Poetry Advent Calendar 2: Blackwell's Wishing Trees

Article published on Dec. 2, 2013
Article published on Dec. 2, 2013

It’s the small miracles which make life worth a damn, as poet Hugh Macmillan remarks. There are a lot of small miracles to be found in good bookshops. Giant peaches and enchanted apples, for instance. Little girls who stand on the shoulders of giants. And at this time of year, wishing trees in the children’s department.

The wishing trees are a scheme run by the lovely people at the academic bookstore Blackwell’s. Working with local charities, bookshops in Edinburgh and Oxford as well as other towns (a full list of participating stores will be online soon) have received book requests from children living in difficult circumstances. The requests are written on tags adorning a Christmas tree in the children’s section of the bookshop.

Now pay attention, because here comes the magic bit. Readers (that’s us!) can choose a tag which seems to be written by a kindred spirit, and buy a book which they think that child will love. The staff in the bookshop then gift wrap the book and ensure it reaches the child in time for Christmas.

It’s the small miracles that do it.