For most children the imminent arrival of Christmas, or their birthday, brings dreams of toys, bikes or ponies. I remember rushing down the stairs, thinking of the treasures tucked away behind trussed up packages in bright colours. I wasn’t hoping for dolls or LEGO. The most precious gifts I opened were books.
When I was young it was Dr. Seuss Compendiums, the works of Robert Munsch, or illustrated versions of classics for my parents to read aloud to me. As I grew older the books grew into box sets; the Anne of Green Gables Collection, the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and the complete works of Jane Austen among others.
I remember receiving my first “how to” book at age eight. For Christmas my aunt and uncle gave me “Klutz Friendship Bracelets”. The rest of that Christmas is a blur of coloured thread, blunted scissors and mutters of frustration as I attempted to wrap my brain around this new concept. By the end of the night I had made two bracelets. By the end of the year I had mastered every pattern in the book and was looking for more.
I don’t need any of those books anymore. A few dozen patterns are written in my memory forever. Many “how-to” books and “DIY” websites have come my way since then but the colourful and complicated bracelets that were my beginning will always hold a place in my heart.