When I was very young, one of my favorite past times was reading.  I would read for hours on end and often well into the night.  Classics, autobiographies, fiction, it didn’t matter.  When I got older I would ride my bike to town and spend hours in the public library reading and dreaming. At that point in my life I thought it would be absolutely wonderful to be locked in there with hours of solitude and a book count that supported a small city.

Reading was always my escape. I could feed my love of words while transporting to a safe, intriguing oasis. I went to the public library here in town today and got a new library card. Between parenting, working, graduate school and life in general, reading for pleasure had been relegated to those precious moments before falling asleep. Three friends I hold dear have all on separate occasions recommended a book series with the same disclaimer of how much I’ll love it and need to read it.  The first two books in the series were there waiting on the shelves. For a few minutes this afternoon I was transported back to the Sawyer Free Library, a former sanctuary for a shy kid. As I walked among much narrower stacks for a much smaller community, I still got that hint of awe of how much there is to learn; to read; to enjoy.

Memories are as much a part of the holiday season as the present day festivities and gift lists.  As ornaments from years past are gently unwrapped and hung for yet another year, there are the instant flashbacks to younger days, different addresses, and ties to those who have since passed. Grocery lists are laden with must haves to mark the traditions we’ve all set within our own families or to savor the flavors of childhood. There is comfort in the familiarity, helping to mark the season and passage of time as we complete another year.

Gifting yourself can be the simplicity of saying no, of taking a break to relax, of stepping away from the hectic pace of the holidays and slowing down. It could be saying screw it and singing along to the radio instead of racing at a frenetic pace to get somewhere you really don’t want to be anyway. It may be calling an old friend and gifting each other with a long, uninterrupted conversation.  Or maybe it’s buying yourself something you know you’ll cherish and may never receive.

I could have gone online and bought the series or downloaded the e-book version instantaneously but I would have missed out on gifting myself with the reminder of how easy it can be to find joy. During this time of celebration and sanctity, I hope you too can find solace in whatever your version is of the public library from your youth. Happy Holidays