Give Lit for the Holidays!

November 21, 2010

Yesterday, while in the mall, I overheard a sales clerk say, “See you back here next week on Black Friday!” And, I thought, it’s Thanksgiving next week!

That means the holiday shopping season is on us. I know, some of you have already bought all of your presents but not me. Why? Well, I don’t have that many to buy and I’ve become fascinated with watching people shop on days like Black Friday. I’m a regular mall walker, so the new influx of shoppers messes up my flow a bit but it is fun to pick out the: Husband who has no idea what to buy, the power Grandma shopper, the kid who got their gift cards early . . .

But, I digress. What I am hear to talk about is what a terrific gift literature can make for the holidays. I’m gearing up for a post on my own blog with specific suggestions, but here is the blog I made last year. The list goes through some poetry, fiction, non-fiction and even books on writing, but you know what is missing from that list? A separate section for literary magazines. I do mention a few magazines but I want to really promote the idea of purchasing magazine subscriptions for Christmas gifts.

When you purchase just a book or gift card, that is a one-time gift. When you purchase a subscription, you’re giving something that will come quarterly, twice a year etc. And, unlike the pie-of-the-month-club, a literary magazine won’t make you fat…well…maybe unless there is a particular sad poem that makes you really, really, really need a piece of chocolate.

The only issue with giving a subscription is that you need to know what the person might like. I say: ask them. As I noted in the blog post I mentioned above, readers love to talk about what they are reading. You could also check out their shelves or have one of their children or significant others do that for you. What do they already subscribe to? What is comparable? Could you extend a subscription? Is there something you have read that blew you away and you know you just had to gift that same magazine to your friend? (Like 32 poems!)

You may wonder if you’ll have your lit mag in time to wrap it for the holiday. When you order the subscription, send a message to the publisher and ask for a back issue (or current issue) to be sent to you so you can wrap that issue and note that the subscription is coming. You could also visit a copy shop and have an inexpensive color picture of the magazines website or cover printed so you can enclose that in an envelope with a card for your gift recipient or along with a nice piece of chocolate (again, I know, the chocolate). Other ideas fair readers?

I’ve been the recipient of two different literary magazine subscriptions and for a poet/adjunct English teacher, having someone else spend the money on a magazine really is a gift. Maybe even a nice enough surprise that you, the gift giver, will find yourself under the mistletoe . . .

(stop by Jessie’s blog on 11-22-10 for this year’s holiday shopping guide. We love people who leave other suggestions in comments)

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