All I Want for Christmas. . .

Peace on earth.  Okay, that’s a given.  The end to world hunger.  A deeper understanding and tolerance of other cultural and religious traditions.  I won’t go on because the goodwill messages are everywhere. We all have our personal wish lists.  I love the way people reach out to each other this time of year.  It’s not a bad start simply to wish that we would treat each other this kindly, this fairly all year.


Thumbnail image for Zsuzanna Kilan from Stock.xchng.jpgToday, though, I was thinking about real material presents–and no, I’m not necessarily talking about quilts.  I’m thinking about the ways we might support the small businesses and craftspeople we admire so much

For instance, with the economy worsening, who will go under first, the little mystery bookstore with staff who can answer any question we ask about classic mysteries and recommend novels they’ve read and loved?  Or

Is this a diatribe against Amazon?  Of course not.  I shop on the Internet with great joy, and have links to major booksellers including Amazon on my book pages.  But for holiday gifts, my first stop isn’t the huge websites.  I start with the smaller stores who also have online shopping.  The independent bookstores.  The cute little quilt shops. 

Mystery Lovers Bookstore in Oakmont Pennsylvania, had the perfect gift for my mystery editor.  I ordered it and they sent it out that day.  Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, had the perfect gift for my assistant Marna.  And despite poor New England’s recent “power” struggles, that gift went out right away, as well.  I try to send items made in Virginia and marketed by Virginia companies, and this year Virginia Born and Bred got my business.  And what fun to be creative.  I still love the little Canadian bakery who made a gingerbread house with the “address” from one of my novels to send my publisher.  And the family who constructed a birdhouse for me to give my husband, using a photo of my Ohio home.

Times are hard, and they may get harder.  What gift will comfort most without bankrupting us?  Whom can we buy it from so that we’re supporting people, just like us, who only want to stay in business?

You won’t be surprised to learn I’m a huge fan of giving books for Christmas.  Not just mine, but those of my fellow authors.  This is a great time to sink into fantasy or savor real tales of courage and transformation.  Lots of authors will send you autographed bookplates if you haven’t been lucky enough to get a book signed in person. Give them a try. 

I’m buying less this year, but I’m buying carefully from the people I want most to support.   I’m thankful for Macy’s and chain booksellers, who also get my business, but this time of year especially, I’m rooting for the little guy.  I bet you are, as well.


  1. Debbie Haupt on December 23, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I also try to shop the little independent guy and in this economy it’s tough to not just go to one of the big guys and plop down some money for a gift card. Not too far from me in historic St. Charles Missouri is a little main street with many independent shoppes. My favorites are the Clover and Thistle (a Scottish and Irish shop) and Main Street Books, they offer many author events and are a big part of the Historic Downtown of St. Charles, MO.
    I also recently became a board member of the St. Charles City County Library district so forgive me, but I can never say enough about books and reading.
    Happy Holidays to everyone

  2. Emilie Richards on December 23, 2008 at 9:58 am

    How lucky you are to live so close to what sounds like a wonderful main street. Shopping there must be a treat. And who can say enough good things about libraries?

  3. Mary Buie on December 24, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Hard times? Maybe. Probably. Yes. But, I have only to look at my parents to see that hard times can be overcome & (gasp) even learned from. 1930, it isn’t, but we will also learn to “Make it do, wear it out, use it up, do without”. And probably be better for it!
    Thank goodness we have better access to books than my parents did in the 1930’s!!!
    And there’s always quilting. “Endless Chain” anyone???

  4. Emilie Richards on December 24, 2008 at 9:33 am

    There’s going to be a real learning curve, you’re right. And yes, thank goodness for books and quilts. And I am waiting patiently (?) to see your Endless Chain. Planning to start my own after the New Year. Made a little one, but now for a BIG one. Those inset seams will be the challenge. Have a good holiday, Mary.

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