Year after year, decade after decade, electronic, audio, picture or print, there is nothing so satisfying as a good book. For under thirty bucks you can send someone to another country or another world, on an internal journey with the Buddha, into a sports huddle, to the moon or on a mystery solving adventure in the 1700's. There truly is something for everyone. Teach a kid a love of reading and you have opened up an infinite number of worlds to them for life. Thanks Mom and Dad and Grandmom and Pop Pop, for the red cowboy boots AND the pile of books under the tree every year. My heart still thumps when I see a Billy and Blaze book, when I find an out of print copy of The Bat Poet, when I see The Story of Ferdinand and Make Way for Ducklings still in print. I don't remember any of the cheap toys I no doubt had on my Santa list, pirated directly from the Sears toy catalogue. I spent countless hours perusing that retail marvel. It is a wonder my parents didn't toss the damn thing out when it arrived in the mail. But the books I remember. The days spent outside in play with Martha and Chris and the other neighborhood kids, making snowmen and forts, sledding and having snowball fights. Kids could have a secret life back then. One rarely needed to watch them and all was well as long as they showed up by dark or dinner time. The evenings on holiday, bundled into a new "Grandma made" flannel nightgown with a warm coverlet, plump pillows, a big dog or a purring cat, a good reading light and a new book ready to instantly transport us somewhere else. It was heaven on earth even though I didn't know it then.
So every year I gift myself with a book, something special for the holidays. To honor those memories and to give me a plausible excuse to be buying something other than a literary tome of "great importance". This year we're going to Paris with Hudson, a little Norwich Terrier.
We're even going to learn a few words in French.
At 55 I am still as charmed and excited over picture book as I was at 5.
To those who still are shopping, pass by the plastic gadget of the moment, buy a book to delight every time the cover is opened. And one (or two!), for yourself of course.
There is magic within.
Parting shot: What do you think Jack, maybe a walk to Terabithia today?
2 hours ago