Books are magical gifts. They transport people to different times and places. They entice reluctant readers into trying something new. They bring back past memories to explore again. Needless to say, I love gifting books to people. This year I will be gifting 5 books to 4 different people. Each was picked with careful thought about how they would use the book and if they would get use out of it more than once. I dislike a one time book. Here are some of my favorite types of books to gift:
Oh man, do I love cookbooks and giving them as gifts fits so many occasions. My second grade teacher gave me the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook when I graduated from college. I gave my boyfriend a sandwich cookbook for his birthday because sandwiches are his favorite food. Baking cookbooks are always good for the holidays, as are any cookbooks that seem cozy- crock pot, American classics. Photos in a cookbook are a big plus for me, but there are some great ones with no photos or few photos, like Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. You also can’t go wrong with anything from America’s Test Kitchen. Everything I have made from them turns out perfectly.
Reluctant readers usually don’t want books for gifts but it’s actually a great gift. Try pairing something they really like with a book. Many reluctant readers like graphic novels. This is awesome! Graphic novels are great and if they’re reading, they’re reading. Many parents come into the library and turn their noses up at graphic novels because they don’t think their child is actually reading. If your child doesn’t like to read and they read the cereal box that’s good. As long as they are reading it’s all good. Pairing a graphic novel with a similar fiction or nonfiction book is a great way to expand what a child reads. For instance, pair the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn with the fiction book Out of the Dust. Two spectacular books about the Dust Bowl.
Giving one of your favorite books to someone is such a wonderful sharing moment. I love when a book just gets me and then I get to share that with someone. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an unbelievable book that I could gift to everyone I know. Giving a book you love to someone is such a special thing and then you get to talk about it later.
Children’s Classics and Memory Books.
I love giving books to family members that we read together years ago. My mom and I still exchange Junie B. Jones books for various occasions. It’s fun to revisit old times together and remember what those books meant back then and what they mean now. I know Caitlin has had fun picking out books for her nephews that meant something to her when she was young.
If you have trouble picking books for people use NPR’s Book Concierge to help pick a good one. Instead of doing a list this year, NPR made an online app that lets you pick categories to narrow down a book search by genre. It is so much fun and you may get lost in it. Remember that used books are less money and therefore you can give more. My Harry Potter collection is all mismatched used books that I got second hand.
Have a happy literary Christmas!