In 1968 I received over 10,000 words for Christmas. They were packaged as “The Golden Book Illustrated Dictionary.” As a first grader who had only recently learned to read, I was awestruck. There were six volumes! And they featured “many hundreds of space-age words,” according to the authors. (This was the 1960s, after all.) I eagerly took in all of those words, as well as the “3,000 pictures in full color.”
When I was a kid, I always could count on getting three presents from Santa — clothes, a toy, and a book. Under the guise of Mr. Claus, my parents made sure that each of us seven kids received these three gifts every year. Although the clothes and toys I received would be outgrown– sometimes quickly, given a physical or developmental growth spurt– the books never really were. Because through those books I developed my love of reading. That is the gift for which I am most thankful.