When It’s More Than A Gift

This post is a contribution to the Share A Story-Shape a Future blog tour.  Today’s theme is The Gift of Reading.When you’re finished here, click on over to the Share A Story blog to see the amazing lineup of bloggers for today.  I’ll see you there!

The setting

Recently, at my daughter’s playgroup, a discussion arose about what to get a mother expecting her third son as a gift.  I mean, let’s face it.  It’s unlikely that they need more clothes, or toys, or blankets, or equipment.  In fact, their house is likely jam-packed with these items already.  So what to do to mark the occasion?

The perfect gift, for just about any occasion, is not difficult to find.  Whether you prefer to shop online, at a chain store, or an independent seller…you can always find a book to honor special moments or milestones.

Why a book?

I find joy in shopping for gifts.  I pleasure in taking the time to consider the recipient, what they might most enjoy, and the expression on their faces when the wrapping paper falls away.  A book may seem like nothing much.  It generally won’t be the largest wrapped item on the gift table, or the most expensive.  But the thing about giving a book as a gift?  It’s more than a gift.

Wait, what?

Yup.  A gift that’s more. Here’s what I mean-

  • A carefully chosen book can be the most thoughtful of gifts.  Take the time to browse the shelves for a title that speaks to the recipient’s current interests, milestone, or life event.  Whether it’s the first day of school, a new sibling, a new job, or even retirement, there’s something out there to mark the occasion.
  • Books are multi-generational.  Picture books happen to be my passion.  I enjoy reading in general, but I particularly enjoy picture books.  And the best thing about picture books?  They’re not just for children.  I’ve given them as Father’s Day gifts to my husband, birthday gifts to the grandparents, and Christmas gifts to my girlfriends, even those without children of their own.  The selected books reflect my unique relationship (or in some cases, my child’s) with the recipient.
  • The effect is lasting.  Gift certificates, toys, and even clothing have a limited lifespan.  Gift certificates are gone the moment they are spent, toys are quickly outgrown, and clothing, well, we all know how long children’s clothing lasts before they’re on to the next size.  But how many of you can remember a favorite book from childhood?  One that you read until the pages were tattered and that, if given the opportunity, you would still read again and again and again?  That book, likely given as a gift, remains with you for an entire lifetime.
  • A single gift changes over time.  Let’s return to that first example of what to give a mother expecting a third child.  Let’s say you take my advice and buy the child a book.  At first, the parent reads to the child.  Later, as the child grows, he or she will pick up the book and explore it independently, eventually even reading the words on their own.  The book may then return to the shelf or a storage box for a number of years as the child loses interest and moves on to other books.  But perhaps that same child one day rediscovers the beloved book, this time as an adult, or even a parent.  Have you had this experience?  The words and pictures are familiar, but the book takes on a whole new meaning.  This is why books like Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon (first published in 1947), or Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon (first published in 1955) are still being read today.

As the next holiday, birthday, or special occasion draws near, consider your options.  You can hit the mall, and wander from store to store waiting for inspiration to strike, and, after several hours, you might even find a gift you’re happy with.

Or.

Head straight to your local bookstore and spend some time amongst the shelves.  Here, you’ll find a gift that is personal, meaningful, and long-lasting.  And when your task is complete, reward yourself with a book or magazine and a latte.  You deserve it.

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4 thoughts on “When It’s More Than A Gift

  1. One of the most precious gifts my daughter received was a book with her name in the title. Three Cheers for Catherine the Great, about a little girl who wants to find the perfect non-gift for her grandmother. To this day, she looks at it as a book about her.

    Books are something that older siblings can share, too! When a friend recently had her baby, I picked out a book for each child. I looked for stories that would work for the mixed audiences (infant to 5th grade), knowing that Mom & Dad would appreciate an older sibling reading to a younger one.

  2. So true! I love to give books as gifts, too. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty, because thinking of titles to give is usually relatively easy for me, and because I enjoy it so much. Thanks for this reminder about why giving books as gifts is such a good thing.

    Oh, and to Terry’s point about books with a child’s name in the title – we have two beautiful books like that, too. I look forward to my daughter being old enough to appreciate them.

  3. You know, I had never thought about gifting a book with the child’s name in the title. Such a simple idea, but I love it! May be stealing that for the future…

    Which is why I love the opportunity to blog hop and connect with other people. So many ideas, thoughts, and traditions out there to be shared!

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