Dear Santa Blogs:
I followed your advice and bought a bunch of cookbooks off that rack at the Newberry, and I think people will love them. But I’m feeling a little intimidated: everybody else is talking about buying cell phones and game systems and DVDs and CDs and other technological wonders. Should I be concerned?
I blogged recently about the tradition of complaining about Christmas. There’s another tradition nearly as old, and that’s worrying, especially worrying that your presents will look stupid, obsolete, and inadequate to express a year’s worth of feeling for the recipient. Be a little easier on yourself and your friends; you’re not as stupid and they’re not so judgemental as you think.
Not to knock technological presents (I may get that ice cream topping machine with maraschino cherry dispenser this year) I would remind you that books fill an important spot in the holiday season. It may not feel like it, but there are long quiet stretches, especially on Christmas Day, when people look around at each other and think “Now what?” There’s only so much you can do with a new cell phone, and playing a new computer game may well not appeal in a household where everyone was wakened at 4 A.M. by an excited four year-old. Does EVERYBODY in the room want to watch that augmented DVD of “The Sweetest Thing” that your sister-in-law gave you? Maybe not.
But you can sit and read a book. If you have a crew of family visiting, some of whom will be leaving soon, it can be “Let me read that book you got before I leave and you can read the one I got.” You don’t need batteries, you don’t make much noise, and you MIGHT actually get the thing read while the four year-old is napping. It is also a low-impact activity if you are stuffed with turkey, potatoes, and pie.
Timid, you and all the other bleary-eyed blog readers have yourselves a few good holidays each. I am off to a place where I can sit down for a few days and hope not all of Chicago decides to drop off books on December 31 to get the tax write-off. I expect to be back whining about this life of donors, volunteers, and customers in 2010 as we build to our second annual 25th Book Fair. L’chaim!