As a mystery writer, I often find myself asking (and answering) tough questions. Why did the sidekick character have to die? What happened to the rabid dog in the first chapter? How did the villain take over the small town? (What kind of story is this?!) The answers aren’t always obvious but figuring it out is the part of the joy of creating. When it comes to the holidays, however, I’m not so fortunate. Year after year I struggle to find the answer to a single question – What do you want this holiday?
I know I’m not the only one.
Since the holidays officially (and by that I mean Black Friday) began, my inbox has been inundated with emails that claim to have the “xx Best Gifts for Enter Strange Occupation Here“. Even the good folks at Writer’s Digest sent out a gift list, which declared writers a “challenging crowd to shop for”. While I don’t (necessarily) disagree with their statement, I do take issue.
A new approach to making sense of gifting.
Maybe we are a “challenging group”, but isn’t it possible the approach to gift-giving is flawed? After all, how many word-a-day calendars do writers need on their (already) cluttered desks? When you break down the problem of gifting, it really comes down to timing. That’s why I devised a new plan to take the pain out of gifting for all involved.
Here’s my simple method to get what I need this holiday:
- In September, I stop purchases of unnecessary items for myself.
- From September to December, I keep track of items in the back of my notebook. I divide the items onto lists – wanted, needed, and expensive.
- In December, the lists get organized based on price point. So, when someone asks the question, I simply look into the list and provide some examples.
- When the holidays are over, I review my list. For items still on the list, I use any gift cards I received to purchase.
This simple process has made it easy for others to shop for me, and possible to receive something I really needed or wanted.
While it may be too late to implement this system this holiday season, it’s something to keep in mind next year. It also works well for birthdays, special occasions…you see where I’m going with it.
Happy (Holiday) Writing!