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A Book for Christmas this year

December. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one. Also in Canada, the time for snow storms, ice storms, and everything else the weather can throw at us. As we get ready to do our Christmas shopping, I thought it a good time to reflect a little. One thing that occurred to me is the materialization of Christmas over the years. Nowadays, Christmas time is a X billion-dollar industry, with deals for gifts being thrown at you as of early November under the guise of Black Friday.
And yet… Doesn’t this take away from the Christmas spirit? If children are taught to only expect the latest gadgets, the latest toys, rather than enjoy Christmas spirit in love and harmony, don’t they end up drawing the short stick?

It’s with this in mind that I’m offering you a challenge. This Christmas, deviate from the love of gifts and gadgets, and instead offer yourself and your children and spouse and loved ones books. Books are the portal to new worlds, the chalice of knowledge, and it is a shame in my opinion how many kids do not have a love of reading.

Since I was young, my mom encouraged my love for reading and I was so passionate about it that even when we moved to Canada and I had a language barrier, that didn’t stop me. Books became my well of knowledge, and I learned French through them, bettered my English, and filled my brain with many useful little nuggets over the years. It’s also, probably, what led eventually to my love of writing.

Interestingly enough, in North America there is a lack of reading among young children, and even more so among teenagers. It is our job as the adults to try and convey the importance of being literate and cultured to our kids, and not follow what society dictates. To give you an idea, in April 2018 a survey was conducted among Canadian youth. The findings show that 50 percent of children between six and eight years old were reading for fun 5-7 times per week, compared to just 25 percent of 15-17 year olds. Interestingly, whilst the activity of reading for pleasure multiple times each week reduced with age, social media use increased dramatically. Just nine percent of 6-8 year olds were using social media sites and apps 5-7 times per week, whereas 43 percent of 12-14 year olds and 66 percent of 15-17 year olds were doing the same.
What this shows is that youth start off with the right habits, but as they grow and enter high school, they get dragged into the world of social media, which is a problem on its own. Not only to sites like Facebook and Instagram collect copious amounts of data that children are unaware of, they also sell that data to third parties for the purposes of marketing and making money. Leading to an influx of new games and apps that drag kids further down the path of social media addiction, versus actual learning.

So this Christmas, challenge yourself and challenge your kids, whatever their age. Find out their interests and buy them a book towards those. If you can’t buy a paperback, buy an ebook! Kids can take them with them on their phones or tablets, and still learn and have fun, but while using their brain in a different way. Give the gift of knowledge, and open new worlds this Christmas, rather than limiting yourself to the same old, same old.

for Observatorul

Alexa Whitewoolf    12/20/2019


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