Every year one of my local friends buys my books to give as Christmas presents to her friends and family. I’m not talking about four books. No. She buys ALL my books for the year and gives them to ALL her closest friends and family. Like forty books. And I sign a message in each one.
It’s a delight to do this for her. And she loves being able to give such personalized gifts.
As I thought about giving books as Christmas presents, I realized books really do make the best Christmas presents and here are some reasons why:
1. Books offer variety to gift-giving. For piano teachers, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, pastor’s wives, the mailman, and the myriad of other people we give gifts to, it’s easy to get into a rut with the same old types of gifts—candles, chocolate, shower gel, gift cards, or coffee mugs. Books are a unique gift and add a little something special and different to gift-giving.
2. Books are inexpensive. Most paperback books are around $10. We can hardly buy anything of value for $10 or less nowadays. Books are an economical gift.
3. Books meet everyone’s needs. The genres and variety of books are endless. There are books available to meet the tastes of everyone on our Christmas lists from the WWII fanatic to the Amish lover. Not only that, but reviews at online stores and Goodreads can help narrow down the selection.
4. Books are easy to send. For those faraway friends and family, books are one of the cheapest gifts to send via media mail in a bubble envelope. No worry about finding the right size box or having it break in transport.
5. Books promote health. Amidst the gift mania of iphones, ipads, ipods, laptops, DVD’s, and other items that facilitate our ever-increasing addiction to screens, books offer a healthy alternative. Research increasingly shows “that mental challenges like reading may help to preserve brain health and stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s in old age.” Reading is also related to a longer lifespan. (New York Times)
7. Books increase intelligence. Not only can reading be educational, enlightening us to the world and history, but research has also shown reading can actually make us smarter. “Recent scientific studies have confirmed that reading and intelligence have a relationship so close as to be symbiotic.” (Guardian)
8. Books can last a lifetime. Gadgets, toys, and clothes will wear out and break. Candy, caramel corn, and coffee will be consumed. But books can withstand the test of time and look great on a bookshelf forever.
9. Books are a gift that can be shared. Books are the kind of gifts that people can easily loan to friends and family. Books can be used over and over by many people, bringing immense happiness to countless. They are truly gifts that keep giving.
10. Books support authors. Low sales is usually the reason publishers cut authors from their rosters. Buying books from favorite authors helps ensure they will be able to keep publishing more books. Since we’re buying lots of things at Christmas anyway, why not include books on the list and help authors?
11. Books provide a trip to a new time and place. Not only does a book provide an entertaining story, but it also can take readers on “vacation.” Books can sweep us away to places we’ve never been and give us experiences like none before.
12. Books can inspire and encourage. One of the best things about books is that they have the power to change our lives. Stories help us realize we aren’t alone in our struggles, give us hope, and challenge us to live better lives. What other gift does that?
What other reasons can you think of for giving books as gifts?