Monday, December 3, 2012

Catching up. Or not, as the case may be.

I'm so behind with Christmas, I feel like going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head. Yes, I know it's only December 3rd but when most of your family lives across an ocean and there are air-mail deadlines looming, it's a problem. And don't even ask about Christmas cards.

I usually pride myself on doing a nice American-style card complete with family photo, although not in matching sweaters or anything like that. (Bear in mind that many people see us less than once a year so they like, nay demand, a photo.) This year it's going to have to be a lovingly put together JPEG collage which will be e-mailed to everyone. Let's face it, most people glance at their cards, perhaps display them over the festive season and then chuck them out anyway. Think of the trees....

And I've bought precisely two presents so far. Half of that problem is the teen thing - what to get them. I know they appreciate money and gift cards, so that they can choose their own clothes instead of having to pretend they love the shirt/top/jacket, but it gets very boring just handing over teeny little gift card presents.

So, what's been the cause of this woeful behindness? Well, on Friday I hit the "Send" button and e-mailed a 55,000 word first draft to my publisher. Despite the fact that it had been pretty much finished all week, I couldn't resist going over it again and again right up until the deadline. Chained to my desk I was, and boy did my back ache. Even though I have one of those proper ergonomic office chairs, I could barely walk by Thursday and actually lay on the sofa doing last minute edits. My lap top is now officially a stomach top.

Anyway, it's gone and I have to stop thinking about it and address this here Xmas problem. If I could come up with some gift ideas it would help.

Anyone bought any novel gifts? Perhaps I could steal your ideas.


  1. I feel your pain on everything but the teens and instead of a book I've got articles to do. I must remember that I can't write them all before the end of the year. And now Christmas comes and at the last minute, I squeezed in a trip to London with Yasha (though 8 hours without children on a plane might help my writing backlog.) Anyway, I was with a friend this weekend, older post college kids, and we discussed gift problems. She used to give hers time. That is, instead of just a shopping card, an afternoon and lunch shopping with mom either for shoes or a certain amount. So in January she'd have a shopping day with each of her girls, that they still picked their gifts but they got time together and sort of festive lunch. It made something normal a little special. Now it's tradition for them, something they look forward to each year. Works for movies or art exhibits, etc. as well.

  2. Problem is, I hate shopping with a passion. It has never been my idea of a good time.

  3. Not much help I know but mine is really appreciative of gas and food gift cards. And iTunes cards. Obviously, he's a boy.

    I did find a GIANT (and by GIANT I mean a total of 1 pounds) Reese's Peanut Butter cups to go in his stocking this year (at Target). So that's your one novel gift idea.

    He has also appreciated tickets to concerts, sports apparel of his favorite team(s) and books (he loves to read).

    OH and last year (for the first time ever) I took a boring gift and hid it giving him clues to find before getting to the gift (scavenger style) - he loved that (and he was 17!).

  4. OK, I'm taking you at your word, and since I have 2 teenage sons, I am going to pass on to you what has been a HUGE item on gift lists in our immediate and extended family (both males and females) since last Christmas. (and no, I'm not selling them.)
    It's called the 'Jawbone Jambox' and it's a small speaker that uses wireless (bluetooth) technology. You connect your device (laptop, ipod, iPhone,ipad, whatever) via bluetooth and voila - you're connected to a small but very good speaker. It also syncs with your phone and can be a great speakerphone - I love this aspect since it is hands-free and I can easily hear it. My boys love theirs, and yes, MrL has one, too, as does his 74-year-old father(who loves it.) I love it,too: I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts, and I just carry the (wireless, remember?) speaker around the apartment with me while I go about my business. It can also be taken outside or wherever your phone can go (picnics, camping.) It comes with a jack and charger plug that can be plugged in if your device doesn't have bluetooth and/or when it needs charging. Downside is that it is fairly pricey (around $150-$200 US$) but it is a good candidate for a 'big' present for a musical, technology-loving teen, or a good idea if several are chipping in to buy a nice present for one person. I'm including the link to their site, but you can buy them (more cheaply!) at a number of other places, including Best Buy. It comes in 2 sizes - the large one just came out - we have the small. College-sophomore Son #1 loves his - just right for listening to music in his room at school - and he'll undoubtedly bring it to Seoul with him over his Christmas break.
    Sorry to natter on like this, but this little piece of technology has solved a number of birthday and Christmas headaches for us in the past 2 years, and we love it.
    Hope this helps you - or maybe someone you know - and if it makes you feel any better, I'm woefully behind myself - have not mailed a single package yet...

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  6. Thanks for those great ideas guys. Will go and do my research right now. The Queenager also read this post and gave me a few suggestions for her!


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