December 1st starts the Christmas shopping season for me. I just can't focus on the holidays when the calendar page is turned to November. Big surprise, I enjoy giving books as presents. Books have always equaled love to me. Christmas Eve, our mother gave me and my three sisters, all chomping at the bit by that time, two presents each. Santa's presents would be under the tree next morning, so we set upon our presents like the tiny savages we were, tugging at the ribbons and tearing at the paper. Each year we received new pjs or nightgowns to wear that evening and a book. Bliss.
There are plenty of best book lists for kids out there. Two I recommend are the New York Times' Notable Children's Books of 2011 and the Center for Children's Books Guide to Gift Books. This year, I'm thinking of buying books that encourage kids to use their creativity, whether it's making paper monsters or cooking up imaginary meals.