Do you prefer giving or receiving books?
As you may have noticed from the endless stream of blinking lights, the mad rush to buy the perfect Christmas tree, or the fighting over the last toy in the store, Christmas is around the corner. That means our Christmas present buying is coming to an end. For some people this is a blessing. For others it’s a disappointment because some people love buying presents for others and some people dread it. Usually people dislike buying presents because they don’t know what to buy people. In my house, our back-up option was books.
Even if we’d spent several months struggling to come up with a snazzy idea, at the end of the day, some people are just difficult to buy for (especially when you’re a kid using your parents money to buy presents for your parents. [And your dad wants a grill or hunting supplies. :p]) But books were always to fall back options because, I mean, who doesn’t like books?
And books make such a great present for everyone because there is such a wide variety. Even for the people who prefer history to fantasy, you can find a book. Even the people who like to bake over read, you can find a book. There are books for everyone, but you already knew that. And we already knew we all shared a love of books. So, the real question becomes, do you prefer receiving or giving books?
That’s right, ladies and gents. We’re starting on the selfish end of the Christmas tree this year with receiving books, because who doesn’t love receiving books? Alright. Maybe not everyone. Maybe not the person who gets books from relatives and family friends who have no idea what you read. (As I’m sure we’ve all had happen to us once or twice.)
Even so, there is something amazing about unwrapping a present to find an entire world, an entire story underneath the fancy wrapping paper. You don’t have to worry about sharing it with anyone (at least until you read it, if you have younger siblings. Sorry, guys.) And you can enjoy the story over and over again and even share your reading experience with hundreds of thousands of other people around the world who loved it as much as you. In other words, it’s both an activity, you received in a present, and a conversation starter with others.
The best part is that it’s a gift for both introverts and extroverts! If you’re that introvert who may have an aversion to speaking with other people, it’s great! You get to sit alone for hours and read (or a few minutes depending on some of your reading speeds. 0.0) And the extrovert gets to gab about it to all their friends. Heck! Maybe the introvert will even make new friends by having the book attached to their hip as they walk around town! (Whether you want said friends or not is entirely up to you. :p )
Now, you probably already knew the amazing feeling of receiving a book (especially if it’s exactly the book you want.) But what about giving books? For some people, this isn’t very much fun. After all, what if you buy a book for a friend/family member when you haven’t even read the book? What if you want the book all to yourself? (Admit it. I know there are people out there who feel this way. :p ) How do you overcome such jealousy and actually share a new bookish world with your loved ones?
How about following an Icelandic tradition?
Did you know that in Iceland there is a tradition where you give a book to each person in your family on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the night reading? It’s true! My brother and sister-in-law picked up this little tradition in our family a couple years back, handing out books to their family and friends during their Christmas Eve get together. At first, I didn’t quite get it. Their family and friends didn’t seem like readers to me, but I realized something as I sat and watched them open their presents: it’s not about being a reader. It’s about sharing the love of reading with others.
Let me put it to you this way: Can you imagine your life without reading? Can you imagine if you didn’t have books to read or didn’t enjoy reading? What if it was simply because no one had really taken the time to offer you a book you might enjoy? What if you were actually someone who loves to read but just didn’t know it yet?
What if you could be the person to bring reading into someone else’s life?
I don’t know about all of you, but I wasn’t a reader when I was younger. I hated it. I was so slow. I didn’t enjoy stories, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to love reading. Now I’m behind on hundreds of stories that people love and I have no idea what they’re talking about and there are only so many hours in the day! But if someone had handed me a book at ten, a book I’d fallen in love with so much that it ignited my love to read, how would my life be different now? How much fuller of imagination would it be?
Spirit of Christmas
And I asked at the beginning which you prefer, but I ask you, in the spirit of Christmas this year, share something you love with someone else. Perhaps it won’t make a difference. Perhaps they are just not into reading, but you won’t know if you don’t share, right? 🙂
Oh! And still let me know which you prefer in the comments below! This is a discussion, after all! :p
And check out my discussion from last week: