Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Grinch who stole everything

We pulled out the holiday book pile a little early this year.

What can I say, now that Mike is back in school, and I'm busy as usual, we needed the passive parenting that only the Elf on a Shelf can provide. 

Is the EoaS a southern thing or a world-wide phenomenon?

The book asks you to think about how Santa manages the logistics of watching all the boys and girls in the world. Why, with an elf on a shelf in every home! A little guy/gal who you get to name, and who sits in your house, and reports to Santa on your behavior each evening. I love the practicality, and also the parenting crutch it provides. Ah, nothing like the holidays, when we can say things like: "I think Barley (our elf's name) saw you push your brother. Uh-oh, you should apologize." So nice to have a middle man to blame all the rule-keeping on.

So, along with the Elf, we started reading the Grinch last week. Willy wants to hear it every day. I love the book so, and it's a treat and a delight to read, but every day for the last week and not even Thanksgiving... I worry about our sanity.

We love to pick out fun things on the different pages:
--the tiniest Who on the page where they're all singing.
--the Whos who should be sitting down at the Who feast. One is standing on the back of a highchair!

We read "the Grinch hated Christmas" and Willy and James call out:
"No, you can't hate Christmas"

We read "the Grinch hated the Whos" and the boys shout:
"You can't hate the Whos!"

I hope reading it for the next 30-plus days doesn't make me like it any less.

It makes me think about books and the holiday season, and how much I love them (no surprise there). I am toying with the idea of only giving books for Christmas. It just seems like the right thing to do. 

It all began with the clever, no ingenious, marketing promotion from Chronicle Books. They ask you to make a list of $500 worth of books, and they'll pick one blogger, and one blog reader to receive the books. It's so clever, because it makes you peruse their site and find books you like. And then, well, they've got you.

I would like to give only books, but I have a strict rule that a gift should always and forever be about the receiver and not the giver. 

Who among us hasn't received a gift that only proves the giver doesn't know us at all. I ended a 2 1/2 year dating relationship over the gift of a pair of old speakers (and I love recycling, so it wasn't the old part). It was one of those moments in life where the veil is lifted, and you realize the person you thought you loved just doesn't know you at all. 
It's a lot of work to find the right books for everyone on the list-- a book might miss the mark where a gift basket of bath goodies would fit the bill. 

So, what do you think-- could you only give books this year? Do you only give books already?


  1. Hmm, I love to give books as presents, and luckily for me many people in my family love books too, but there are a few people for whom buying a book as a gift is like buying them a lump of coal :-) So I delight in finding just the right book for someone I know will love it, and enjoy the challenge of finding another kind of present for my non-book loving loved ones. If I got only books for Christmas it would be the best Christmas ever :-)

  2. I just spent over $200 all on books and that's nearly my christmas shopping done! I got books (and only books) for all my family (parents, nieces, nephews, siblings, cousins, etc) and it was such a breeze choosing them all - only had to go to one shop! :)

    as for my kids - i got them a little bundle too - but will aim to get them a few more presents as well - most likely art/craft/science-y things and a board game :) maybe a doll for my daughter...

    personally, all i want for christmas is books too :)


  3. I love giving books and I rarely give anything else. It's a big challenge sometimes, working out what'll suit somebody--for instance my father has very specific tastes, reads widely and requires large print--but it's so much fun.

  4. I don't know Elf on the Shelf, but boy do I know (and adore) How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

    I actually don't usually give too many books -- my family and friends are too hard to choose for. However, I usually only receive books. :) That gets tricky now that I live in Germany. Last Christmas, I got so many books, it pushed my luggage weight waaaaaay over the limit. Yeah, so half those books are still in the States.

  5. I give books to my kids and my nieces and nephews but otherwise I steer clear of buying books for others. Unless you really know what they like it's hard to buy a book for someone. And if you do know them that well, then there's a good chance they've already read what you pick out. I suppose you could say give a giftcard but that's kind of impersonal.

    We had an elf that my mom always put out - but she never used it as a teaching device. And man, how is it that I don't have the Grinch? I will have to rectify that now! I usually read A Christmas Carol to my kids on Christmas Eve.


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