‘Tis the Season to Shop

But I hate to shop. I truly do. I loathe even the idea of getting in my car, driving downtown, finding a parking space, and then wandering walkways and aisles, while my feet hurt and my patience ebbs, looking at stuff—just stuff—in hopes of finding something that isn’t really what I need at all.

Twenty years ago I would have said that shopping was a fabulous way to spend my free time, and I would not have been exaggerating. But over the intervening years the feeling that it was fun changed until it became something to be avoided as much as possible, farmers’ markets and occasionally bookstores excepted. Oh, and now my annual shopping spree for BiblioBuffet’s readers.

My preparation for my annual holiday shopping columns generally begins in October or early November when I create a database with columns for category (furniture, bookmarks, jewelry, etc.), company name, and link. I then google “gifts for book lovers” and “gifts for readers” among other terms. I also check shops at well-known museums and libraries. There are numerous small online shops, nonprofit organizations that help people from second- and third-world countries become financially independent by making handcrafted items, and Etsy, the online store for independent handcrafters. Then I hit as many virtual stores as I can searching out products for book lovers and readers.

When I find things I like I add them to my database. This usually results in several hundred items, which is far more than I can use. So the next step is narrowing them down. It’s not easy. How does one choose among dozens of bookmarks or hundreds (yes, hundreds) of journals?

Once I’ve narrowed down my selection—the final number of items depends on how many “holiday shopping” editor’s letters I intend to do. This year I had three (number two is up now), and those three have a combined total of 170 links.

Have you ever linked more than fifty times in a single piece? I can tell you it’s not fun. It especially not fun when you have a half-dozen (or more) in a single paragraph, and you find you that because you were tired or got distracted that you are missing one or did the same one for two different items thus throwing all the ones behind it, in that and subsequent paragraphs out of place—something you (I) may not discover until you (I) go to post the piece online. As I said, not fun.

Other than making all the links, though, I do enjoy this. Anything related to books and reading interests me even though I wouldn’t want to own most of it. (I am a minimalist, and prefer not to have my  home filled with “stuff”—other than books and bookmarks, that is.) This year, however, I found something I want very much: a shelf-sized reproduction of Edward Gorey’s stage production of Dracula.

Since I even have the shelf space for it, I think I might order it this week. It would make a lovely addition to one of the top shelves where the ever-curious cats can’t get to it. What about you? I’d be interested in hearing if any of you found some gifts through my lists, and if so what they were? Are there any changes you’d like to see me change for next year?


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