Being the Bookhead I am, at the beginning of December I was reading through the December 2nd New York Times Book Review section. Their focus from the cover was Holiday Books meaning giving the gift of books at Christmastime. They had book lists for all ages and books on a variety of topics such as cooking and music. Then later in the month I purchased the December issue of The American Spectator and they had a special highlighted section of Christmas books. This was their annual holiday book gift suggestions from writers that work with the magazine. Looking at these reminded me the importance of books as gifts at Christmas.
In giving a book at Christmas you are helping to build up the creative side of young children and adults. Reading good fiction books makes the reader create the scenes and pictures of action and scenery in their minds. This helps to promote the strengthening of the imagination. The creativity that is built up through reading can then be transferred to other areas of life to add value to their total life experience.
Another skill area you will be building up in giving a book for a gift is critical thinking. Whether it be fiction or nonfiction book the mind is actively engaged in reading gathering and interpreting the meaning from the author. So it is forcing the reader’s mind to be active in looking for meaning or questioning what is being read. Those are key building blocks in strengthening critical thinking skills. By improving critical thinking skills you are helping improve the gift receiver’s future as good thinking promotes better living.
So in giving a book you are not just giving an object to someone to be forgotten but giving the gift of an improved literate mind. It is a gift that keeps giving by improving creativity and critical thinking in those you give books to. I look back on my life and some of my favorite books were gifts from someone important in my life.
You may wonder what kind of book to purchase for someone. If they are a solid booklover, ask them who are their favorite authors or favorite literary style. Or if you know their main interests go to a local bookstore and ask a worker for ideas based on their interests. You can explore other book ideas by looking at suggested books lists by searching for holiday books lists on the internet search engines of Google or Bing. Each year in our Christmas letter to friends I always mention a couple book recommendations each year and this year two books that impressed me were: Hearing God by Dallas Willard and Flourish by Dr. Martin Seligman. So I am recommending them this Christmas.
I have also noticed bookstores are helping in literacy programs during this time of year. I was at a Barnes & Noble store recently where they had books a person could purchase and give to a San Antonio literacy group that was giving the books to young children. Donating to a cause like that is important as you never know how the book you donate to young children may change and improve a life.
Don’t leave yourself out on this Holiday book searching as each of us can improve our creativity and critical thinking skills by reading. Treat yourself to a book on a topic you enjoy or a fiction story that sounds interesting to you. I know of no better way to end the year than by reading a good book. Of course that is why my daughter calls me Mr. Bookhead!
Reflection: Think about giving a book to a family member or friend this Christmas and don’t forget about giving to yourself!