By Jane Bauer
Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.
Have you made your Christmas list?
I recently read that in Iceland, on Christmas Eve, people gift books and then spend the evening reading. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Did you know that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders? Wow! And they aren’t all reading them on their Kindles- in 2009, book loans at the Reykjavík City Library totaled 1.2 million — in a city of only 200,000 people. Then as though the universe knew I was seeking information on all things about Iceland and books, an Icelandic customer arrived at my restaurant and confirmed his country’s love for all things literary. In this issue, our book columnist Carole Reedy lists her favorite books of the year. Just reading the list made me yearn for my hammock and a stack of new releases; the sound of book spines cracking, the feel of paper between my fingertips and the light rustling sound as I turn the page.
It seems the holidays and gift giving should be that simple. But they’re not. We live in such a consumerist society that few of us have things we want, that we haven’t already bought for ourselves. Most of us are drowning in our belongings; or stylizing them for those perfect Instagram moments.
What if instead of just posting on Facebook how much we like to support local businesses and how human connection is so important, what if we stepped away from our computers, put down our phones and didn’t go to the mall this holiday season? What if we introduced ourselves to our neighbours and baked cookies with our kids? What if instead of getting new stuff, you got rid of all the stuff you don’t need?
My Christmas list? What I really want for Christmas is for my daughter to make me a ukulele album- 10 songs with her singing. When I told her this she rolled her eyes and huffed with disdain- a reaction perfected by most 15 year olds… and books, of course, lots of good books.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Channuka! Habari Gani! Happy Bodhi Day! Happy New Year!
See you in 2016,