Dear Literary Lady,
Every year, my kids write their letters to Santa, and every year, they ask for a lot of toys. Usually Santa obliges, but this year, I’m hoping Santa will bring some books instead of toys and help my kids learn to love reading. How can Santa make my wish come true and show my kids that books are fun?
– R.C., Boston, MA
Santa can absolutely make this work! It’s a well-known fact that Santa Claus loves bringing children books instead of toys because (a) books last longer than toys, (b) books are easier to wrap than toys, and (c) books are logistically easier to deliver around the world than large plastic trucks.
I bet Santa dreams of a day when he can stop going to the crowded toy factory and trying to figure out exactly what toy each child requested. Instead, St. Nick can go to his book factory at a leisurely pace, browse quietly, enjoy a latte, and then calmly gather all his gifts.
That said, I understand your dilemma. You want Santa to make your kids happy on Christmas morning, but you also hope Santa nudges your kids towards reading. Maybe Santa make both these wishes come true by trying the following:
1. Personalized books
Santa could bring a personalized book just for your kids. When your kids realize that they are the star of the story, they’ll want to read it over and over again—and maybe even write their own stories.
2. Books about a child’s latest obsession
Kids often go through phases where they’re obsessed with something, and Santa usually knows what it is. Whether it’s dinosaurs, airplanes, ponies, or ballet, Santa could give your kids informative books about their favorite things. Be prepared to hear them repeat all the useful facts they learn!
3. Toys that come with books
The only thing better than a toy is a toy with a backstory. When your children wake up and see that Santa has brought them a new friend that comes with a book, they’ll want to read the book first. There’s nothing more important than finding out who the new toy is and where they come from.
4. Classic novels with the corresponding children’s version
Santa knows that kids are endlessly intrigued by whatever adults are doing. On Christmas morning, you might find that Santa has brought you one of your favorite classic novels, and your kids have received the children’s version. Now you can pass on your love of reading to your kids side by side. Just make some cocoa, snuggle up, and start reading.
5. Books with dress-up clothes
What could be more fun than dressing up and playing pretend? Santa could really step up the game by bringing books and costumes that go and in hand. A book about wizards could come with a hat, a wand, and a cape. A book about a detective could come with a magnifying glass and a deerstalker hat. There’s no end to the characters your kids could be!
Don’t worry. With a little creativity and a lot of enthusiasm for reading, Santa can convince your kids that books are just as much fun as toys.
Love and paperbacks,