Why Books Make the Best Christmas Presents

One more Christmas-themed post, people, and then we return to regular programming until next year. I promise.

No more Christmas posts until you and this anonymous thin woman have shed this year's extra holiday pounds. 

Two weeks ago, I tried to be a kind blog writer and give all of you a head start on your holiday shopping by providing you with a list of wonderfully bizarre and impractical gifts to startle your loved ones with on the big day. 

Just look how happy she is. 

Of course, I have no doubt that the vast majority of my readers didn't take my advice, and now three days before Christmas you're scrambling to find last-minute gifts that won't leave your entire family disappointed in you. Sure, you could go to the mall and stab a random stranger to get your hands on that last trendy handbag or hot holiday toy, but, once again, I've got your back with a much more practical solution.

Just looking at this makes me salivate.

That's right, books are the answer to all your problems. They're affordable, yet classy. They're popular, and yet you're much less likely to get punched in the face at a bookstore than a department store. They provide hours of entertainment, and yet you don't have to have the newest operating system or console to view them. They are, in essence, the perfect gift. 

Of course, picking out the right book can be tricky. Unless everyone on your list has an active Goodreads account, you can't always tell what they've already read, and someone's taste in novels might not always match their taste in movies. But don't let fear of buying the wrong book scare you off. Even if you hand someone a book they'd rather use to prop up a wobbly table with than read, books still make the best presents because:

They make excellent bludgeoning weapons. 

I live on the edge of Alberta's capital region, which means that at any given time, I'm within a reasonable driving distance of a range of deadly predators, including bears, wolverines, bobcats, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions. If sharp-toothed meat-eaters aren't your thing, locals here also have the option of being peacefully trampled to death by herbivorous moose, cattle, big-horned sheep, buffalo, elk or caribou.

This is not a random stock image; this was taken just outside my high school.

It's foolhardy to go up against these animals empty-handed, but defensive weaponry poses a serious problem in the great white north. Running around with a shotgun sticking out of your snowpants will get you a strongly-worded letter from the local RCMP, and harpoon depots are notoriously hard to find in the prairies. Chasing them off with snowballs won't do you any good either. They were born in the snow, molded by it. They didn't see spring until they were already adults. You merely adopted it.

Canada's cultural necessity, the mighty Timbit, unfortunately cannot save you from bears either.

And that's where books come in. They're heavy, they're compact, and they're easy to store. They've got sharp corners for gouging and a full pad of pages for delivering small but deadly papercuts. Bigger is better - fend off Mother Nature's pointiest children with that copy of War and Peace that you'll never get through, or with those copies of the Twilight Saga that your misguided grandmother got you. It doesn't matter what the book is about; so long as you can grab it and start swinging, it's an excellent Christmas gift. 

You can make artful sculptures out of them and put pictures on Pinterest. 

It's not always easy to pick out the perfect book for someone, even if you do know that person's hobbies. What if your painter friend has that book of brush techniques already? Is it condescending to buy a children's 'how to draw' book for the struggling artist in your life? And is it really appropriate to buy the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy for your harem of sex slaves?

I'm not doing a Google Image search for that last one.

Luckily for you, there's Pinterest. Pinterest, as you may know, is an online hive of middle-aged supermoms whose sole purpose is to made you feel bad about giving your three-year-old a batch of 'just add water' grocery store cupcakes to smear on himself for his birthday, instead of whipping up a gluten-free masterpiece of fondant, buttercream and surgically precise decorating. 

I dare you to make this without ending up divorced in a psychiatric ward.

Cakes aren't the only thing the denizens of Pinterest invest their copious spare time in; book-based art has quickly become a huge trend. Using just an old book and the contents of an entire art studio, you can produce a trendy, uncycled piece that will finally earn you the coveted re-pins of the Pinterest elite. Unwanted books will mostly likely sit on your shelf forever - why not have them sit there in style?










You can even suggest this approach yourself. If your friend unwraps your literary gift and makes a face like you've just handed them a pickled human colon, you can instantly pretend that you've merely gifted them with the raw materials for a beloved Pinterest masterpiece. After all, who doesn't love a gift that you have to make for yourself?

They make superior car fresheners. 

People like their cars to smell nice, for some reason. If you've ever spent any length of time driving around with a sweaty teenage boy or not-so-fresh corpse, you probably understand. Now, for some reason, the gold standard of car freshening comes in the form of a flimsy cardboard tree hung from the rearview mirror. Car freshner manufacturers have begun to make their products available in everything from "fresh mint" to "bacon", but nothing seems to have usurped the popularity of the original 'inside of a wood chipper' scent.

 Nothing unnatural about a wood-scented chunk of bleached lumber pulp.

As long as we're perfuming our cars with tree byproducts, we might as well take advantage of the ultimate paper-based scent: book smell. You know that wonderful musty smell inside a book that makes you light-headed with joy and binding glue fumes? There's no reason you can't take it with you everywhere. 

This exists, but I'm told that open flames are frowned upon in moving vehicles.

If you or a loved one receives a pile of unreadable tripe this Christmas, there's nothing to worry about. Just crack that puppy open to a random page, prop it up against the heat vent, take a deep breath, and enjoy. Seriously, though, drive carefully, because paperback glue apparently spews toxic fumes when it's heated. No need to worry about hardcovers, though - that glue is made from harmless leftover chunks of horses. 

You can add some fibre to your diet.

You're not getting enough fibre in your diet. You're not getting enough calcium, Vitamins A-D, iron, zinc or potassium either. In fact, your entire diet probably consists of nothing but sodium and saturated fat. What did you have for breakfast, fried whale blubber?

Dinner is served.

Until it becomes legal to kidnap and gift-wrap dietitians, there is no one gift you can give that will sort out your loved ones' hopeless, greasy mess of a diet. A good book, however, is a start. Sure, you can load them up with cookbooks, diet books, health books, and carefully bound photographic essays on morbid obesity, but if you think their pudding-based meal schedule has brought their fibre to critically low levels, buy them the worst book you can find and let nature take its course.

Eat up, kids.

Books are chock-full of fibre, and they come pre-sliced into easy-to-eat, easy-to-tear slices for your munching convenience. Their low calorie count won't force you to move up into a larger pair of industrial-strength stretchpants, and their water solubility means that even Grandpa can mush 'em up with his gums. And if someone on your shopping list really takes to eating books, you've potentially got a great episode of My Strange Addiction on your hands. 

That concludes this year's Christmas blog posts! Leave your thoughts in the comment section, and have yourself a Merry Christmas and some Happy Holidays. 


  1. Amazing post! I agree, books are so universal and there's is at least one perfect book out there for everybody. They're affordable and easy and portable... is there really any better present? Merry Christmas!


    1. Thanks! I'm glad someone else agrees with me. Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. [ Laughs ] Yes, books do make great gifts.

    Season's Greetings!


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