A season devoted to magic, wonder, and cheer, the holidays have always been a special time of year, and were especially amazing as a child. You got to spend the entire month of December building snowmen, frosting sugar cookies, and counting down the days until you found out if you got everything on your wish list. But no matter how many video games you unwrapped or Lego sets you tore open on Christmas morning or during the holiday season, books were always the best present as a kid — yes, even better than a copy of N'Sync's holiday album.
When I was a kid, my wish list looked like most other children's my age: an Easy Bake Oven, Lisa Frank stationary, a Game Boy Color. But every year, there was something else scribbled in big bold letters at the bottom of my letter: a new book. A voracious reader from a young age, I could never get enough books, and Christmas time gave me the perfect opportunity to stock up in my library. Even better, the winter break gave me plenty of time to read through them all. For bookworm kids, nothing beat a stack of hardcovers wrapped under the tree and a solid week off from school work to read just for fun.
If you were like me as a kid and spent most nights under your covers with a flashlight and a copy of Harry Potter, than you already know these 11 reasons why books were always the best present as a kid.
1. Your parents never made you share your book.
Unlike your shiny new Walkman or your deluxe Lisa Frank sticker set, books were the one present your parents never made you share. While the rest of your cousins and siblings were busy fighting over whose turn it was to try the new Oregon Trail game, you were comfortably curled up on the couch, unbothered by your little sister who didn't even want a turn with your new book anyways.
2. It provided you with hours of entertainment.
Every kid loves winter break. It's a straight week of sledding, snacking, and playing with friends, but even the most entertained child knows how it feels to be bored over break. If you were lucky enough to get a book as a gift, however, you knew you were going to be satisfied for hours and hours. While the rest of your friends struggled to find something good on day time TV, you could escape into another world. Speaking of which...
3. Getting a book was like going on a vacation.
Sick of your small town, especially when you're stuck there for an entire week of winter break? Books were your answer as a kid, a present that was more than just a reading experience, but an imaginary vacation to a far off land. Whether you read a fantasy about magical kingdoms and mystical lands, or a futuristic sci-fi about another planet entirely, your book could take you out of your house to words you never even dreamed of. Now that's my kind of present.
4. A book was like making a new friend.
Not only was a book the gift of entertainment as kid, not only did it provide an imaginary escape and a fantastical vacation, but it a book was also a gift of friendship. From Harry, Ron, and Hermione, to Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan, the books you got as a child for the holidays became not just beloved stories in your library, but close friends in your heart.
5. There was no assembly (or batteries) required.
Nothing was worse on Christmas morning than opening up a new toy or gadget just to find out that it didn't come assembled, or worse, didn't include batteries. Luckily, if you unwrapped a book, you had everything you need to enjoy your gift: a good story and your own imagination.
6. You're annoying little sibling could never break it.
Unlike the dolls that got torn apart, the stuffed animals that got ripped, and the games that had parts go missing, a book was the one gift a younger sibling couldn't ruin. Sure, they could rip the pages a little bit or even damage the binding, but unlike the Sailor Moon action figure you're still mad at your sibling for destroying in the dishwasher, your books could never get broken, not even by the destructive force of the younger kids in your life.
7. They were the ultimate fuel for your imagination.
If you were like me as a child, you loved to get lost in your thoughts and imagination, which is why books were the best gift for you as a kid. They gave you pages and pages of material to test out in your own mind, and opened up entire worlds of imagination you never even knew you had.
8. Books made you feel like a grown-up.
The parental advisory of CDs, video games, and movies may have made it hard for you to branch outside of your age group, but books gave you a chance to wade into the waters of adulthood. Whether you were given a YA novel that actually treated young readers as young adults, or an adult book your parents trusted you to read, books were the one Christmas book that made you feel like a kid and a grown-up at the same time. That's a pretty magical feeling when you're young.
9. It was a gift you could open up again and again.
One of the best feelings is opening up gifts, but once the paper is torn away, the fun is gone. That is, unless you unwrapped a book, because its the one kind of gift you can open up over and over again.
10. Your parents never said no to a book.
There are dozens of things I have asked my parents for over the years and never got, including a Talkboy from Home Alone, a container of Gak, and a Super Soaker, but whenever I asked for a book, my wish was always granted. One of the best parts about wanting a book as a gift? You're parents just couldn't say no.
11. You never have, never will, grow out of reading.
Unlike that Backstreet Boys CD, the Lisa Frank backpack, and the Pokemon cards, the books you were gifted as a kid are things you probably still haven't grown out of to this day. Meaningful, nostalgic, and timeless, books have always been the very best gifts, especially the ones from your youth that you can look back on today and think, "remember when?"
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