My Family’s Gift Exchange Book Tradition

I am so lucky to come from a family of activists and serious readers. A few years ago we decided to start doing a Secret Santa style gift exchange, but instead of giving any kind of gift, we donate $50 to our recipients favorite charity, and give them a book to open on Christmas. Aside from that, there are no other rules. Then when we all get together on Christmas night, we go around and discuss the charities we donated to and the books we selected. Its a dream.

I wanted to share with you the books we exchanged this year. There were a bunch I knew and even more I’d never heard of. All on a variety of topics and from writers of all sorts of backgrounds, from novels about travel to histories of America, from translated Russian works to children’s books on US politicians. The list is awesome and you can find all the books below.

Here is the Christmas Gift Exchange Book Haul

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fourtune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted by Susan Wood and Sarah Green
Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Heartland:A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Looking at Mindfulness: Twenty-five Paintings to Change the Way You Live by Christophe Andre
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book) Teacher’s Edition: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart and The Writers of the Daily Show
The Funeral Party by Ludmila Ulitskaya
The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Whiskey Words and a Shovel by r.h. Sin
You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

I am looking forward to borrowing a whole bunch of these books in 2019.

If you’re interested to know which charities we donated to, look no further, here is that list as well.

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