Yes, Christmas is fast approaching, and with it, more blog posts about how writers can take advantage of the holiday season. I promise, there will only be one or two more of these (and maybe one poetry post), but I hope they inspire ideas that will last well into the New Year (or at least last longer than your New Year’s resolutions).
I recently inherited some of the family books, and I can’t help but feeling somehow connected to the family members who exchanged these. I’ve never met any of these people – these were books exchanged between great-grand-relatives and their nieces and nephews back in the 19th century. However, to look at a collection of Dickens or Longfellow and see my great-grand-uncle’s name and greeting inside along with his best Christmas wishes brings me a little closer. And then, of course, I feel the urge to read these books; to take in the exact words my ancestors did from the very books they once held. It is truly a legacy worth holding on to.
This, of course, gets me thinking about the gifts I give to family members. Usually, to those who appreciate reading, I give them a copy of any works where I have been published. This allows me to (along with the shameless self-promotion) share a piece of myself with those close to me, develop a bond with them of shared words, and give them something that can be handed down the family tree so someday, someone will see the byline and inscription of great-grand-uncle James, and connect with me across the arc of time.
All this leads to a simple idea: Give people books for a little stocking stuffer. It doesn’t even have to be your work, it just has to be something that you can relate to and think they would be interested in. Sharing the gift of words gives the two of you a chance to connect. Maybe they read it, maybe they don’t. The point is that a nice book and a meaningful inscription can turn a simple book into a family heirloom. And, hopefully, it makes for a happy holiday as well.