How do I know this?
For one, it was what my father gave me in the late seventies, the winter my father couldn't afford more than the upper two feet of a Christmas tree (yes, for ten dollars, he asked the man to cut off the top of the tree), and so A Wrinkle in Time and another Madeleine L'Engle were my gift for that Christmas. I remember that these were mass market paperbacks with green trimming on the sides (back when the edges of the pages could still be colored).
I also know, or at least hope, because I worked in the old Philadelphia Borders Bookshop during the winter recession of '91-'92 and remember how mobbed the store was with people who decided books were the more affordable gift option. Of course, at the register, if paying full retail for multiple hardcovers, they could be in for a rude surprise.
Then, in the winter of '94-'95 with the economy still in the tank (but beginning to show signs of late-nineties life), I managed a seasonal remainder bookstore, and again, I saw business boom. In fact, our Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center location was the top seller in that rinky-dink chain. (If you click the last link, you'll see now it's not just the books for a dollar but the whole strip mall is for sale, part of the much heralded American mall collapse no doubt.) And now, I'm left wondering if only Philadelphians buy books during hard times or in fact this is a national or global trend.
Did I mention that Fight for Your Long Day could be the right complement to all that spirituality, self-help, and Heideggar already settled in your shopping cart?
And happy holidays.