"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Once Upon a (Christmas) Time...

Do you remember the stories you loved as a child? If you close your eyes, maybe you can see the text, or your favorite pictures on the page. Maybe you can still recite "Peter Rabbit" from memory?

"The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived."
~Howard Pyle

Now Christmas is, itself, a story within a story. (And, of course, this is true of whichever winter holiday you celebrate.) Whether you celebrate a secular or a religious Christmas, stories go before, behind, and utterly envelop the day, the traditions, and the decorations.

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
~Dr Seuss

How lucky the child who is given the gift of Christmas stories! Stories of mother and father's Christmases past, of why-we-do-this, and why-we-eat-that.

When my first child was born, I thought about the traditions and the memories I wanted to make a part of his "Christmases past."

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."
~Bob Hope

I noticed that lots of the traditions I saw in families around me weren't all necessarily conducive to peace and joy... but many seemed conducive to temper-tantrums and the production of good "future consumers."

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." ~Roy L. Smith

My husband and I wanted something different for our children. We wanted to infuse our family with traditions that would keep the wonder in their eyes and the joy in their hearts. We wanted a credit-card-free kind of celebration. And that's when we started telling stories.

Tomorrow I'd like to share our familiy's favorite stories with you. Do come back and "see us."

"You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me.
~Strickland Gillilan

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