know the truth of Santa, I don't need fake candles to read at night, and anything I want now, I pretty much have to buy myself, and I can as long as the money is there. It is incredibly hard to surprise myself with a gift.
Also, I don't know whether or not Wish Books are even mailed out any more. I do know, though, that the Internet has its own equivalent in the thousands upon thousands of "The Best Gifts for Your _____" lists that appear all over Facebook this time of year. These are generally tailored for a specific audience so I tend to get lists like "The Best Gifts for Men" & "What She Wants for Christmas" (because apparently strict gender roles are alive and well in my virtual social circle).
I also get lists for gifts for writers, which almost always consist of things no writer really wants. They are generally overpriced cheap little barely writing-related gadgets, like the literary equivalent of a Sharper Image Catalog. Seriously look at this one. It includes such things as Aqua Notes, for when you just have to finish your magnum opus in the shower; a space-age pen, for when you are writing in zero gravity; and an various pins and buttons with "writerly" quotes, because nothing gets your creative juices flowing like reading TGIF flair. For Scribe's sake, the list even includes a participation trophy, because if a a writer needs anything its a cheap-ass piece of plastic to reinforce his/her already crippling self-doubt and to make matters worse, it's no longer even available for purchase anyway!
|At least it has just enough room to house the rest of my dignity.|
|Oh wait... yeah... never mind|
A Publishing Contract
While the goal of writing is not really to get rich quickly or easily (only folks who've never written believe there is anything quick or easy about it), most writers are at least interested in eventually publishing their work when they are done. At least this is true of any writer on this blog, which was created at least in part to provide publicity for our work.
Unfortunately, it's the publishing bit that causes most of us the most trouble. Writing is mostly an introspective art, meaning many (but by no means all) of us are fairly introverted. Putting our manuscripts out there for scrutiny by a publishing house can be a stressful process. Once we receive our first rejections, the whole process becomes even more anxiety-ridden.
You really want to make that writer in your life happy? Buy a major publishing house; then purchase their manuscript. I guarantee you, if you approach them on Christmas morning with a contract from Random House and a huge signing bonus, you need never buy them another tacky tie or ugly sweater again.
Most writers also crave recognition of their talents (again, the ones who make their work public, that is. The hermits aren't reading this anyway, so won't likely contradict me). Consider nominating your favorite writer's work for a regionally sponsored award, an award open to self-published books, or even an IPPY.
Or you can go all out...
If the purchase price of a publishing house is a bit steep for this economic landscape, perhaps a bribe or two of the Pulitzer committee may be more affordable. Rather than throwing money away on the aforementioned nonexistent participation trophy, consider getting your loved one a real prize. Imagine your beloved writer's face when they unwrap that gold medallion and the check for $10,000!
If you really want to go all out, consider a Nobel!
Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like the inhibition-stilling ambrosia of one's favorite alcoholic beverage. Similarly, nothing accentuates the success of a publishing contract or the receiving of an award like the euphoria-inducing ambrosia of one's favorite alcoholic beverage. Conversely, nothing silences the nagging self-doubt, feelings of rejection, or smothering sense of failure like the pain-numbing ambrosia of one's favorite alcoholic beverage.
|Best. Tree. Ever.|
On a completely unrelated note, I really like it when I find a nice bottle of Merlot, Seagram's Gin, or Maker's Mark Whiskey waiting for me in my house at 265 East Johnson Street, Temple, GA, USA.