Give a Book and Share a Bond for Christmas
I can remember reading a headline in a newspaper on September 4th of this year. It read: Merry Labor Day! The gist of the article stated that stores were “rolling out the reindeer earlier every year, supposedly because shoppers wanted a holiday head start, according to so-called retail experts.” Yikes! This was the quote that floored me, “Retail analysts believe that early September Christmas setups allow shopkeepers to ride Halloween’ s coattails.” Double yike! We’re talking October here or have I lost count?
The name I’ve seen on the Internet describing the early and interminable roll out to the holiday is called, are you ready? – “The Christmas Creep”. What a term and what a beginning to this “most wonderful time of the year”!
Coupled with this, I can hear the nervous chatter beneath the radar. Parents mumbling to themselves, “It’s starting – again.” No one who’s traversed the gauntlet in the run up to the countdown of what the holidays have become can be in doubt as to what I mean by the previous parental quote.
What’s starting is the hunt for the perfect gift, the jostling amid crowds of harried, overtired shoppers and sales help, endless “to do lists” in overextended 24 hour days, towards the elusive longing and anticipation of a day and a feeling.
For what do we long? Let’s face it, we all know what. The re-creation of the perfecting of an ideal! It encompasses those great moments when someone we love sighs and says, “I love it”, when the snow banks softly against the house with flakes drifting by candle lit windows and the fireplace crackles as another shovelful of chestnuts toast noisily in a pan. Sound familiar? It’s what we struggle for each December and wear ourselves out striving to attain.
You’ve heard it all before I know, but dare I say it one more time? SIMPLIFY THIS YEAR! Why not downgrade expectations and the mania that inevitably ensues each year at this time. Instead, why not determinedly set time aside to read together with a child as a perfect jumping off spot for this new “slow down and enjoy the process” endeavor?
What follows are some books of the season to start you off on the grand adventure of a saner, slowed down and simplified journey towards the big day. Cuddling up with one of the following books or one of your own choosing and a sleepy or soon-to-be sleepy child is a guaranteed relaxant to bring the energy level down for both of you.
Calm the frenetic energy with its accompanying fast forward pace and enjoy a book and shared bonding time – together. Together is the operative word for this holiday in order to make it memorable and magic; something you can’t buy or bottle.
These are the days, the times, the moments that, when put together make a holiday and when added cumulatively over the years, define our lives.
Trust me when I say these tiny moments of shared time are the rare intangibles in this “hurry up and enjoy yourself” world your children will treasure over time as I do the now dog eared books I received under a Christmas tree when I was a little girl and which still sit on a shelf and are treasured. They bear the date of the particular Christmas they were given and an inscription by my parents.
My mother had a phrase she used at this time of the year. Some people still whisper it. It was called “rushing the season”. It meant that each season and its attendant traditions were to be savored, but all in good time, when the previous one had passed. I’m sure when she gave me those books, my mother was reaffirming something she felt would last over time, beyond the glitz and the glitter of one holiday’s hoopla – the enjoyment of time happily spent with books and the people who share them with us.
These are the gifts of self that last and give back again and again. And, after all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? So “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” courtesy of one Clement Clarke Moore.
Thanks for the books and the gentle reminder, Mom. I haven’t forgotten what matters most at Christmas.
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