…and what more appropriate time to celebrate my family than as Thanksgiving approaches. Halloween is behind us, and I am in no way encouraging any of you to put up Christmas decorations. All in good time. (It has been fun to scheme and dream about the perfect Hanukkah/Thanksgiving fusion menu. I propose latkes with Mama Stamberg’s insane pink horseradish-spiked creamy cranberry relish.)
But some of you are out there writing gift lists, I just know it, so to inspire your thinking and promote my near and dear I’ve compiled some suggestions for you.
All Christmas lists start with books, because one of the happiest times is that moment on Christmas when everyone is tired and full and you all snuggle onto couches with a pile of books that have just entered your life, to look at, to browse, to dream over, to read excerpts from aloud to each other.
My sister Rosy’s beautiful book Paul Meets Bernadette hits the shelves on December 10. You can preorder it now, and it will reach you in plenty of time to give to every kid on your list—or ask your local bookstore to make sure they get it in right away. Gorgeous paintings and a story with a much larger point: every one of us needs a Bernadette in our lives. Here’s the trailer, made by our multitalented friend Jesse Beecher:
No child’s bookshelf is complete without my father’s book, with his friend David, Tell Me the Day Backwards. It’s not just a charming story with charming pictures, it gives you a new game to play with your kids, a bedtime tradition that will expand their sense of the world and their capacity to think broadly.
Look what I just found:
The holidays are a traditional time to get in touch with our far-flung loved ones. Consider writing them notes on my mother’s holiday cards. Her posters and greeting cards make inspired and inspiring gifts, and who doesn’t want to find one of these bumper stickers in the bottom of his stocking?
For those hard-to-buy for darlings who only appreciate a sui generis gift, commission a piece in wood or metal from my brother Jack. So many of the beautiful objects in my house emerged from his hands.
And the lucky among you in the Burlington, VT area can give a gift that hits two of my favorite high notes: a session with my sister Jasmine promotes relaxation and is absolutely clutter-free—in fact it could help you declutter in more ways than one.
There you have it, gifts to nurture mind and body, spirit and creativity, and a chance for me to spend part of the afternoon appreciating the family I was born into. Of course these works of their hands aren’t why I love them—I love them for their humor and presence, their lively minds, their ceaseless seeking and questioning, their loving hearts. Thank you, family.