Posted in Family, Reading, Writing

The Christmas Past and the Christmas Present

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...
What’s inside – is it a Toblerone? (Photo:

I must admit I am a lazy wrapper.

Not for me the creative approach of an old flame who tried one year to make Christmas extra interesting by disguising all his gifts as something else. A bit of a challenge when his present to me was an LP. (Yes, I am that old.)

His plan backfired. Presented with a box several inches deep, I was expecting much more than a record. Disappointed to find the only thing in the package apart from Wings’ “Band on the Run” was air, I kept the LP but ditched the relationship.

As for me, I keep gift-wrapping simple. The last few Christmases, I’ve mostly given books as presents – so easy to wrap!

The Best Way to Shop for Books

And if you buy print books, don’t just order them online – support your local independent bookshop, where you’ll be ably assisted by knowledgeable, well-informed shop assistants with brains, rather than dodgy Amazon algorithms. When searching on Amazon for travel books about Japan, its customer service robot once advised me “If you like this book, you might also like “Diary of a Wombat” and “Australian hat with corks”. Bizarre or what?!

But lately I’ve realised I’ve been missing a trick: give an e-book as a gift, and you don’t have to wrap it at all.

If the recipients don’t have e-readers. Provided they have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC, they should be able to download an e-reader app. Better make sure they’re happy with that idea first, though, before making your purchase – either that or buy them an e-reader first!

Then by saving all that money and effort on wrapping paper, you’ll be able to afford an extra book for yourself, and have time to read it too – result! Merry Christmas!

PS I’ve just set up a group on Facebook where, not only at Christmas but all year round, I’ll be posting up news of free and cut-price e-books by my author friends. If you’re on Facebook and would like to join it, send me a request or a message via my website contact form.

(A slightly different version of this article originally appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News, December 2013.)

Baby Laura in Santa hat
Laura’s first Christmas

If you enjoyed this article you might like some of my other festive posts: 


Author of warm, witty and gently funny fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, beginning with "Best Murder in Show", inspired by her life in an English Cotswold community, short stories and essays about country life. As Commissioning Editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors' Advice Centre, she writes guidebooks authors. She speaks at many literature festivals and writing events, and is part of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club broadcast. She is founder and director of the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which takes place in April, a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and an ambassador for children's reading charity Read for Good and the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

2 thoughts on “The Christmas Past and the Christmas Present

Join the conversation - leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s