Ninie Hammon’s Blog for Readers

The Best Stocking Stuffer is Invisible

Posted: December 4, 2014, 7:55AM
Either my children are going to have to stop procreating or we're going to have to get a bigger mantle.  

I LOVE Christmas.

I hate shopping.

Can't get much more basic than that.

I've never liked shopping--ever. Left to my own devices, I suppose I'd still be wearing the bell-bottoms I bought back in...whenever they were in style the first  time...and driving the Buick I got for high school graduation. Actually, I wouldn’t have survived long enough for either of those eventualities since I hate grocery shopping, too, and I'd have starved to death a long time ago.

But Christmas shopping …see Ninie break into a cold sweat. I would rather face an ax murderer with shingles and a boil on his bum than set foot in any retail establishment on Black Friday.

Enter the internet.

Please…a moment of grateful silence.

There are folks a lot quicker on the uptake than I am, so it took me awhile to figure out what a gift I'd been given.

... You mean I can shop without ever leaving the house? I don’t have to claw my way through a teeming throng of other shoppers? ... I don’t have to put on my face, fix my hair or remember where I left my car keys? .... I don’t have to elbow a little boy and a nun out of my way to get to the half-price table? ... I can just sit here in front of my computer—just like I do for 10 to 12 hours a day anyway—and buy stuff?



I’m no purist, though. I don’t do all my shopping online as some do. There are, after all, a few shopping  adventures that just don't end well there. Buying ice cream, for example. Or dynamite. Or a goldfish. But at Christmas, don't look for this red-headed woman in the mall. Not happening. 

I tell you all this by way of sharing a little discovery I made a couple of years ago trying to come up with ideas for stocking stuffers—which by their very nature present unique size and content challenges. What I discovered was that the best stuffer I could stick into my family's Christmas stockings every year was a new book.  (Disclaimer: I am a novelist and my books are for sale. My viewpoint is--at best--skewed and my motives suspect here. Just so you know.)

Even so, please hang in there for a few minutes before you start eye-rolling and doing that mutter-under-your-breath “Duh, now there’s an original idea" thing.

Books can be expensive if you’re talking a James Patterson new release like Burn for a whopping $28 plus shipping.  And I don’t know how big your Christmas stocking is, but Lord of The Rings will not fit into any stocking hanging on my mantel.

I’m not talking about a print book as a stocking stuffer. I’m talking about an e-Book. They don’t cost much at all—particularly not this time of the year when authors are slashing prices in an effort to lure you away from Christmas shopping long enough to read their books.

Maybe you don’t do e-reading, thank you very much. Maybe you just love the smell of paper and the solid feel of a book. I understand that e-books are ... well, they're invisible. You can't hold one in your hand or stack them on shelves. (But you don't have to dust them, either!) I get that. It works. Just bear in mind that the Christmas presents you’re buying aren’t for you, anyway. And I GUARANTEE the other people you’re buying for—if they’re under the age of 110—DO read digital books. They read eBooks on their phone while they’re waiting for the novocaine to take effect in the dentist’s office. They take a thousand eBooks with them to the beach every summer stuffed neatly inside a Kindle. They work out listening to audio books.

I hear your gears turning. But … how can you stick a digital book into a stocking? Think: gift certificate. You can click the little gold "Give as a Gift" button like the one shown on the left and it will take you through the process. As you’ll see, you’ll be offered three options. You can have the gift certificate sent to Cousin Cornelius on the spot. (Not much of a Christmas surprise.) Or you can have the gift certificate sent to yourself and then you can forward it to your cuz on Christmas morning. (A little better.)

Or you can pick Plan C, my favorite Christmas option, which is to print out the gift certificate—love the pretty gold bow—and stick that into Corny's stocking.

I’m getting everyone I know ebooks for Christmas. No big surprise anymore; they’d be massively disappointed if I didn’t. I watch the sales on Amazon and when I see a book I like, I zap it up. There’s no price tag on it, of course. You can get a 99¢ eBook on sale during cyber week and by the time Aunt Thelma's favorite son goes on Amazon to claim it Christmas Day, the book’s back to its regular $9.99 price. If you have a reader in your family, I don’t have to tell you how many hours of enjoyment you’ll be granting them for just a couple of dollars.

I'd say eBooks beat teeming throngs, full-scale car-key search-and-rescue operations and assaulting small children and the clergy.  Every time.

But maybe that's just me.


Write on!



Mari Chapman December 15, 2014, 7:20PM

My stuffer this year will be RJ Hogarth's From Dust to DNA. I think it's an incredible thriller that tackles the "God" question from the fictional standpoint! Great read. The book site is, worth a look!   Reply

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"Oh, and about the 9 and the e beside my name. Say it fast, emphasis on the 9. That’s how you pronounce my first name -9e. (Think “rhymes with tiny and shiny, NOT with skinny and penny.”)

Suspense Author

I have soooo many stories I want to tell you, so many worlds I want you to see, so many people I want you to meet. People in trouble, most of them. Big trouble they didn't ask for but there it is. Ordinary folks like you and me who are forced by circumstances to fight for their lives. And then, smack in the middle of their everyday worlds they encounter the unexplainable. It's always the game-changer.

Welcome to my world. If you'd like to know more about me, I'm easy. Click on Meet Ninie and you'll see. My life isn't really an open book; it's more of a pamphlet, and you are cordially invited to read it. I'd love to interact with you on Twitter, Facebook Fan page, and Goodreads. Or come visit with me at 9e's Kitchen Table, a Facebook group where readers and I hang out. I think you'd like it.