I love traditions. And I mean love traditions. If I were to really analyse myself, I would guess my childhood had so little structure that as I became a young adult, I began to create traditions in an attempt to create something solid and dependable.
In all honesty, I don’t remember any real traditions from my childhood. I don’t think there were any. Being an only child with a father who wasn’t much interested in Christmas there was very little in terms of Christmas spirit. Sure we had trees and lights but that was about the extent of it.
From the age of about 14 I have created countless traditions of my own and now that ‘The Kiddo’ understands Christmas and is as excitable as a kid in a candy store, I intend to create many more for her.
Over a decade ago I had the fortune to visit New York City in December. I have visited the city several times and spent one of my worst, yet most memorable Christmases ever there, but that’s another story!
In order to escape the cold, I found warmth and shelter within a Barnes & Noble. As a self-professed bibliophile, I could have spent the entire day in that shop, wandering it’s aisles and browsing all that it had to offer. I have always, always loved Christmas so was thrilled to find that a display had been made of a range of festive reads. I found this novel and exciting – this was not something that book shops in England did. I could quite easily have bought every Christmas book B&N had to offer but sadly my budget was non-compliant.
Knowing that sacrifices would have to be made, I selected 3 books:
Christmas in Harmony
The Christmas Shoes
The Christmas Tree
All 3 were small, neat books approximately 100 pages or so long. In no time at all I had devoured them and was filled with a festive warmth that made my soul smile. I have never read Chicken Soup for the Soul but I’m sure the desired affect was what these books accomplished for me.
Ever since that Christmas, I have read those 3 books every December. I know ‘Christmas in Harmony’ almost inside out – I could practically recite it, so familiar am I with its content; however, I still snort with laughter at Gulley’s subtle wit and dry humour and will continue to do so for many years to come, I’m sure.
However, the pile has grown. After a couple of years my mum and husband noticed that each December I could be found reading those 3 treasured books and so the pile grew with Christmas books being given to me as gifts. Each year I have to start my Christmas reading earlier and earlier in order to get through the now significant stack of festive treats. It is currently late November and I fear that I may have missed the start line required to read them all. This year I have added ‘Christmas with Tucker’ to the mix, although this is a library find that I will no doubt need to track down on Amazon.
Every year I vow to write to Philip Gulley and tell him how much ‘Christmas in Harmony’ has become such an integral part to my annual festivities. These days, Christmas without that book would be like Christmas without a tree or Jimmy Stewart, all kinds of wrong, that’s what!
I love to hear others’ traditions, feel free to share yours in the comment box 🙂