First, a little digression…
I decided a long time ago that one of my purposes in life is not only to be the one who lowers the bar, but the one who talks about it, so that everyone feels better about their own accomplishments. In everyday conversation, I’ll take my own experiences and retell them in a funny way so we can all get a good laugh. (If you’re looking for Jane Austen stuff, bear with me, I’m getting to it.) Self-deprecating humor goes over well at parties, especially this time of year…
We’re six days away from Christmas. This is the first night of Hanukkah. Trust me, nobody at the holiday party wants to hear how you finished your shopping in August, had the presents wrapped in October, your cookies made last week and now you’re just sitting in your living room staring at your Christmas tree or Menorah, enjoying the peace of the season. This is just not funny, okay? It’s boring and may possibly peg you as obsessive compulsive. It will propell the other party revelers to the opposite side of the room to stare into the punch bowl. (The non-alcoholic one.)
Here’s funny: Tell people you just started your shopping. It’s even funnier in my case, because it’s true. I, in fact, told the people in line and the sales people behind the counters just that yesterday morning as I attempted to start (and finish) the holiday shopping in three hours. The looks on people’s faces! You just started? Finally, someone was entertaining them. How many people do you have to buy for? It made them feel better–about themselves. Isn’t that what this season is all about? Goodwill toward men and womenkind? Everyone thinks to themselves, well, I’m much better off than her, aren’t I? And they smile. And I smile. And we go on our merry way.
Now I can toss in another fact to my repertoire: I bought so many heavy, bulky items that I couldn’t carry all those Crate & Barrel shopping bags and the security gaurd offered to drive me to my car on the other end of the outdoor mall. You didn’t know you could use mall security as your own personal taxi service? See, you learned something new. So I made you smile and you picked up something that might come in handy someday for you.
I guess I had too many deadlines the last couple of weeks–or was it too many hot toddies? Looking back, it was a dangerous mix of both.
Anyway, I tried to do the shopping in three hours yesterday morning, and didn’t finish. I still have four shopping days left, I’m cool! Of course, I’m hosting dinner on Christmas, so I have to go to the grocery store. But that works out well, as I need to buy the ingredients for the Belgian Waffle Maker I bought for my kids. They want a Belgian Waffle Maker, really. Actually, my son wants an acoustic guitar and a Nikon camera, you know, the one Ashton Kutcher advertises on TV? Well, I priced that baby out (the camera, not Ashton) and it’s $1000. My daughter’s list includes some pajamas–for $50! So Beligian Waffle Maker it is.
How does one manage, under all this pressure, to maintain a sense of humor, perspective, and cool? Well, perspective can be gained from just reading the newspaper (or watching CNN for you modern types). Every Christmas season I have a different magic bullet to maintain humor and composure, but usually it’s music. (Hang in there, I will talk about Jane Austen soon, most likely at the very last minute.) Here is the ONE song that is really helping me to keep my cool this season, despite the last minute nature of it:
Listen to Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas here!
I’ve added this song to a holiday playlist that keeps me happy and smiling. If you need a boost these next few days, I can also recommend songs such as Adam Sandler’s The Hanukkah Song, The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping, The Kinks’ Father Christmas, Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby and any Michael Buble Christmas song!
Now that you’ve got your groove on, even though it’s the last minute…
Here is the Jane Austen bit of this blog I’ve been promising you!
The Top 3 COOLEST LAST MINUTE GIFTS
for the Jane Austen fan (YOU!) on your list:
Let’s face it. You’ve been good this year. Too good! Fanny Price good…Elinor Dashwood good! Take a page from Miss Caroling Bingley or Miss Lucy Steele’s book and think about yourself for once. You deserve a Jane Austen-inspired gift, you know you do. Pick one, or pick them all, you’ll be happy with your choice all year long:
1. A Subscription to Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine
Check it out and subscribe here!
This is the only magazine dedicated to Jane Austen! Plus, it’s full-color glossy (gorgeous photos!), fits in your bag, and is not available online. Like a little bit of Christmas every two months, it arrives in your mailbox in an envelope. I just gifted this to myself recently, and I’m very happy with it! It’s a great blend of history, current film reviews, Regency CD reviews, book reviews, and more. I just found out in the Sept/Oct issue that Jane Austen and Kate Middleton are related! And here’s the rub: their common, but royal (ha) ancestor is Henry Percy, none other than Shakespeare’s “Hotspur” in Henry IV Part I. Something I wouldn’t have known otherwise! Jane Austen’s Regency World will whisk you away to Jane Austen’s England every two months.
Since it’s a magazine subscription, it’s an instant gift! You can order it right now on paypal by clicking on the link above.Then just type up a “Gift Certificate” on your own computer–believe me, I’m the Lady Catherine of creating last minute gifts!
2. A Year with Jane Austen Calendar from JASNA-WI
Check it out and order here!
Another gift that keeps on giving. I just bought the 2012 calendar, and it’s so much more fun than looking at my work schedule and the kids’ school calendars! Check out the link above and you will see just how wonderful and detailed this calendar is. Just looking at the calendar tells you that today, December 20th, 1798, Jane Austen attended a ball. The calendar square includes this quote: “There were twenty Dances & I danced them all, & without fatigue… In cold weather & with few couples I fancy I could just as well dance for a week together as for half an hour.” The calendar includes not only snippets of Jane Austen’s life gleaned from her letters, but dates aligned with events in her novels. Just like we Austen Authors are doing P&P 200, this calendar will inform you that tomorrow, December 21st, Mr. Collins ends his second visit to Longbourn. My favorite entries happen to be November 15th: Darcy begins to feel his danger; and November 16th: Darcy adheres to his book.
Order your calendar via the link above, and it will arrive in January–perfect!
Order through amazon here and help out Austen Authors!
Of course you expected me to say books! Choose any of our Austen Authors books–there is still time to order through amazon above–or you can find most of our books in those old-fashioned things called…bookstores. Support your local indie if you can. You could buy, let’s say, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy–the cover is red, white, and green… You might also indulge in a book that Jane Austen wrote herself. Or perhaps the new edition of Deirdre Le Faye’s Jane Austen’s Letters is on your list? It’s on mine!
I’ll be buying it on Friday and frantically wrapping it and all the other gifts Christmas Eve, at eleven-thirty at night, listening to my ever-so-upbeat playlist…
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Which Jane Austen-inspired gift are you buying for yourself this season? Leave a comment and let me know!