Saturday, 8 December 2012

treasured book for Christmas - Virtual Advent Tour


    Welcome to my turn on the Virtual Advent Tour!  Come in, come in.  Today I would like to talk about books for Christmas.

        Do you remember when you were a child, when you knew you were getting a book for Christmas, how excited you were when you opened it? I do.  I never knew what I was going to get under the tree, but I always knew there was going to be a book for me. My family are all good readers, so books were almost always among the presents.

      My earliest book I still have with me, is this one:  The Blue Bird,  adapted by Jan Vladislav, from the original story by Marie d'Aulnoy. I originally posted about this book here,  in a post about some of my favourite books.  What I want to share with you

today as part of my virtual tour, is the inscription:  

Whenever I look at the inscription from my mother, in this most special of books still left from my childhood, I feel such a deep love and gratitude - for her, for Christmas, and for books.  I was 7 years old when I received this book.  It is now damaged, from many years and places lived in, and minus the dust jacket, but it is still one of the most precious gifts - because it was from my mother, and because I love the fairy tale itself.  This is part of what makes Christmas such a wonderful time for me, because we never know what will become a keepsake or a special memory.  It's a chance to give to the ones we love, and out of that, we never know what will become treasured by them.

Even I don't inscribe inside the covers of books any more, as I never know if my children or nieces or nephews will keep the books.  I did before, before computers and e-books and the huge availability of books now.  Sometimes I wonder if I should, or if this time is long gone now.  I think it depends on whether we view books as disposable or not. 

 Another thing about getting books as presents that  I wanted to talk about here is about that moment when you first open the gift paper and see the book beneath.  What fun and excitement!  What book will it be? And then get the chance to sit among the wrapping paper and everything fading as you open the cover and glance at the first page, and suddenly everyone is calling your name because in the midst of the Christmas mayhem of opening presents, you disappeared for a moment into the book. Isn't that one of the best moments of Christmas?  It is, for me.

Then later on, now as an adult (because as a child you can read throughout the day), when everything is done - the wrapping put away, presents tidied up, Christmas meal over, and if you are lucky and at home, you can sit down in your favourite chair, with a glass or cup of your favourite beverage, and open your new book again.  Young or old, this has been one of my most favourite moments and deepest pleasures of every Christmas.  Reading a new book. Holding it in my hands, and the deep pleasure and joy of settling in to read. The lights on the tree, the dark night outside, and everyone else playing with their new things (or safely tucked in for the night).

For me, Christmas and books is inextricably linked.  Is it the same for all of who love books, I wonder?  I think it is.  That moment of picking up the present and knowing it is a book, is etched into my mind.  I always wanted a book under the tree, and if ever there wasn't one, I was always secretly disappointed.  I am hoping that my children will develop into lifelong readers (my eldest has now,), in part because every year I give them books for Christmas, just like my mother gave to me when I was growing up.

So, this is what I wanted to share this year on the Virtual Advent Tour.  In past years, I have written about making ginger cookies with my daughter, the Winter Solstice, and last year, alot of our traditions with our kids. ( I missed 2010 because I'd fallen and received a concussion, and didn't post for most of the month of  December).   I thank Kailana at The Written World and Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for hosting this very fun tour.  I love seeing what everyone writes for Christmas, each year.

And  it snowed today:
Today, it feels like Christmas:


and if you look very closely, you will see the sparrows under the bird feeder.  The squirrel empties the feeder and the sparrows come and cluster on the ground.  Seeing snow makes me feel like Christmas (at least in December), and it's looking a lot like Christmas today......Happy holidays to all of you, dear book bloggers.  I hope you find yourselves getting lost in a good book over the holidays, too.

***Edited to add:  Oh my, I forgot to add the other two bloggers who are sharing this day in the Advent Tour with me.
Suey at It's All About Books has a fun one about a local singer made good 
Robin at A Fondness for Reading has a lovely one about her students and children at this time of year.


raidergirl3 said...

Some of those inscribed books from our parents were the only way my sister and I could get our childhood books divided up! I haven't done that for my kids though. Times do change.
Curling up and reading on Christmas day is a fond memory for me as well.

