Ending on an Up Note: A Gift Idea

little_girl_big_bookIn Dr. Howard’s delightful debut post yesterday, she confessed her compulsion to give books as gifts. This reminded me of a poem that my children and I enjoyed reading together when they were small. I headed to the family library this morning and found the book, The Family Read Aloud Christmas Treasury, stashed way up high on the children’s holiday shelf, where it awaits another generation of young Dougherty readers. (Fingers crossed on that one!)

A longer read, we know, than our usual Friday post, but I think it’s worth it. You may recognize your younger self in these lines. And I love the presumption that thank-you notes will, of course, be written.


A Merry Literary Christmas
When Christmas shopping time
draws nigh.
And I am faced with gifts to buy,
I think about one relative
Who always had one gift to give.
And every year her present came.
And every year it was the same.
While other gifts were round and fat,
(Their secrets hidden) hers was flat.
Rectangular, the corners square,
I knew exactly what was there.
I’d pass it by without a look—
My aunt had sent another book!
I’d only open it to write
A “thank you” that was too polite,
But every year when Christmas went
I’d read the book my aunt had sent,
And looking back, I realize
Each gift was treasure in disguise.
So now it’s time to write her here
A thank-you note that is sincere.
So—thanks for Alice and Sara Crewe,
For Christopher Robin and Piglet and Pooh,
For Little Nell and William Tell
And Peter and Wendy and Tinker Bell.
Thanks for Tom and Jim and Huck,
For Robinson Crusoe and Dab-Dab the duck,
For Meg and Jo and Johnny Crow
And Papa Geppeto’s Pinocchio
For Mary Poppins and Rat and Toad
King Arthur and Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road,
For Kipling’s Kim and tales from Grimm,
And Ferdinand, Babar and Tiny Tim.I loved them all, I’m glad I met them.
They’re with me still, I won’t forget them.
So I’ll give books on Christmas Day
Though I know what all my nieces say–
I know it from the way they write
A “thank-you” that is too polite.

Alice Low
(The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury by Alice Low, Little, Brown, and Company, 1989)
Enjoy your weekend…and buy someone a book.


One comment on “Ending on an Up Note: A Gift Idea

  1. YeVette says:

    I am adding this poem to my collection. I think it is funny that just yesterday my daughter called me and said, “….well, I am my mother’s daughter! I am buying books for my friends. I am looking for just the right one.” I admitted to her that she had more than ONE book from Santa as well. Happy book shopping to us all and to all a good night!

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