Scot Lehigh began his Boston Globe opinion piece on “The bookish delights of Christmas” with a recollection of an exchange he had with John Updike about gifts. He had asked Updike and “other luminaries” to talk about “their favorite Christmas gift ever.”
“The ever-gracious Updike wrote back: ‘What the mind goes to first is a copy of a book by James Thurber called Men, Women and Dogs. This must have been in the early ’40s, so I would have been 11 or 12. It was a book of both cartoons and Thurber prose. I remember the delight with which I opened it. It had a lovely fresh smell of glue and new paper. For me, it was a connection to the wonderful world of New York sophistication.’
“The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner added, ‘The opening of the book on the floor was all mixed up with the smell of the Christmas tree and the quality of December light outside the windows and remains in my mind as an island of Christmas joy.'”
Lehigh called Updike’s response the “most evocative” of all the celebrities he contacted.