When I was growing up, my favorite gifts were books. My parents were happy to oblige, so I could count on finding a fresh supply of new reading material under the tree each Christmas morning. My idea of a perfect winter break was staying in my pajamas all day, curled on the sofa, reading book after delicious book. Actually, this is still my idea of a perfect vacation.
My brothers preferred video games and so we got plenty of those each Christmas too. To this day, there are Nintendo soundtracks that are inextricably linked in my mind with certain books. I can’t hear Dr. Mario music (not that anyone ever hears that anymore) without thinking of Stephen King’s Firestarter. One year, I read the entire novel with Dr. Mario at full volume in the background. The two shouldn’t fit together at all— a dark story about a girl who has the power to set things on fire with her mind against the backdrop of the plucky, cheerful sound of a pill-themed Nintendo game—but to me, they are a perfect match.
As an adult, the question, what will I read? is still a major part of my holiday planning (along with its siblings, what will I eat? and how late can I sleep in?) It still doesn’t feel like Christmas without a stack of new books.
If the banana is nature’s perfect food (and the banana farmers promise us it is!) then a story is Santa’s perfect present. It’s the ideal way to travel to distant lands and have swashbuckling adventures or thrilling romances all in one convenient package. No packing and no jet lag.
So, go buy books for the people you love this Christmas. Especially if you’re shopping for me.