Tis the season, am I right? Now that we’ve all feasted on ham, turkey, gravy, stuffing, and that delicious cranberry sauce it’s time to do what we all love to do after Thanksgiving. And no, I don’t mean sleeping. I mean, I love to do that too. But there’s something else that I love.
Christmas present shopping. There’s a plethora (I love this word) of different days dedicated to the purchase of gifts for your loved ones. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.
That whole weekend is a bit sadistic if you really think about it. First, Thanksgiving has people stuffing their faces on as much food as they can before going out and fist fighting for all those sweet deals.
Come on, you had to know that was coming. However, I don’t really spend that much money. For me, shopping isn’t really about spending money. Sure, we all spend money when we brave the cold and the other crazy people that want to save $5 on something they could get cheaper on Cyber Monday.
Allow me a moment to backpedal. When I say “other crazy people” I include myself. And when I define that phrase it means “people that willingly go out to businesses in the dead of night to battle other warrior-shoppers for the right to claim a discounted item as their prize.” It’s really not an insult when you call people “warrior-shoppers” right?
When I go out on Black Friday, it’s typically to do some people watching. So, that sounds a bit creepy, but as a writer watching people is all part of the job. When you’re writing a story with humans in it, you want to try and capture human nature. And nothing portrays human nature like crowds fighting for $10 copies of the newest Call of Duty game. Seriously, that happened. I was at the South Bend Wal-Mart standing in a circular crowd with the cardboard box of games in the center. As the sales started and the shrink-wrap pulled free from the box, the crowd surged forward as one. Of course, the people at the front that already nabbed their copy tried to move out of the way of the others, it created a wave of push and pull. For a moment, I felt like I was swimming with waves coming and going.
Over the years, more shopping days have been added. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday now distract those “warrior-shoppers” from Black Friday. Maybe we should just change Thanksgiving to something more shopping savvy?
If you’re not inclined to fight the shopping horde this weekend, I’d suggest a better shopping alternative: books. That’s right, I said it. Go buy your friends, families, and other miscellaneous loved ones some books for Christmas. Here’s some quick reasons:
• Books are fairly cheap.
• Newly released books are never hard to find.
• Books often don’t weigh much so carrying five to ten presents to a loved ones house is fairly easy.
• Books are easy to wrap.
• Books fuel the imaginations of everyone reading them.
• There’s a book for literally (a literature and literal pun) everyone.
• Books make excellent White Elephant gifts.
• If you buy a book from a local author you’ll be participating in Small Business Saturdays. Do it.
• When someone asks you what you bought, tell them you purchased magic. Because that’s what books are: magic.
• Books, unlike video games, never need updates.
Go to a brick-and-mortar store, shop online, or go to Goodwill/Salvation Army and pick up some books instead of that new video game or that 1,000,000,000,000 inch television for $169.99.
Your wallet will thank you. And so will I.