V.A.C.#10- Read ‘em & weep

Happy one day closer to your weekend Travellers,

Here’s one for the sentimental nostalgic souls out there…Little door #10 of our virtual Advent calendar opens to reveal a tiny little person reading a tiny little book while curled up in a blanket…

And before you think, just read a book? That’s all you got today?…NOPE. It’s so much better…

When I was young, I was a voracious reader, mostly all things Dr. Seuss and Richard Scary, but my favorite stories came at Christmas time…even when I didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore, I loved “The Night Before Christmas” …the magic of the words, the phrasing, the everything about Santa’s description and the reindeer names…my Grandma read it with the greatest finesse of anyone, to this day I’m sure my reading pales in comparison…but I can hear her still if I concentrate really hard…

There’s also, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” which could not be more fabulous if it tried, could it? Again, I love all the words and the imagination of Theodore Geisel knew no bounds. He was a rare man who changed a world of children’s lives, didn’t he? I especially love the part about Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two…who asks, “Santy Claus, Why are you taking our Christmas tree, WHY? And the ensuing explanation of the Grinch, the whole thing is just so f*cking clever and I always felt so bad for his dog having that reindeer horn tied to his little head…seriously, that dog’s welfare throughly distracted me as a kid..

I’m also very fond of a few lesser known stories, “Santa Mouse” which was written for very young ears a long time ago. “Olive the Other Reindeer” which stars a dog named Olive and that title is too clever, isn’t it? And lastly, but not leastly, “A Wish for Wings that Work” which is written by Berkeley Breathed, who wrote a cartoon called  Bloom County for a number of years…The story’s main protagonist is Opus, a penguin who once dated a human woman named Lola Granola. Those last two stories have a similar theme of a character dreaming of a kind of greatness and of course, Santa is involved in bringing their self-realization to fruition. As Santa is always known to do, am I right?

Around this time every year, I visit the children’s book section to see if there’s anything new and fabulous for my collection. A few years ago, I added “My penguin Osbert” which is about a boy and a penguin, because who doesn’t love penguins?? It’s actually very touching. I also liked the art on that one, in fact all those stories I mentioned above have great art work accompanying their awesome story…

Now here’s the most important part, usually about a week before Christmas, I take time before I go to bed, and actually it’s usually while I’m in bed, I read one book a night, OUT LOUD. There’s something very grounding and fun about reading out loud as an adult. I do the inflections and voices and make it as silly as possible at times.  Sometimes the stories bring tears to my eyes, because I remember what it was like to hear them years ago. And I think it’s always important that we remember what it was like as a child, to see Christmas as we did then, full of wonder and joy. Because the child we once were is still inside us, I think it’s where our hope and optimism survive…it’s the little voice that says try again…AND if you missed out on story reading as a kid, here is your chance to have that experience! Because it is never too late for things like this!!!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, go forth and find a children’s Christmas book for yourself at your local book store. Browse throughly, don’t choose hastily, we’re looking for something that moves you deep down inside, like the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes kind of moving you…you may even want two of them, and it’s just for you, not for your kids or spouse, you…if you’d like to read it out loud in the company of others, that’s fine, just as long as you read those words for yourself too.

Good luck Travellers!!





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