Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas is coming, the books are getting fat!

I am ALL about this time of year. Starting in fall, with the crisp air and beautiful colors, I do my best to slow time down so I can savor every day up until New Year's. Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Thanksgiving, I love every single moment of it!

Now, at 10 days to Christmas, I'm doing my best to race through the rest of my holiday knitting (I may not make this year... I think my family and friends will forgive me...) and buying gifts and getting packages to the post office.

Books are my favorite gifts to give, along with hand knitted items, usually a scarf, hat, or cowl. I love considering which yarn and pattern to use that my closest loved ones will enjoy, that will flatter them when they wear it. Plus, handmade gifts mean a little more, I think. Anyone can go out and buy the latest electronic gadget (and I do, will, and have given those! Happily, I might add.). But handmade gifts say that the giver thought about the givee and put a lot of time and effort into the process.

I think books carry a very special significance as well. And not just because I have a self professed bibliophile, but because the giving of books is also very personal. The giver has to consider what their givee likes, what they're interested in. A gifted book says that the giver considered the givee's personality, hobbies, and joys in life. A book looks like a very simple gift, just a little rectangle with some (hopefully pretty) cover art. But between those pages lives characters and stories and cultures and worlds of joy and information and enchantment. A person who gives a book, especially to a child, is not giving them a pile of pages. They are giving them a bit of our culture, oral history, and a heap of magic. Even those books about real world events carry magic between their pages. They take the reader to another time, another place. One that reader might not ever be able to visit. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

In Iceland, the traditional Christmas gift is, in fact, a book. The country calls it Jolabokaflod, or the Christmas Book Flood. (Just take in that visual for a moment... a flood of books!) This tradition stems back for years, and is one that almost every citizen looks forward to. On Christmas Eve, books are gifted to friends and family, and then the rest of the night is spent reading. What a spectacular cultural tradition! It reminds me of when I used to stay up all Christmas Eve with my sister, reading to her from our favorite holiday books because we were too excited to sleep.

So, this holiday season consider giving the gift of a book. And I'm not saying that just to pull people into my store. Really and truly, consider what you are giving a person when you give them a book. Christmas is a'coming, and the indie bookstores are ready and waiting to help you find the perfect literary gift!

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