My mother-in-law likes to say that kids should get four gifts at Christmas: Something they want; something they need; something to wear; and something to read.
The last of these is always fun. Even though I’m not shopping, it doesn’t mean you can’t.
If there’s a kid or adult in your life who likes picture books with substance, please check out (literally, from the library, if you want) Mole Had Everything by Jamison Odone.
This is one of my all-time favourite
children’s books. It’s the story of Mole, who lives simply and happily enough until a friend points out that he doesn’t have very much stuff, and he should really think about getting more. Mole takes the advice to heart, and heads out in search of stuff. I won’t tell you how it ends (you can probably predict that), but it’s deeply satisfying. Odone’s detailed illustrations offer plenty of visual interest, making repeated readings not only bearable, but enjoyable. You won’t believe the stuff Mole finds.
The message of the book is that having a lot of stuff not only won’t make you happier, but it could actually make you unhappier. This is a tough one for kids and adults alike, so I think the earlier the seed is planted, the better.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
If you’re the buying kind, consider ordering through Amazon Smile, where a portion of qualifying purchases is donated to charity. You can pick one from their list. I support the work of Good Shepherd Shelter in Los Angeles.