Seasonís greetings

Is it my imagination or are woodworking companies sending out more catalogs these days? And does everything in those catalogs look really, really good?

Those are rhetorical questions: Of course they are, and of course they do. With local merchants getting into the spirit (my local Wal-Mart has had its Christmas section up for several weeks now) itís getting close to the happiest season of all, as the song goes. That happy season, of course, is woodworking season.

Yeah, that other Ho-Ho-Ho season is coming up, too, but when the thermometer starts to drop thatís when a lot of woodworkers move back into their woodshops. Summer weather is ending, vacations are over, and yard work and other time-eaters no longer compete for shop time, meaning that the buzz of hedge trimmers is being replaced with the buzz of saws.

The manufacturers know this Ė heck, they count on it to make their annual sales projections Ė so itís no surprise that catalogs and sale-oriented e-mails are in the air more than falling leaves. And while you full-time professional woodworkers may work year-round, Iím betting youíre getting the same catalogs the hobbyist woodworkers are. And who doesnít love woodworking catalogs?

Many make enjoyable reading even if you donít plan to buy anything, but the deals are sometimes so good you just canít resist. Iím seeing lots of great deals this year in the print catalogs, and even more in their Internet counterparts where special pricing and even free shipping abound.

I know this happens every year in advance of the season Ė both the holiday season and woodworking season Ė but is it just me or do the offerings this year seem really good this time around? The economy has been lousy; thatís no news flash. But thereís something about the catalogs and promotions Iím seeing that are giving me a good feeling about the condition of the woodworking marketplace. Part of the whole marketing plan as the holidays approach is to make potential buyers feel good. Having worked in the media in one form or another my entire adult life, Iím used to this and pretty much immune anymore. But it feels different this year.

As I noted at the top, this could all be my imagination or even wishful thinking. If so, Iíll take it. I havenít felt positive about the economy in a long time, and Iím enjoying the feeling.

Till next time,

A.J.

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