Get Them a Book for Christmas

I haven’t bought a whole lot of books as Christmas presents this year, which is surprising.  Nine years out of ten, I buy a whole lot of books for Christmas.

photo from

Photo from… Christmas shopping heaven, if you ask me.

Why so many books?  Well, I’m a professional book pusher, so that’s part of it.  But honestly, I think that books are the perfect gift for lots and lots of reasons.

1) A book can fit into almost anyone’s budget.  You can find a rare book if you’re feeling spendy.  But if you’re on a budget like most folks, you can get a great new book for $10-20.  Or a super inexpensive new book for $2.  Or even a used book for as little as $0.50.  I’ve received used books as gifts before, and I didn’t feel bad about it at all.

First edition Jane Austen books for probably a truckload of money…

or Barnes and Noble’s “Fiction Under $5.

2) You can find a book to fit any person’s personality.  That makes it a thoughtful gift.  It can also be a general gift if you don’t know the person too well.  Get them a book that you suspect they might enjoy or just a great classic that they could return if they’re really not into reading a great classic (boo for that).

A book for your favorite people watcher…

humansor a book for your dog watcher (assuming he or she actually likes dogs).

puppies3) Your Christmas present could actually change someone’s life.  Reading fiction makes you a more empathetic person, thus say the scientists.  And I can pinpoint a few books that have certainly impacted who I have become as a person.  That’s some powerful Christmas present buying.

4) How often do you find a present that can be inspirational, educational, and a source of entertainment and joy all in one?

5) Books are easy to mail and probably won’t get damaged in transit, even in your suitcase.

Do you see what I mean?  Books are the perfect present.  If left to my own devices, I would probably buy everyone on my list a book every single year.  Fortunately for my friends and family (or unfortunately), I know that they have mixed likes, so I try to also mix up presents to match their preferences.  You can’t go wrong with a book though.

I wouldn’t recommend getting my dad a book about the Jonas brothers, but with a bit of thought, you can’t go wrong.

Art Sale: After

I won’t keep you in suspense (because I’m sure you’ve been biting your nails about this for days)…

My very first art sale was officially a success.  Woohoo!!!  I was so nervous the day before.  My table neighbor at the sale said that her first art sale was like putting her underwear out for everyone to judge, and I kind of agree.


In my online shop, people can look at my work and decide what they think in a far away land totally apart from me.  But at the art sale, I was sitting one small table width away from all of my judges.  Fortunately, they were polite if they didn’t love my stuff and kind if they did.  It was such a relief.

Amid the mass of polite folks, there was even a troop of very adorable Girl Scouts who asked me all about my work and took a huge chunk of my business cards.  It took a while to explain how I’m inspired to paint and help each girl get the color of business card that she most loved.  That was one of my favorite moments of the sale hands down.

So art sale complete, I immediately got on a plane (well, not immediately, but at 5 AM the next day) to Colorado to visit my parents and do a bit of work for them.  It’s a pretty great story, and I’ll be working through that project for weeks to come, so I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon.

In the aftermath of the sale, I’ll admit that my online shop stats are a bit disappointing.  Hundreds of people took a gander at my stuff in one day in person, and that energy rush was pretty great.  Now I just have to figure out how to get similar views in my little corner of the online world.  (But before I find success like that, I need to have the print shop replenish my stock a bit… one step at a time.)

P.S.  The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (art sale location extraordinaire) is staffed by wonderful people, and I highly recommend it as a spot to visit if you’re in the area and haven’t been there lately.

Catalogs. Stacks and stacks of Catalogs.

I’m not normally that upset about the quantity of catalogs I receive in the mail.  I understand that even though I never look inside half of the catalogs and rarely order from the other half, it’s presumably worth it for companies to send me reminders to buy their stuff.

What I don’t understand are the copious number of catalogs that have arrived at my house in the past month.  I’m talking multiple catalogs from the same companies in one week.

It’s the same principle of getting your stuff out there for people to remember when they’re shopping, and I’m sure that people are shopping way more than usual at this time of year.  But still.  If I wanted a Pottery Barn something or other for my family, wouldn’t I be able to remember that I have three of their most recent catalogs in my giant stack of catalogs?  Why would I need four more in the first week of December?  If I get really desperate to order something, I could even go online.  If I’m desperate and without internet connection at home, there’s always my friendly, neighborhood library with free internet access.

I guess it works for those companies though.  They wouldn’t keep sending out catalogs if it didn’t sell enough products to make money for them, right?

photo by the workroom (catalog from Anthropologie)

I feel the same way about telemarketers.  I wonder how it can possibly be worthwhile for them to call a trillion people a day and make most of those people really frustrated.  I like to assume that large, prosperous companies only do things that make monetary sense.  (We’ll pretend that telemarketing companies are as prosperous as Pottery Barn, which is probably rarely true.)  I realize that not all business ideas are good ideas, but those two have stuck around for a while.  Surely they’re profitable.

Anyway, if you ever want to do a project (BFF collage, perhaps?) that requires thousands of catalog pages, there are plenty of those in my recycling bin.  Plenty.