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Bookish Ideas to Inspire the Holiday Season


And just like that the holiday season is underway. We upheld our day-after-Thanksgiving tradition of making homemade cinnamon rolls and setting up the Christmas tree. On Saturday, I ventured out to shop local for Small Business Saturday. Of course, I went in search of a local bookstore. I landed at The Vintage Greenhouse in Bay City, home to 41 local vendors including Leopard Print Books, Gifts & Curiosities.


I love local bookstores. They’re some of the dreamiest places I’ve ever seen.


When I lived in New York City, I loved stopping at Strand Book Store, especially around Christmastime. The store is packed with over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books, plus quirky gifts and bookish merchandise. If you are a book lover and visiting the Big Apple, add this to your list of must-see attractions.


A few of my favorite Michigan bookshops are Literati of Ann Arbor, Sidetrack Bookshop of Royal Oak, and Books and Mortar of Grand Rapids. I don’t just think about these places on Small Business Saturday. I try to support them year-round.


It might take an extra trip and cost you a few extra bucks, but it’s infinitely more gratifying to purchase a book from an independent bookseller than from Amazon. And who knows, you might stumble upon something magical while you’re there, something you didn’t even know you were looking for. It happens to me every time.


This year, as you prepare your holiday shopping lists and start searching for that perfect gift, I encourage you to give the gift of reading. Of course, one of the very best ways to do this is to put your library card to good use, but beyond of that, buying books from local bookstores is the next best option.


Here are a few bookish ideas to inspire you this holiday season:

  • A fun family tradition is reading together every night after dinner throughout the month of December. Consider wrapping 25 picture books and letting the kids open one book each night. Use books you already have, add a few new ones to the collection by shopping at a local bookstore, or visit the library and pull from our stash. Library Director Michelle Duclos has been doing this with her family for nearly 20 years!

  • Participate in the Icelandic tradition known as Jólabókaflóð (yo-la-bok-a-flot) or “Christmas Book Flood” where family members give and receive books on Christmas Eve and stay up reading together, usually with a cup of hot cocoa. This tradition has singlehandedly made books the most popular gift in Iceland.

  • Go on a “Blind Date with a Book.” Many bookstores have prewrapped books with a short description of the book and the genre but withhold the title so that your gift is a two-way surprise for the giver and the receiver!

  • Consider gifting a book subscription. “The Book Hook Up,” Strand Book Store’s subscription program, sends a curated selection of books right to your door! Each box includes a signed, first edition of a highly anticipated title, an additional paperback, and extra literary goodies. Check out their website (strandbooks.com) for more information.

  • Download the Load Your Libby Book Bingo Card and keep track of your reading progress this holiday season. Follow the Libby App Facebook page or download the Libby app on your smartphone to play.


Finally, don’t forget to take some time to read this Christmas. I don’t know about you but one of my absolute favorite places to read during the holiday season is by the Christmas tree with a warm drink. There’s something so cozy and alluring about settling down with a good book, especially as the nights grow longer. Every story has the potential to fill the darkness with something bright. Happy holidays! And happy reading!

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