‘Tis the Season to be Frazzled

Kathleen Delaney with BooksKathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about the joys of giving books for Christmas.

Murder by Syllabub, fifth in the Ellen McKenzie series, is available in bookstores now. Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue will be out in July 2017.


It doesn’t seem so long ago that the Christmas buying season didn’t begin until after Thanksgiving was over, and that the gift buying wasn’t so frantic. The emphasis wasn’t as much on buying so many expensive gifts as it was on putting up the tree and baking cookies to share with the neighbors. Schools still had Christmas pageants and, even if you weren’t religious, the spirit of the season, love, friendship and good will to all, was the most important message.

Back then, in the good old days, my children got one “big” gift and that one was from Santa. The bikes, the wagons, skates, all appeared under the tree sometime after everyone was in bed on  Christmas eve, while the ‘smaller’ gifts had been poked and pried at for days. Those were often nightclothes, sweaters, small toys and books. Lots of books. Shopping was fun. I got to browse bookstores, looking for ones appropriate for each age group, toy stores looking for just the right truck or doll, making sure we didn’t go over budget. (With 5 kids that was easy to do). Then the kids got bigger, and no longer delighted in PJ’s with Superman on them.

They started families of their own so they got coffee pots, pots and pans, dishes, tablecloths and tools. But they still got the books. The grandchildren got the toys, the PJ’s and slippers, and the books.

Curtains for Miss Plym 2Today, my grandchildren are all too old for toys, at least the Fisher-Price ones, and no one wants Superman pj’s but they all still want the books, so that’s what they get. I think it’s a win-win. I have a great time picking them out, trying to find the right book for whatever someone is into. One of my granddaughters is studying design and was in Italy this summer taking classes in design and art history. Think of the range of books I can get for her, both fiction and non-fiction.

There are 8 grandkids and their ages vary, but finding the right book, or books, is fun. Challenging, but fun. I can do a lot of it on line but what I like best is visiting my local bookstores, telling the staff what I want, and browsing through the stock. Amazing what you can come up with. Often it’s sports for the boys, mysteries or adventure stories for the girls, but not always. Found a book with pictures of the very old Chicago fire for one of my grandsons, who is majoring in Fire Science in college. He loved it. Found another book written by a wild life veterinarian for another grandson who has expressed interest in that kind of work. Finding those books has been not only fun but an adventure.

So, tired of doing battle for a great bargain on Black Friday? Standing in line at Wal Mart? Trying to find a parking place at the Mall? Is your hair turning gray before its time and your stomach tying itself in knots? Relax. Look instead for the perfect book for lots of people on your list. They come in every size and price range, every subject and every age range. Have it signed by the author or put in a special note yourself. And don’t forget, if you do it early enough, you can read it before giving it away. It’s a gift that truly does go on giving.

Kathleen and her grandkids, great nieces and great nephew on her 80th Birthday, Summer 2016

Kathleen and her grandkids, great nieces and great nephew on her 80th Birthday, Summer 2016