And isn't the snow pretty? Although I've turned grinchy, and am perfectly happy with a green Christmas now.

Susan said...

raidergirl: I know! my siblings and I were the same way. It's strange how times change, isn't it? Now there's ebooks and tablets....and yet, both my kids (the young ones, the older one works and buys his own!) take books out from the library, and have 'their' own Dr Who annuals.

I'm the same about the snow - it's pretty, but as soon as it falls, it can melt the next day! I still think we might have a green Christmas, since this was all we got and it's going to melt shortly. We are getting grinchy, aren't we? lol

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful book, a lovely keepsake.

Oh what I wouldn't give for a White Christmas! It's quite warm down under :)

sprite said...

I like giving books for Christmas gifts and I nearly always inscribe them because I also like receiving books with messages in them from people who love me. (If I'm in doubt, I wait until after I've given the book to write something in it.)

Care said...

I don't gve enough books, methinks. But I do like to inscribe them. the few books I own that have personal messages, I still have only because I feel bad abt giving away such a personal gift. (I don't keep books usually.) MerryChristmas!

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

I never get inscribed books anymore and I never write anything on the ones I give away, but this post kind of makes me want to. It always makes me smile to find inscriptions on second hand books, so it would be nice to add those personal little notes myself.

"For me, Christmas and books is inextricably linked. Is it the same for all of who love books, I wonder? I think it is."

It certainly is for me! They're my absolute favourite presents to get and give.

Cath said...

What a lovely post. Loved reading about your Chrisdtmas book tradition.

I wish I still had the books I was given as a young child for Christmas. I remember a book of Brer Rabbit stories that I adored and a gorgeous edition of Alice in Wonderland. Have no idea what happened to them, disappeared when my parents separated I think. After that, books for Christmas became a rarity as money was extremely short. I suspect that may partly explain my book buying addiction as an adult. Now that I can afford them... I buy them. LOL. I only put books on my Christmas list this year so am hoping for some good ones!

Ninepins is on the way to you as we speak.

Linda Maendel said...

Love this post! I too love to give books at Christmas and hardly inscribe them, thinking that maybe the recipient will one day wish to share the book with someone else. Even though I keep books on my own shelf, I still believe books are meant to be shared.

Christine said...

How lovely!

I'll be honest and admit that I very rarely got books for Christmas as a kid. My parents and siblings were not readers unless it was for school. Isn't that sad? I was an avid reader from maybe age 12-15 but then it died down as my studies got more rigorous in high school and then college (engineering). It wasn't until years later as an adult in my 30s that my passion for books was revived. Now I'm a certified bibliophile! ANd happily, this means MY children are growing up in a house were books are plentiful and someone's always got their nose in a book. AND books are given and received for Christmas!!! Yay!!

I hope my girls think such fond thoughts as you do when years from now, they open a book I've gifted to them over the years.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

Christmas is a time for giving and your post has reminded me of the pleasure of receiving as well! I loved getting books for Christmas and still do. If there wasn't at least one book waiting for me on Christmas morning I was disappointed as you were too - I still hope for books as presents. I have a few of my childhood books, some inscribed at Christmas or on my birthday from my parents and relatives and I treasure them. I don't inscribe in books I give as presents these days either - maybe I should.

Birgit said...

As you've signed up for the *Tea & Books Reading Challenge* on my blog, here's just a little reminder that you've still got three more weeks to finish the challenge!
Latest Update Post (plus Giveaway, yay) can be found here:

Marg said...

Lovely post again this year Susan!

I don;t remember getting books for Christmas, and certainly don't get them now, which is always a bit of a disappointment.

Thanks for your ongoing suppoort

Joy Weese Moll said...

This is lovely. It brought back a related memory for me of my Dad. After the gift wrap was gathered up (that was always his chore, checking to make sure no bits of presents ended up trashed with the paper), he would settle into his recliner with the books he was given for Christmas. I always considered it a win if the book I gave him was the one he pulled from the stack first.

Literary Feline said...

What a beautiful post, Susan! You've added to my holiday spirit!

