My family is coming to San Francisco for a week, and though there are a million things they're excited to see, they share my belief that a pleasant vacation must include some downtime. To that end, I bought them each a book- after all, some of my favorite days have been spent reading over coffee and a donut at Four Barrel or in the sun in Dolores Park...
The great thing about my family's attitude towards this visit is that they really want to see my life: where I work, the routes I walk, all my favorite little spots. And since I've consumed books voraciously since I learned to read, they won't be at all surprised that one of my favorite things to do is to take a book to my favorite little spots. San Francisco has some excellent people-watching, but it generally doesn't do to just openly stare: a book allows you to glance up occasionally and soak it all in.
In addition to downtime, I really think a group vacation requires some quiet. As excited as I am to tell them all my stories and hear their reactions to my city, we can't talk for 16 hours a day. A person needs quiet! I figure that by giving everyone a book, reading becomes less of a "Oh, I guess we ran out of things to talk about" and more of a "Vacation reading together! Spring break!!" sort of thing.
I packaged their books in a slightly more gift-like style than my Houseguest Welcome/Survival Kit, but with similar elements: craft paper wrapping and personalized stamped labels (the letter stamp allows up to 12 characters, hence the lack of space between "vacation" and "book"), all neatly tied up with paper ribbon. I'm planning to stick the books in their welcome basket, along with bubbly water, fresh-baked banana bread, a copy of SF Weekly, and local chocolate and coffee beans. I can't wait for them to arrive!
(Images: Tess Wilson)