Words by Gary Pearson

“Christmas has become too commercial!” people yell as they climb over each other to get their kid that must-have, rare, and overpriced popular toy of the season. We complain about it, but reach into our wallets to get out the plastic (now even the bills are plastic), and go nuts with shopping.

People say that gift-giving comes from the Wise Men bringing treasures to baby Jesus. Really? When was the last time you got frankincense? Any big markdowns on myrrh?

There’s a lot of nostalgia for a simpler Christmas time that reflects the “true meaning” of Christmas: family gatherings and religious reflection.

I have no memory of that kind of Christmas. I do remember getting scrubbed clean, jammed into a suit and going to church, but my attendance had everything to do with not wanting to tick off Santa Claus so close to the deadline.

So I say embrace the annual buying orgy. I have a few tips to help with your shopping. And to make it easy, they’re all books:

  1. For the hockey fan on your list or Conservative Party supporter or just about anyone: Stephen Harper’s book about hockey, A Great Game. I don’t know if it’s any good. I haven’t read it. I find Harper to be as cold as an Edmonton outdoor rink in February. I just want him to be encouraged to give up the day job to write full time.
  2. For your boss: The Last Lion, the biography of Winston Churchill. Write “This reminds me of your leadership,” inside. You have to do this with a straight face and only giggle uncontrollably about it when you’re safely stuck in traffic on the way home.
  3. For your wife: Just Do It, the book where a married couple has sex for 101 days straight. See if she picks up on the hint. Note: it’s supposed to be 101 days in a row, not 101 days spread out over the length of your marriage.
  4. For your mother-in-law: any of Fodor’s travel books—Italy, China, Africa, whatever country she might like, and is far, far away. Remember, this is for your mother-in-law. Not mine. I like mine.
  5. For your 11-year-old kid: To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s idealistic, historical, important and inspiring. You want one of your kids to be a lawyer, right? You don’t have to tell them yet that it’s to keep you out of jail. Get the Kindle version for the kids who don’t know what a book is.
  6. For Mom: Justin Trudeau’s Common Ground. Moms love Justin Trudeau. Face it—he’s adorable. But just before giving it, go through it with a Sharpie and black out all the parts about marijuana.

Enjoy the shopping and give a good book this year. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far and haven’t plugged my own two novels. I must really have the spirit of the season.

Gary Pearson is a television writer/producer for the new show Sunnyside, coming to CityTV in 2015. His novels, including the romantic comedy Slapshot of Love, are available at amazon.ca.