I was just going to add this to the ICYMI list, but it's too cool not give extra attention.
Adam Gish, an English teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, took a hundred students on a different sort of field trip. He loaded them up on two big yellow school buses and took them to a book store. Each student had a $50 gift card. They got a tour of the store and time to spend the money on whatever books they chose.
Students had to write an essay to qualify for the trip, a program that has been growing bit by bit since the days that Gish discovered some students had never been in a book store before.
This might be one of the most awesome things ever.
I still remember the Scholastic book fairs in elementary school, and the sheer power and excitement of holding an actual real book in my hands, buying it with my own money and taking it home to sit in a corner and read. I remember how those books smelled, how the new pages had that special resistance to being opened until the binding was gently eased loose by the reader working his way through. I bought some of the books aimed at students my age, but I loved getting the "real" books-- I still have my copies of the H G Wells novels I bought from Scholastic.
you can read about it here).
Sure, I buy tons of otherwise unavailable books on line. But there is nothing like actually being in a bookstore, seeing them all lined up or laid out and looking through them, peeking to see what cool stuff awaits.
It has been years and years since we had a new bookstore in my area; we now have a used bookstore that gets some new stuff, and that's better than nothing. It's about 75 minutes to the nearest Barnes and Noble.
But to be able to put some students on a bus and hand them a gift card for buying books-- that would be awesome. My first thought was that I'd love to chip in, but Gish has an apparently generous anonymous donor, and this has to be a more common thing. For instance, if teachers in LA aren't taking students to the Last Bookstore, that's a crime. Book store field trips should be a thing everywhere. I would love to hear about similar programs in your area, and if you don't know of one, then I think you should get together with some other folks and start one. We all should. If you're looking for a good community project to round out the holiday season-- not just the gift of books (though the Icelandic tradition of Christmas Eve book gifts is also way cool)-- but the gift of getting to shop for and pick out a book of one's own. That seems like an excellent idea.