Best Buy wants us to “wrap up the wow.” Macy's wants us to “Get in that holiday spirit!” Target’s campaign is “Joy!” and eBay asks, “Who needs elves? Perfect gifts start right here!”

Every ad on every major retailer’s Web site is one giant exclamation point. And we wonder why we’re panicked? Jesus. Corporate commerce needs to calm down. Because of all the anxiety about gift-giving, the holidays aren’t as “1980s Maxwell House ad“ as we’d like. Remember that commercial? MT music editor Johnny Loftus does.

“It’s the one with the lantern-jawed college student who comes home for the holidays and makes the coffee. His mom and dad come down the steps and the mom’s all like, ‘Jeremy!’ or whatever his name is. I think he’s wearing a puffy ’80s-era vest.“

If you’re like us, you’re low on cash and have scattered flights of imagination. So the holiday season isn’t so heartwarming. Advertisers prey on that, precisely why the season’s commercial narratives are especially escapist.

Hence this “Gift Guide.” It’s our recommended selection of mostly new and beautiful, if not mind-blowing books, DVDs and music, including stocking-stuffers that run the gamut from a teeny tiny pocket-sized poetry book from local author James Hart III to a newly released Bee Gees’ box set. We’re offering 10 pages of suggestions — more than three dozen books alone — that’ll help you part with your coin as quickly as possible. Besides, contrary to what we’re told, every kiss does not begin with Kay.

Look, whatever you choose to give or not give your friends and lovers, being a cynic is easy. As Joan Crawford said during the Great Depression, “Let’s spend.” Commerce drives capitalism, and it’s as old as dirt, and there’s no sense in scoffing. So crack that wallet, spill that purse, peak that card and spend, spend, spend. But do it locally at indie book and music stores. That’s worth celebrating. —Rebecca Mazzei


Medium cool
by Metro Times staff

Pop culture explodes in multiple mediums.

Capital D
by Michael Jackman

Detroit-specific books that stir the soul, irk the spirit and pique curiosity.

Feed our heads
by M.L. Liebler

Creative writing within city limits.

A manic verse machine
by Peter Markus

Celebrating Ginsberg’s golden anniversary.

Five easy pieces
by Michael Hurtt

Jaw-dropping Michigan music re-emerges on faithful, fan-driven labels. Can you say ‘Dear Santa’?

Odds and sods
by Metro Times music staff

Aural holiday cheer that’ll go down swimmingly with eggnog.

TV tube heart
by Metro Times staff

Screen endless hours of your fave shows to cut the holiday glut.

Rebecca Mazzei is the arts editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]
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