I intend to give Mouse a book for Christmas every year. I do inscribe them because I know how much it means to me to receive one that's been inscribed to me. However, you make good points about not inscribing. I think it really can depend on the book too.

I so rarely receive books for Christmas--or even my birthday. That's why I'm always so eager to take part in book blogger secret santa exchanges! My husband tries--but usually only if I ask for a specific book.

Kailana said...

I don't write in books anymore, either, but I do cherish the ones I have with inscriptions in them from when I was little. They always survive purges and moves. :)

Susan said...

australian bookshelf: thank you. It's strange sometimes the things that become treasures, and memories. I hope you get some snow in your winter, which is never at Christmas, is it? It seems strange to me too. I hope you have a lovely season in the sun :-)

sprite: I have to give books as gifts! lol I find it hard not to. I like your idea of waiting to inscribe in them until after, though.

Care: I know, sometimes the personal gifts are hard to give away, even if you end up not liking the books. Thank you, have a Merry Christmas too!

Ana: it's something that isn't very common any more, and I can't help but think it goes along with not writing letters or cards too as much as before the computer. All the same, sometimes the inscription is a lovely personal touch, isn't it?

I know, books are the best gift! :-)

Cath: Ninepins is still not here (Dec 16), so can hope some time this week it arrives. Thank you for sending it :-) it never came out over here!

For a long time I couldn't afford to buy many new books, though I could buy lots second-hand. now I make it a point to buy new books when I want, as part of the pleasure of being an adult, and because it makes me feel rich to be able to do so. :-)

What kind of illustrations were in your Alice in Wonderland book? It sounds like it was beautiful, and certainly made an impression on you.

Linda: It's hard to know what another person will keep, too, isn't it, and what they will give away. Most of my friends give away their books if they are done reading them and don't want to reread them. I even purge every once in a while. So inscribing doesn't carry the weight it once did. And yet, it is still a wonder to receive a book at Christmas, still such a delight, isn't it? And sharing them is so much fun too, I always love it when someone borrows one of my books and ends up loving it.

Christine: How lovely that your children are growing up in a house full of books, and that you are inscribing some to them! Thanks so much for sharing your story about how you came back to books too as an adult. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Susan said...

Margaret: It's so difficult to know which book should be inscribed in or not when giving it as a gift. I usually don't any more, unless it's a very special book to me. Normally I just buy the book and hope they will like it. Thank you for sharing that you still have some inscribed books from your childhood. They really do become treasures, don't they?

Do you make a list of books for others to get you? My husband and son always get book lists now from me. Occasionally when I put something else on it they run to buy it, they are so excited it's not a book! lol

Birgit: I know, and I'm so sorry, I haven't done well at all with this challenge. I am considering it for next year though :-) if you run it again.

Marg: I'm so sorry that you don't get them now! You could do what I do, buy yourself some and put them in a box to open under the tree on Christmas morning. That way you can guarantee you have some new books to read, and ones you want to read! lol

Joy: yes! I remember doing that too, watching to see if my parents would start with the book I'd chosen for them! I always considered that a win, too :-) As do my kids now when they buy a particular one for me, I almost have to start it right away :-) Thanks for sharing this, I'd forgotten it.

Literary Feline: I'm so glad to hear you are giving Mouse a book now for gifts! All my kids get books as gifts from me. I hope you have fun through the years buying MOuse your favourites from when you were younger. I try to get my kids to read some of what I loved, though they are each very individual and like their own things, too. Surprisingly my eldest has started reading some horror, so I can get him now interested in borrowing some of my Stephen King! lol

Have a very Merry Christmas with Mouse, and you know, I give my husband a list of books I want, so you could try that with yours. I'm glad I added to your holiday spirit! :-)

Kailana: I find from all the comments here and what I know in my life, not many people inscribe any more. That makes the ones we have so precious now, doesn't it? I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Kelly :-)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

What a special gift! People have always been afraid to give me books for Christmas, thinking, perhaps, that I've already read everything. Silly people. Don't they know that we readers love books above everything else gift-ish!

Susan said...

Deb: LOL! You are so right, people are afraid to give me books too now, in case I already have it or have read it. But I love books and it isn't Christmas without a new one! lol