- Your cat-shaped cookie cutters have been putting in a lot of overtime
- Your television is threatening to revolt if it’s subjected to one more made-for-TV holiday movie (Can’t. Stop. Watching)
- It’s time to start dropping some hints about what you really want for Christmas—by which we mean, books.
Sure, you could just tell your loved ones that you want some new reading material. But where’s the fun in that? Get creative and show your Yule Log-ophile spirit. (This year I’m asking Santa for an arsenal of better puns.)
Consider employing these creative tactics to ensure that come December 25, there’s a heap of books waiting for you underneath the tree:
Extol the rectangular virtue of books. My gift-wrapping skills are so bad that sometimes I tell people my 4-year-old niece did the wrapping. And I don’t even have a niece—that’s the extent of my shame. Sure, books will enrich your loved ones’ lives and expand their worldview and make them better people…but also they’re so joyously rectangular, so easy to wrap! I know I’m not the only bad wrapper out there (or the the only bad rapper…that’s a sixth-grade talent show I’d like to forget). So capitalize on other people’s deficiencies and insecurities: extol the wrappability of books, so that come Christmas morning, you’ll end up with a stack of novels instead of a scale model of the Seattle Space Needle.
Talk about toilets. My friend’s husband bought her a toilet seat for Christmas one year. Yes, that’s true. Yes, they’re still married. And, yes, that’s what we call a true holiday miracle. I like to tell this story because, well, HE GOT HER A TOILET SEAT. FOR CHRISTMAS. But also because it gives me the opportunity to say things like, “Why on earth would you get your wife a toilet seat when there are so many better, still-inexpensive options…like, for example, the recently released novel Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, who wrote Case Histories, which is a book I really enjoyed.” Subtle is my middle name. Use other people’s gift-giving missteps to suggest preferable biblio-alternatives.
Do a little rearranging. Sure, you may have spent hours perfecting the aesthetic of your bookshelves, artfully placing your volumes based on size or color or topic. But now is the time to do undo all your hard work, rearranging them so there is a very noticeable void right in the middle. When your loved ones notice that big, empty space, they may just get the hint. (Warning: This tactic, which can be called “demonstrating lack,” should not be applied to other types of gifts. I learned this the hard way the year I really wanted a new pair of pants.)
Make literary allusions. When the topic of gifts comes up, slyly insert a few literary references. For example: “Don’t stress about a present for me. If you get me something I don’t like, it’s not a Crime. And Punishment will not be doled out. Granted, it may hurt my Pride, and “Prejudice! Get down!” Oh, I’m sorry. I thought your dog’s name was Prejudice. My mistake. Anyway, I should be getting On the Road.
What book are you hoping to find under the tree?