Reader's Exchange

We believe Yule love these

Our family's new holiday ritual:  If the Christmas lights are on when you pull into the driveway, proceed to the row of aging candle lights outlining the flower bed.  Twist the bulb on the fifth candle from the end.  It will come back on, which means that its neighbor will stop flickering, thus encouraging its neighbor to blink.  Should you be the one who switches on the lights, wait about an hour; then go outside and proceed...

Fortunately, I've found a new set of identical lights for next year.  I didn't even consider another variety.   The current outdoor scheme suits the house perfectly and coordinates with our neighbors' outdoor decor.  In such situations, surely it's permissible to employ the "if it ain't broke..." approach?  

Yet, it's only fair to acknowledge how favorably other Christmas traditions have evolved over time.  Had our ancestors continually resisted innovation, we might still anticipate visits from a bishop (possibly accompanied by a turban-wearing sidekick) instead of a benevolent, red-suited grandfatherly type of Santa.  "Mincemeat" would still denote exactly that instead of a spicy (and potentially spiked) fruit and nut mixture.  Being granted Christmas day off work would be deemed a very special favor.  And so forth.

From our library resources on holidays, I've been boning up on Christmas history with these two:  Inventing Christmas: How Our Holiday Came to Be by Jock Elliott and Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes.  I just now returned them so that you, too, can learn about surprising origins of holiday traditions, the banning of Christmas celebrations, and why we owe a debt to Washington Irving, Thomas Nast, Queen Victoria, and FDR. 

For a faster but equally rewarding read, check out the list below: all-time Christmas favorite books, selected by staffers at Round Rock Public Library.  These will delight children and adults alike.  A shiny new copy could also be the ideal gift for a host or hostess or just about anyone on your shopping list.

I'm grateful to the discerning co-workers who recommended these wonderful stories:  Andrea, Candy, Chip, Chris, Janette, Linda C., Elaine T., Mary, Pat M., Pat B., Regina, Shara, Tricia, Virginia.  Reindeer cookies for Santa

The Classics

  • The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clark Moore
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  • The Dick and Jane books learn-to-read books
  • The Bible:  especially Matthew, Luke, Isaiah
  • A  Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens

Newer treasures

  • Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
  • Peter Claus and the Naughty List  by Lawrence David & Delphine Durand
  • Too Many Tamales  by Gary Soto
  • The Polar Express  by Chris Van Allsburg
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer  by J.otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
  • Jan Brett books, e.g., The Wild Christmas Reindeer
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever  by Barbara Robinson
  • Must Be Santa (based on the song) by Tim Moore

Especially appropriate for older children and adults for read-aloud:  Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

Featuring a woodcutter theme:  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski and Elijah's Angel : A Story for Chanukah and Christmas by Michael J. Rosen

Serving up an extra bit of whimsy and humor:  The Night before Christmas, in Texas, That Is by Leon A. Harris and The Lump of Coal  by Lemony Snicket

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