Christmas Tradition

It amazed me the day I learned that people open Christmas presents at different times. Growing up, I thought everyone opened them on Christmas morning, like us. We couldn’t open any gifts prior to Christmas morning, without exception (which led to some very early wakeup times for my poor parents). You had to wait for Santa, after all.

Well, there was one exception.

On Christmas Eve, my sister and I were allowed to open one present each. Just one, that was it. And we couldn’t pick out the present — Mom picked them out, and she always knew exactly which ones to go for, placed strategically under the tree. She’d go and get them and deliver them to our waiting laps.

They were always books.

Now, I know for some children this would be a major disappointment — but not us. We knew those gifts were going to be books, and we were always excited about it. I can’t remember many specific books we received — I think there were several years of the Redwall series, probably some Calvin and Hobbes, Stephen King in later years — but I DO remember the end result: curling up with a brand-new book on Christmas Day, wrapping-paper carnage strewn about the floor.

As an adult, I’ve continued the tradition in my own way; all the kids in our life get books for Christmas. This year, two received The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (one of my favorites as a kid). The little boy who recently moved to the big city gets Snowy Day (recommended by this great picture book blog). The almost-a-teenager gets Snow White and Rose Red, a book I absolutely loved at her age. The 3-year-old who believes in the “fairy tree” in her grandparents’ backyard gets Flower Fairies of the Garden.

I’m not always big on the holidays, and I often feel down about the consumerism of the season — but books? That’s one Christmas tradition I can 100% get behind.

Song of the Week: Miss Piggy Edition

It hasn’t felt much like Christmas yet.

Which, yeah, I know. It’s TOMORROW.

It’s on a Wednesday, which doesn’t help. The Real Job has been nuts, which doesn’t help. I’ve been writing nonstop, which doesn’t help. Brain filled to every nook and cranny with words and characters and plot and swirl and omg when will the end come??


When you were a kid, there was always a slowdown before Christmas. A pause, a deep breath. The moment after the first sip of hot cocoa, when everything is warm and savory and right. Now, the days go by faster, and the world never really stops spinning.

Fortunately, though, there is one lady who can always get me in the Christmas spirit. Or should I say — one pig.

My BFF Mary and her family introduced me to John Denver and the Muppets. As kids, we walked around her house at Christmastime, singing this song in rounds — Mary, her mom and me. And now I’ll sing it with whoever will join in. With proper Muppet voices. Duh.

Tonight after I get off work, I’m going to crank this jam and try to rewire my brain. If only for the next 24 hours. After all, there’s only one time of year where I get an excuse to sing along with Miss Piggy.

In the meantime: