White Elephants, Zombies and Book Marketing


At this time of year, I invariably feel overwhelmed.  I have all kinds of things that come due at the end of the end of the year, including having to do Self-Assessment Exercises required for maintaining my Nurse Practitioner certification.  These usually are divided up into different specialties, all Pediatric-based, and entails reading article after article about the certain specialty, and then finding that one tiny line in the article, which is the answer to the question.  And though I would like to say I don’t really learn anything from doing all of this, I actually do. And, I have to complete two of these to fulfill my Continuing Education requirements, not only for the Certification, but also for the Board of Nursing in California. Needless to say, all of this takes up quite a bit of time.

Then there is Christmas, which isn’t as exciting as it used to be when the kids were little.  I loved secretly buying presents, lying about where I had been all day (out at the mall, finding the perfect gifts for the boys).  I would make up stories about standing in line, waiting to talk to Santa, finding Santa in a bad mood because his elves were misbehaving and threatening to strike.  I lied so much back then, in an effort to keep the gifts a secret and maintain the magic of the season.  My kids were too smart for me though.  They caught me in my lies.  I said I had a direct line to Santa, I could call him up anytime and tell him how the boys were being bad, and to take our address off his list, because the boys weren’t worthy (momentarily, when they were annoying the snot out of me).  So, when I told them the lie about the elves striking and Santa being in a bad mood, and me having to stand in line ALL day, they wanted to know why I just didn’t call the direct line and speak to him that way.  I lied again, and said his Voicemail box was full and he wasn’t taking calls, because he was dealing with rampaging elves, and the nightmare logistics of just being Santa.

I don’t have to lie anymore.  But there isn’t that magic either.  I have no desire to go out and buy presents.  My oldest went out and brought a Christmas tree home, and then decorated it.  It looks great. We have nothing under it yet.

I went to our clinic Christmas party last night.  We had to bring a White Elephant gift.  The gift is put into a pile of all the other gifts, then people pick numbers and pick a gift, or if they like a gift someone before them picked, they can steal that gift from them.  I decided to put a “Fix-it Kit” together.  I went to Ace Hardware (the place with the helpful hardware man – who was really the helpful hardware lady). 


They were having a sale on the basic tools, like screwdrivers, tape measures – stuff like that.  I put together a tool box of useful items one would need to hang pictures with, hammer something, glue things together.  But then I got carried away and decided to make it a Survival Kit for a Zombie Apocalypse, and put twine in the box, along with a huge Sharpie, to write messages to loved ones on walls, face masks to protect against contagions, a can opener, a lighter, snackies, water, a flashlight, batteries and all the other things one would need immediately if an apocalyptic event occurred. In the end, it became a dual-purpose gift, a “Fix-it Kit” and a “Grab and Go Zombie Apocalypse Kit”.  It was the most fought over gift. 


People always love my gifts at these events, because they are a bit whacky and different.   I believe a good gift is like a good perfume, it should be multi-layered, last and not be offensive.

To add to all the other things that are going on in my life right now (none of it bad – thankfully), I published my second book.  I am receiving wonderful responses to this book from some of the 13, maybe it is 14 people who have purchased it.  But I have done not one bit of marketing, at all.  I suck at marketing or promoting my own books.  I did put a copy of my most recently published book “A-Z Survival Guide to Life” in my “Grab and Go Zombie Apocalypse Kit”, but the person who finally won the kit, already had a copy.  Oh well. So much for my one weak attempt to promote my book. AARGH!!!!!!!


“The A – Z Survival Guide to Life” is available on Amazon.

Oh – and I have a to write a response to a blogging award presented to me by Ahdad several weeks ago – which I still haven’t done, yet – but I am thinking about.

Photo credits:




7 replies »

  1. I love the idea of your white elephant gift. Like Secret Santa with style. Christmas can still be great fun even if it’s not the way things were when the boys were children. It just means ploughing through lots of ebay and Amazon pages for the weird and wonderful. You can still lie to them about Santa monitoring bad behaviour though, no point in letting them slack.
    I love the gift buying aspect even though I’m not big on the social side of things.
    Have a Wonderful Christmas,
    xxx Sending you Massive Hugs xxx

    • Hi David, I loved my gift, I wish I had one for myself. Oh well. I ended up with some fancy wine-bottle opener, which actually comes with instructions and a foil cutter. What the heck? I don’t even drink. I should have fought for the present with the socks and the hot chocolate, both of which would have come in very handy. I love buying presents too, but it takes me a while, because I put a lot of thought into them. I think the worst thing that ever happened to the world of gift-giving, is gift cards – such an easy and unimaginative way out. Hope all is well with you!!!!!!!!

  2. I really like the White elephant gift too. If it helps I’m not great at the marketing side either. And I’m clearly a rubbish liar. I talked to McMini about what he would like – were thinking of getting a storm trooper helmet so I’m chatting with him and say I think the old ones are really cool but am I right in thinking he likes the First Order versions? He looks at me and he says, oh brilliant! that means you’re getting me a first order one for Christmas. Have you got it yet? Can I see it?

    Conclusion. My eight year old son is already too smart for me!

    Sympathise with the assessment. I have my tax return to do!

    Have a good one!



    • My kids seems to be getting smarter and I feel like I am just standing still. My oldest told me I should develop an Instagram “presence”, and use a bot system like “Influx” to help find people with the same interests and get followers, get interest in my book, and I said “what?????” He set up my account, and said “do your first post”. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to do it, and then my youngest got irritated with me, and took the phone, two button pushes, and he had it done. And now I have no idea what to do with it. DUHHHH?!!!!!!

  3. Make that 15! I’ve been spacey as hell lately (that time of year) and forgot to buy it, but have now. Hopefully after Dec. 25 things will calm down enough so I’ll have time to read. Your White Elephant gift sounds awesome.

    • Thank-you so much for buying a copy of my book. It is actually doing quite well, relatively speaking. I was hoping I could keep the White Elephant gift for myself, but it was not to be.

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