25 May 2009

Rudolph Day, May 2009

The purpose of Rudolph Day is to keep the Christmas spirit all year long. One can prepare Christmas gifts or crafts, watch a Christmas movie, play Christmas music, or read a Christmas book.

For our May edition, Christmas comes in on little mice feet:

• Visit some Christmas stores online! Christmas DaysBronners Christmas WonderlandThe Christmas Mouse

• Read the story of "The Christmas Mouse" (many other Christmas inspirational stories linked here)

• How mice helped a poor workingman in Beatrix Potter's classic "The Tailor of Gloucester" (her favorite of all her tales)

I am always on the lookout for Christmas stories I haven't read. Most newer books contain the usual selections: bits from A Christmas Carol, Capote's "Christmas Memory," Taylor Caldwell's Christmas tale, and also Pearl Buck's. That's why I was delighted to find a worn book from 1945 called The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories. I could just imagine some World War II veteran buying this volume, reading and re-reading it over the years.

Granted, some familiarity still remained: Dickens' edited version of A Christmas Carol, Henry Van Dyke's "The Other Wise Man," the "little women" and Wiggins' Carol Bird celebrating Christmas, Washington Irving's "Old Christmas" and the Christmas chapter from The Pickwick Papers. And, sadly, the "cute darky story," "How Come Christmas" and also "A Plantation Christmas," with its happy black characters including one ex-slave who was happier in slavery ::eyes roll::, were also included...sad remnants of the negative side of "the good old days." And one British story, "The Almond Tree," didn't even make sense in inclusion, as it merely took place in the winter, not at Christmas, although the holiday is briefly mentioned.

Despite that, I did get my wish. There were several touching Biblical efforts about the lives of Mary and Joseph, plus one about the Magi Caspar, Frances Hodgsen Burnett's tale of "The Little Hunchback Zia," stories of Santa Claus and one of St. Boniface and the first Christmas tree, a couple of British ghost stories as well as memoirs and stories of small towns and lonely children, and Langston Hughes' bleak "One Christmas Eve." If you like old-fashioned Christmas story collections, you will probably appreciate this selection.

14 May 2009

Jingles From the Future

I have an incredible report that there is already a small amount of Christmas merchandise (mostly ribbon) out at a Hobby Lobby. Wow!