Every Christmas as a child, I looked forward to receiving a pile of books to read. The pleasure of reading each book was all the greater because I knew there was another in the pile to come.
I particularly looked forward to the books my Auntie Ann sent me from England. She sent a book for all five of us children, and I imagined her heading down to some lovely London bookshop each year to consult the bookshop owner about what we might like. I thought that she had probably given the bookshop owner a list of all our names and ages one year. Each year, the bookshop owner updated this list, and when Auntie Ann came into the shop, I imagined them poring over the bookshop owner’s recommendations, and narrowing down the options until each of us had a lovely English book to read.
I wish I could remember all the books Auntie Ann sent me (she’s no longer with us). I’m almost certain she got me hooked on the Narnia series. But what is vivid in my mind is the luxurious week or two of reading that followed each Christmas.
It started on Christmas afternoon, after the presents and lunch were over, with selecting a storybook, opening its cover and being transported to another world. I sat with my feet curled beneath me on the lounge, my siblings around me exploring their gifts, our dog GoGo finding a patch of sunlight by the window among the discarded wrapping paper, and my parents enjoying an exhausted siesta. I slipped deeply into the comfort and fascination of the story.
Every time I think of that post-Christmas week, I am reminded of the power of our imaginations. And, when two imaginations meet in the sharing of a story, what a deep connection is created.