January 24, 2021

You Can Sleep In If You Want

black_friday_holidaze_20082We here at InternetMonk like to think we are an indispensable part of your life, and this morning, we are going to prove it by providing you with all the reason you need to skip the madness of early-morning shoppers and allow you to stay in your pajamas inside your warm house.

It is the first (and most likely, last) Jeff Dunn Christmas Shopping Guide.

That’s right. I’m going to share with you some great gift ideas that will make Christmas morning merry and bright for all. And the best thing of all is you can do it all from the comfort of your own Barcalounger.  Just click on the handy links to take you where you need to go. So put on the coffee, grab your credit card, and let’s go shopping. We’ll start by taking the elevator to the first floor:


There is one book that you will want to give this year. It’s the perfect gift because a) it is spiritually uplifting and encouraging, and b) it’s short. Flannery O’Connor’s A Prayer Journal records the great Southern author’s struggle with learning to pray. The entries were not written to be published, but were meant as prayers themselves. Personally, I think she could write out a grocery list and it would be better than 99% of the stuff that sits on bookstore shelves today. O’Connor died way too young and after only two complete novels and a few short stories. A Prayer Journal belongs next to all of her other works. (Don’t let on to the iMonk writers, but they might just be getting this in their stockings.)

Now let’s visit our next department:


Have you noticed how old people keep putting out albums that sell? Glen Campbell, Neil Young, Elton John and Paul McCartney all put out new albums this year, and all sold fairly well. Could that be because there is so little good new music these days? Yes, it could be that. There is, however, one album that came out this year that knocked my socks off. Meet Me at the Edge of the World by Over the Rhine is the best new album I’ve heard in a long, long time. If I were driving from Portland (ME) to Portland (OR), I could listen to this the whole way and be happy. This is Americana music at its finest. This is the kind of music that will make you thankful music exists. You will want to buy copies of this double-disc set for each of the music lovers on your list, but don’t forget to include a copy for yourself. You’ll be very happy you did. (Thank You emails gladly accepted.)


I was going to say do yourself a favor and skip all electronics this year, but I do want to share one idea. I have become increasingly dependent on my Google Nexus 7 tablet  these days. I use it to access iMonk and even write essays for posting. I have my entire Kindle library at my disposal on this tablet. I use this to pray the offices each day, and have Biblegateway on it for my Bible reading. I check email and can see the weather conditions using fairly-accurate radar information. I even use it to listen to WLW radio from Cincinnati. It can fit in the pocket of many pants. And it does all this with just the white of an egg. Other than this, skip all electronics this year. You don’t need anything else.


I am now to an age where the thing that makes me happiest when I get home from work is to take off my shoes and put on my slippers. And not just any slippers. Last year for Christmas I got a pair of UGG slippers, and my feet have been very happy ever since. I wear them to the store or over to my friend’s house to watch football. I think I may have worn them to church once or three times, too. Give your feet a gift this Christmas and buy a pair of UGGs. I want another pair—UGG Australia Men’s Ascot Leather Slippers, 10, China Tea. You may think that slippers making me so happy is weird, but that’s only because you don’t have a good pair of slippers, do you?

Ok, there is your list, all made out for you. A book, a CD, an electronic item, and slippers. Toss in some candy canes, and your Christmas shopping is done.

Now, back to eating turkey leftovers.



  1. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Word around the break room at work last Tuesday was the tent cities were already showing up in the parking lots.

  2. What, no love for Buy Nothing Day?

  3. Last night I saw for my first time a WalMart parking lot absolutely filled. I guess it was the $99 34″ flat screens….

  4. A lot of good music came out this year from bands like Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Queens of the Stoneage, Bastille, or Phoenix. established bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden had new releases. I have a hard time with the popular idea that music died after the 70’s. Listening to “classic” rock is like listening to an oldies station. It’s hard to look back on those as the “Good Old Days”.

    • Jeff is one of my dearest friends, but he’s wrong, wrong, wrong about the dearth of good music “these days.” More of a generational thing for him than anything else, I would imagine, though. And yes, 2013 has been a great year for music, including the stuff you mentioned above along with terrific records from newer groups like The National, Maps, Low, and The Besnard Lakes as well as good music from resurrected artists from my youth like My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star.

