A Christmas Wish

What do you wish for this Christmas? What presents are you hoping Santa Claus will bring you? A PlayStation, perhaps? A new phone, a pony, a Nintendo Wii, a DVD, a Kindle, a bike, or a doll?

Best Ever Present

The best Christmas present I ever got was a set of encyclopedias (I’d wanted a Beatles record, but I got that for my birthday eight days before Christmas Day). There were eight volumes in the set of thick, heavy books, all filled with glossy pages full of pictures and illustrations. It was magical. In those days, long before computers and the internet, these books were my search engine, my own Wikipedia. I trawled through them for hours, lying on the floor of my bedroom, as they took me to far off lands, showed me clever inventions, introduced me to famous people and fabulous creatures – did you know an octopus has two hearts? –  and led me into the depths of space. There were fold-out pages with maps, pictures of different dinosaurs, costumes  and fashions through the ages, and illustrated diagrams of the Solar System and star charts. I used them so much, for pleasure as much as for homework, that eventually they became tatty and dog-eared. It didn’t matter – to me they were old friends, somewhere to escape to when mum started yelling, or my brother was being a pain or I’d just had an argument with my best friend and she wasn’t talking to me any more.

Gifts To Last

I know I’ll never get another Christmas present like it, but the knowledge I gained from its bright, shiny pages will last me for a lifetime. I still miss it now I’m older, somehow searching on Google isn’t the same as flicking through the pages of a proper book, and often regret that my parents got rid of it when I married and moved away.

Whatever your gifts this Christmas, I hope you receive at least one book. With any luck it will become as welcome a companion to you as that encyclopedia was to me and fill your mind with wonder. Have a wonderful Christmas time!

One Response to A Christmas Wish

  1. Jean Cross says:

    I remember we had encyclopedia too. My favourite volume had a set of cellophane coloured plates which showed the innards of a frog, layer by layer. Great stuff! Thanks for the memories.

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