I told you I'd get all Christmas crazy on you, so prepare yourself. It starts now.
I was thinking about my favorite Christmas presents this past weekend while making up a wishlist for family members for the Black Friday madness. I've had over a decade and a half worth of Christmases, which adds up to a lot of presents over the years. Some things, like the latest Barbies, are obviosuly long gone, packed off to Goodwill, along with every holiday sweater and cute pair of reindeer socks. Numerous gifts of candy were all gobbled up within, like, 5 minutes. Bottles of lotion have long since been used up, and scented candles burnt to nothing within weeks.
So, what's left over from all that excitement and joy, the numerous weeks of planning and scheming? Certainly the memories. And while I'll be the first person to tell you that material objects aren't what matter in life, the only gifts left over from the Christmases past now reside on my bookshelves.
One that comes immediately to mind is Jennifer L. Holm's first Boston Jane book, An Adventure. I was in third grade, and it made its debut in our small school book fair. I pined after it. I begged my mother to buy it for me, promising her that I would ask for nothing else but that one book. My mother is a smart woman--having five kids builds resistance to whining, begging, cajoling, pleading, or otherwise. And she knew even back then that if she gave just a little, the bibliophile maniac that was my 10 year old self would walk all over her and we'd walk out of the book fair with a copy of every book. So, she said no.
I was crushed.
Until Christmas morning...there, under green and white Santa Claus paper, was my beloved book. I started reading it the minute all the presents were opened. I read it more times than I can recall over the years, but I still have it. My copy has become pretty worn by now, but I'll admit to pulling it out every once and a while for a good dose of humor, girl power, and romance. I love that book.
And you know, somehow a bottle of freesia body wash just doesn't hold so much meaning.
It's perfect timing that these thoughts should pop up, since they coincide with the bit of a dismal look at sales in the publishiing and the Christmas shopping season. Yeah, you know what I'm getting at...
Buy a book. Seriously. It won't hurt anything. You can totally get great books for people for Christmas for under 10 dollars, or, if you want to do a bit of digging, for like, 5 dollars. That's CHEAP! Cheaper than bath salts or watches or CDs or most children's toys! And don't tell me that you can't find a single book for everyone in your life...instead of getting your little sister a Barbie, get her a book about Barbies! Why give your best friend another palette of eyeshadow when you could give her a book makeup artist techniques, or whatever...I'm just pulling stuff out of the air here, but there are books on EVERYTHING.
And if you get books for everyone, you can go to Amazon.com, where they have TONS of paperbacks that have a nifty 4 for 3 deal! But 3 books and get the fourth free, to keep, or give, or use to make abstract art or whatever.
And you don't have to even go to Amazon.com. If you're extra super duper awesome, you can go to your local indie bookstore and find them (or special order, ususally at no extra charge) there! Then you'll be helping the publishing industry, authors, AND stimulating your local economy, besides making one person pretty darn happy on Christmas day. (On a side note, wanna know how to make the gift more personal? Write the person you're giving the book to a note in the front and date it! I LOVE getting dedicated books!)
Another cool site I wanted to point out is When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Buy Books. They're trying to see if we can all buy a million books...just leave the name and title of the books you buy in the comments. They're off to a fantastic start, but they still have a long, long ways to go! Join Buy A Book, Save the World on Facebook while you're at it.
And if the person you're buying for has issues with getting books for Christmas, send them to me, I can take it (okay, I'm actually stealing that phrase from someone else who blogged about this issue...I can't remember who, but seriously, we can deal). And if you don't know what to get people, pick my brain. I'm happy to help.
So go with the meaningful, longer lasting, economically friendly and totally awesome gift this season, and go out and buy a book already. Then come tell me how awesome you are.
P.S. Oh, and if you want to win a sure to be awesome book, go here. A.S. King's giving away her last ARC of The Dust of 100 Dogs...