Saturday, December 13, 2014
Every year, I say I'm going to simplify. "The tree is up. That is enough." I say to myself, to my family. "We don't need all the clutter and fuss." I tell my co-workers. And so far, every year, I give in. I pull out the plastic Rubbermaid bins we store in the eaves of my daughter's room. There must be 8 or 10 of them. I open one, just to look for the nativity set. That is required, right? And then one of my daughters peeks in another bin and wants to put up the Dickens' Village. And then I see the stockings which are obviously not optional, but underneath are the stuffed animals I like to put in the entryway. And then the rolls of glittery ribbon, the sprigs of holly leaves, and the angel collection start calling my name. "Just one more thing." Until it is all out. Again. Cluttering up our already small spaces, with memories.
But my favorite decoration is the one above. My collection of Christmas books. They are not all great literature. They are not even all good (some I just like the covers of). But most of them are like dear friends. I have to read Miss Read's Christmas collection last, closest to Christmas Eve, so I can picture that mouse keeping her awake. Some of them can be read in an hour or so, which at this time of year is a blessing. To sit in my recliner, with the tree twinkling nearby, my dog Molly at my left, a glass of wine at my right and one of the Christmas stories I love to re-read in my lap is about as festive as it gets for Toni Lisa House Evans.
If I'm having a bad day, I read Maeve Binchy's short story collection that focuses on the stresses and strains of holiday time. If I feel like laughing it is Dave Barry's or Charlene Baumbich. There is a book for every mood. And every year, I pull them out and enjoy looking at them, reading them, and then putting them away again. A Christmas treat for me. Is there anything better than books?