      That said: “Meet Me At The Edge of The World” is my favorite album of the year. It’s just nothing but superb from start to finish, which is a feat all the more spectacular because it’s a double album. If I had to recommend one 2013 release to anyone, that’s the record I’d pick.

      • Mazzy Star? Did you just drop a Mazzy Star reference???

      • I think he’s half right. There is still good music out there if you look hard enough, but so much of it is bad. And not just mainstream music, much of the “indie rock” stuff that Pitchfork constantly overhypes – I only find a handful of them interesting at all.

        • My favorite albums of the year are both blues, by the way:
          Hans Theesink and Terry Evans – Delta Time
          Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa – Seesaw

          If it’s anywhere near their first album, My Darling Clementine – The Reconciliation (country – the good kind) will likely join them, but I’ve been dragging my feet on listening to it.

    • I’m an old guy who loved the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s. My wife and I have started seeing more contemporary music, in small venues, now that we are empty nesters.

      There are some wonderful artists out there who rival anything from the golden age of rock.

      Try John Fullbright, Joe Pug, Parker Millsap, Shovels and Rope, Head and Heart, the Dunwells.

      I’ll always love the Allman Brothers but there is some really good newer music out there.

      I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      • Tom H…from just a quick listen at youtube, I am thinking that your list of musical artists is one that I can appreciate. Thanks!

        (I am almost 60 years old.)

  5. Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

    “You Can Sleep In If You Want.” I wholeheartedly agree!

    We had Thanksgiving Eve mass on Wednesday, and I was asked to give the homily. The Gospel text was from Matthew 6, where Jesus tells them not to be anxious and consider the birds of the air, and the lilies of the field and all that jazz. So, I based my homily on exhorting them not to buy into the World’s lies and assumptions, especially at this time of year, but rather to be free to live as a subject of Christ’s Kingdom, especially when it comes to all the stress and consumer-focused stuff that bums us out. I concluded with “And if your friends or relatives get upset because you’re not doing all the holiday stuff that everyone is SUPPOSED to do, just tell them that Jesus told Fr. Isaac that you didn’t have to do all that.”

    Everyone laughed, and the rector said to me grinning as he was on the way back to the altar “Oh, brother, that’s gonna haunt you later!”

    • David Cornwell says

      I love it! That’s good preaching. I’ve always wondered about how to actually live out that advice within the context of work, community, and especially family. The demands of the secular gods are difficult ones.

      Maybe I can just use the same rejoinder during the season i.e. “tell them that Jesus told Fr. Isaac that you didn’t have to do all that.” Some of my family already think I’m a little off in my head!

    • love this and will use it

  6. I guess that’s the way it was back then, too. While the world continued its buying and selling, its getting and giving, the baby was born in a little backwater at the edge of the Empire. So it will be until the Kingdom comes.

  7. I have both of my sons, their lovely wives, and all my (ok, both) grandchildren here with me. I have not left the house since I got home in the cold freezing rain on Tuesday afternoon…..and I am so content it should be illegal!! Littlest angel napping, eight year old hiking with his aunt & uncle, tired son and wife resting and enjoying the peace, and brownies ready to bake when everyone is home and awake. Does it get better???

    • I would add a cup of coffee to that, Pattie. But, no, it doesn’t get better than that. Something like my holiday, only daughters instead of sons, and no grandkids yet–but we had a 10-month-old neighbor here last night along with the Christmas carols and folk songs. And oh, yeah, hot spiced wine.

      No shopping.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      I got a haircut, did some reading, played some hymns, got into an online argument with a numbskull who likes to proof-text Scripture, and ate turkey leftovers. Meanwhile, the entire city that I live in is inundated with people who are stampeding the stores. I certainly think a No Buy Friday was a wonderful option for me.

  8. David Cornwell says

    As to the slippers: I’d never turn down a pair of those Ascot Leathers mentioned by Jeff. When I retired I figured I’d slow down, put on my slippers, and read. Well I have slowed down a lot, especially considering I no longer pay as much attention to time as in the past, and I do spend considerable time reading, even more so recently. But the slippers seemed to have slipped away somewhere, and I end up in my stocking feet while in the house. But the cold is gradually doing its job on me as I get older, and now I need some slippers.

    I’m not very good at dropping hints to my wife or kids, so I’ll probably get a book or two instead.

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