When I first heard the phrase “Happy Holidays,” I loved it. It was the 70s. At that time, the greeting wasn’t seen as anti-Christmas, it was simply a phrase that included everyone. I love including everyone. Plus, Kwanzaa was relatively new, and as a child, I was all for an extra holiday. I still am – I love that Diwali is celebrated in our area and am excited to learn more about it.
I love learning what others believe. It helps me get to know people better and understand their perspective. If only we were more graceful at sharing information without judging or debate. I enjoy passionate exchanges of opinion – just not about something so personal as religion or politics because hurt feelings often follow.
That’s one more thing to love about books. They are a statement without the follow up interrogation or argument. If there is a sequel, it happens in such slow motion that it doesn’t feel like a debate; it’s another statement we can enjoy or ignore. If we do not agree with a book we read, we can return it to the library. If it’s our own copy, we can donate it to a person or organization we feel would appreciate it more. If the book has out of date information or feels immoral, we can end that copy of its circulation. This responsibility is my least favorite part of being a librarian. Even parting with 1980 Pluto and USSR books felt like a Velveteen Rabbit related challenge, but weeding is an important part of an elementary school collection.
Gratefully, so is book shopping. It was wonderful to visit bookstores again. Fresno’s local bookstore “Petunia’s” is open by appointment and the other brick and mortars need our support too. It’s been a difficult year for debuting authors, so I appreciate all forms of book distribution still in place.
As holidays approach, I enjoy moving the associated books to a noticeable spot. I’m not one for extensive decorating, so for some holidays, books are my only décor. Adding two books by #WritingCommunity friends has added joy to my at-home collection.
My first holiday purchase this year was a preschool title, Happy Llamakkah. It is a rhyming peek into the celebrations of a family of Jewish llamas. (The idea of animals with religious affiliations makes me smile as I ponder what denominations our pets would choose if given a chance.) The vivid illustrations add to the joy, but as someone who appreciates learning the history behind holidays, my favorite part is the two-page Author’s Note at the end. Happy Llamakkah is written in a way that feels like it could be in an elementary library without offending the most picky parent.
It was the promise of recipes from around the world that drew me to The Great Holiday Cookie Swap. And, the argument about what cookie is best is the type of debate I enjoy. The cookies bring up valid points, like the mess of the powdered sugar-coated cookie and the potential for peanut allergies with Buckeyes. No modern day recipe book would be complete without a mention of refined sugar, and the value of nut free, gluton free options. The Great Holiday Cookie Swap does this with humor.
The best way to enjoy the rhymes of this book is to save the additional treat information (found in scrolls at the bottom of the page) for a second, separate reading. The flow of the cookie conversation is exhilarating when not interrupted. Then, returning to each page for the extra details feels like dessert. Prior to buying the book, my 19-year-old asked about Buckeyes so that’s likely the recipe I will try first, although the spicy hot chocolate cookies seem like they would be especially fitting for Christmas light watching nights.
Here’s to hoping that we all find joy in the lights (and the food) of this holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!