Chapter 70 Making Rather Merry

We had a full weekend this weekend, almost none of it devoted to books or bookselling. That sounds bad, like I don’t care about my business, but we were, in the words of Bob Cratchit, “making rather merry.” Tom and Huck’s school had a Breakfast With Santa on Saturday — pancake breakfast cooked by the Father’s Club, decorations made and put up by a committee of mothers. Admission is a donation of a bag food for a local shelter and a toy for children there. I spent Thursday and Friday at school making decorations. The theme for the breakfast was “Christmas in Candy Land” and decorations were patterned after the Candy Land board game. We glued gum drops and candy canes on small foam Christmas trees, cut out large cardboard gingermen, and lit and ornamented ten Christmas trees. We even put colored carpet squares on the floor leading up to Santa’s chair, just like the squares on the game board. Santa arrived at 8:00 a.m. and dutifully received an audience of several hundred elementary school-aged children. Breakfast for 500 is no small task, and Thoughtful Husband and I spent Saturday helping with other parents to set-up and clean-up. A good time was had by all.

We also purchased our Christmas tree and got the lights and ornaments on it. I like my home to feel cozy during the dark days of December, so I add a few other decorations around the house to encourage that feeling — a snowman collection (I must really have the collecting gene, because in addition to books, I have a burgeoning collection of snowmen and Santas), some of my favorite seasonal books, and a new brand of tea:

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I tell you, if you could drink the cinammon-orange-peel-pine scent that is the month of December, you would be drinking this tea. Nothing better than a cup of it on a cold afternoon in my book geek mug:
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I have a bit of planning to do for Christmas and New Year’s. It will likely slow down my book work, but, as I am “making rather merry”, I don’t mind if books in need of cataloguing wait a couple of weeks. Of course, books ordered will still ship immediately. Blog posts will still occur five days a week. That poor Dante catalogue, though. It’s getting pushed back another couple of weeks. I don’t think people really want to read Inferno at Christmastime anyway. A bit too much doom and Scrooge-like heavy-handed punishment.

To make this post somewhat book related, I’ll include some of my favorite dialogue from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, a book so well-known and well-loved it is almost a cliche. Still, I love coming back to it year after year:

“Hallo!” growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by coming here at this time of day.”

“I am very sorry, sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”

“You are?” repeated Scrooge. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, if you please.”

It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Bob, appearing from the Tank. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, sir.

“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Scrooge, “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again: “and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”

Bob trembled, and got a little nearer to the ruler. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it; holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat.

“A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit.”

Christmas is only once a year. Like Bob Cratchit, I’m making rather merry. Whatever you like to celebrate in December, I hope you get the chance to do the same.

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