25 August 2009

Rudolph Day, August 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.

Let's channel some Christmas chill to cool down in August:

Read the anthology The St. Nicholas Christmas Book.

Check out some vintage Christmas postcards courtesy of Google.

For many people, things may be a bit tight this year. Take some tips from Thrifty Living. Remember, Christmas is not about gifts!

They say Christmas is best viewed from the eyes of a child. As children, we may have had a beloved Christmas book, or books, like the Golden Books version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or a gift volume of a retelling of A Christmas Carol. Some series children's books did Christmas themed novels as well.

One of my favorites always was, and still is, The Cottage Holiday, one of the "Tuckers" series by Jo Mendel, published by Whitman Books in the 1960s. The five Tucker children, their mom and dad, and dad's parents are featured in these warm, leisurely-paced, old-fashioned tales of sibling adventure and occasionally sibling rivalry. Cottage Holiday is a little different: it centers on Penny, the next to youngest child and youngest girl, who usually spends most of the other books playing with her dolls, but who, in this story, is wondering about her place amongst her boisterous brothers and sisters: Tina is good at cooking and helping care for them; Merry is musical and her twin Terry clever with his hands; and even little Tom is practical and dependable. But where does she, often sickly Penny, stand? After Penny's idea to spend Christmas at their little lake cottage in the woods comes to fruition, the novel turns into a wonderful adventure: fun on the deserted beach with friends, the search for the perfect Christmas tree, a hunt for a lost woman, a marauding mountain lion, an abandoned baby—all infused with the spirit of Christmas and the wonder of Penny's search for self. If you love Christmas stories and ever see this volume at a used bookstore, do pick it up, even if you are not familiar with the series. It's a dose of Christmas spirit dressed up as a kids' book.

21 August 2009

Signs of Hope

The fall issue of "Midwest Living" is out, and tonight I found the fall issue of "Country Sampler"! Hobby Lobby is filled with wonderful fall stuff, their Christmas trees and decorations are out, including ribbons and lawn signs. There's a big ceramic platter with a colorful turkey in its center, surrounded by fall leaves and motifs. Near the registers they had a tall pine tree decorated with nothing but fall garland, bits of fall leaves, big acorns, and other items!