I bought a timer for my Christmas tree lights this week and for the first time in six years (in this house) I came out to the living room this morning in the semi-dark with a tree already lit for me. Who knew that $10 could bring such joy?
Around the Web
An Explanation (And Defense) Of The Christmas Tree
First of all, there’s an Oxford Handbook of Christmas. Just let that sink in. And then check out Joshua Gibbs’ reflection on the value of traditions.
- In the lately released Oxford Handbook of Christmas, a certain theme quickly emerges insofar as Christmas traditions are concerned: the origins of most Christmas traditions are a little obscure. Many Christmas traditions can be traced to a certain century and a certain country, but not to a particular person or event. In the chapter “Trees and Decorations,” University of Illinois Springfield history professor David Bertaina dismisses claims that the Christmas tree derives from Germanic pagan customs and argues instead that the Christmas tree likely developed out of Medieval dramas performed on December 24.
The Habit Podcast: Reagan Dregge
My friend Reagan Dregge writes letters. Her practice of it is encouraging to watch and to hear about.
- Jonathan Rogers and Reagan Dregge discuss Reagan’s love and practice of the art of physical letter-writing, the personal attention it involves from sender to recipient, and the inherent embodiment of putting pen to paper.
The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo
Hayley at Redeemed Reader reviews middle grade novel.
- A charming middle grade debut featuring a fractious, poetic parrot and a lonely little boy.
How to Have Yourself a Little Charlie Brown Christmas (About Fears, Heartbreak & Hard Divisiveness at Christmas)
Ann Voskamp takes us back to that moment and forward into another year.
- There’s a bunch of kids here, sloshy with hot-chocolate, who just keep playing a Charlie Brown Christmas.
And yeah, I’m not ashamed — so what if it took me a few takes? Because when I finally saw it, I was entirely taken:
Only when Linus retells the Christmas story and repeats what the angel announces, “Fear not!” — does Linus drop his blanket for the first time.
Around the Warren
We Wait in the Darkness: Some Thoughts for Advent
Glenn McCarty looks at the darkness of Advent and finds light.
- The first week of December holds an infamous anniversary for me. This time last year, I found myself flat on my back for nearly a full week after I was hit full-force by a most memorable stomach virus. At the time, pre-pandemic, it seemed like about the worst thing anyone could endure; certainly, for me, it was one of the most disruptive illnesses I’d ever experienced.
The Wind Boy by Ethel Cook Eliot: A Review
Taryn Frazier reviews an old, and lovely, book.
- There’s joy in discovering the latest, greatest work in children’s literature–like walking a beach and pulling a rare, perfect shell from the surf. But there’s a special excitement that comes from finding an old treasure, made obscure by the passage of time, buried under the layers of new works pouring in year by year. It’s the thrill of the fossil hunter. This has been here all along, I marvel, and I didn’t even know! The old book’s loveliness is not dimmed by age, the truth it tells preserved for those who pick it up and examine it.
Something to Do with Your Kids
This may be the Christmas that you start a new tradition. Here are some recommendations you might want to try!
Something to Watch
This gorgeous video was filmed in Finland on a day when a little fall of rain turned a frozen lake into a place to skate on water.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
–The Story Warren Team