Hank Stuever: Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present

According to journalist and author Hank Stuever, Americans spend some half a trillion dollars on Christmas every year, accounting for one-fifth of all shopping purchases in the country. After realizing that Americans of every religious persuasion are annually assaulted for six weeks of what he calls "shopocalypse," Stuever set out to tell a story that captured the enormity of Christmas and its impact on our culture, from the frequent absurdity to the less frequent deeply felt emotions. Stuever found three families which he followed at Christmastime over the next three years, gathering material, both good and bad. The result is the comedic book Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present. Set in the tiny town of Frisco, Texas, Tinsel shows its subjects waiting in long lines on Black Friday to buy enormous flat-screen televisions, and decorating McMansions that each have to be bigger and brighter than the next. Then there's the single mom who hopes that the few moments of happiness Christmas brings her family will be enough to see them through the next year. Catch Stuever discussing and signing Tinsel while the Christmas sale-a-thons are still a few weeks away and shopomania hasn't overruled your senses. 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit www.brazosbookstore.com. Free.
Mon., Nov. 23, 7 p.m., 2009
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Olivia Flores Alvarez