Tag Archives: Christmas

Cranky Christmas

In the news last night, there was a social piece about Christmas cards. They were wondering if the electronic card–usually free–would eventually replace the paper card. The consensus, biased as it was, was no.

I don’t mind receiving an ecard. We send paper cards every year, but it’s a matter of choice. I’m as pleased to get an ecard as I am of receiving a paper one, although the ecard is more difficult to display on the mantle. What I really, really hate, is to receive a plain email with wishes. As I mentioned, many ecards sites offer free cards, so obviously it’s not the cost that came into play. I received three emails this year, and from family to boot. What, you were too lazy to pick a free card? You felt obligated to send me something because I sent you a card, but you don’t really care? Well, please, don’t bother.

It’s the same for off-the-cuff, ridiculously wrapped gift. For the past three years, a friend I’ve known for over twenty years has been giving me what I’d call afterthought gifts. Something she’s had in her house, wrapped loosely in torn tissue paper, and shoved in a wine bottle bag. Another, with the same kind of wrapping, gave me a Costco plastic salt shaker and a mushroom brush. For Christmas.  It was obvious she’d gone through her house to find something she could give me because we were coming to visit. If I went by the type of presents to determine how much these friends value me, I’d be depressed.

Instead, I blame it on how friendships and relationships have become superficial. With Twitter and Facebook, we live “social moments” with hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, often on the run or while doing something else. We talk at people and don’t get responses–and we don’t necessarily want them. There’s not as much time left to sit down and talk, families are often dispersed across one or more continents, and there’s a sense of alienation that lodges itself into the way we interact with people. Today, it’s all about numbers rather than quality. We value ourselves by the number of “friends” we have but could never have a conversation with half of them.

I’m not saying that Twitter and Facebook, or any other social network,  are bad. In fact, none of the people I talked about above use a social network. What I’ve been observing, rather, is the pervasiveness of isolation we seem to surround ourselves with, and this translates into a casual attitude to interacting, and to giving. It’s especially glaring in times like Christmas, because of the messages of love and giving we get battered with.

So, this Christmas, make an effort. If you decide to reach to someone, do it with heart and meaning and sincerity. Otherwise, don’t bother.

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‘Tis the season…

A word from my publisher:

TIS THE SEASON! And with books being one of the greatest gift ideas anywhere, anytime, there’s plenty of reason to be jolly.

Books, compared to other forms of entertainment, are relatively inexpensive. They last a long time, and you can enjoy them more than once. You can trade them for other books, or share them with friends. Most important, they take you to places you might never have been before, where you’ll meet fascinating people and enjoy fabulous adventures on this world and others far more economically than a Prius.

We’re delighted you’ve stopped by Novel Ideas from Zumaya. We’re celebrating, despite the state of the economy, and you’re invited to join us. For the next three weeks, beginning Friday, November 21, our best-selling books will be on sale for 30% off, and shipping is absolutely free in the US. Want to ship overseas? Drop us a line at our customer service address and we’ll see what we can arrange.

Don’t see anything appealing? Stop back next week and see what new titles are listed.

We Zumayans believe we have some of the finest reading material available anywhere. We hope you’ll agree–and come back again if you don’t see anything that appeals this visit.

My own Synergy is up there for now so go right now and buy it for someone you love, or for yourself. And if you don’t fancy an SF Thriller there are plenty of good books to be had at 30% off.

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