I am one of those corny people who love the holiday season. When other people complain about the ever-playing Christmas music, I loudly sing along (which probably adds to their complaints). Art and I enjoy riding up and down the streets of the neighborhoods that decorate each house with merry Santas, prancing Roudolphs and all of those cute little elves. We Oooh and Ahhh at the multi-colored lights and smile at the fake snowflakes. Being Jewish means we missed having the requisite fir tree to decorate, but we were lucky enough to share that honor with friends through the years.
We always made Chanukah a big deal for Mike and Beth, so they would be able to partake in the holiday spirit. We exchanged gifts all eight days and had a good time finding little things for seven of the days. Somehow those small gifts meant more because we all had to really think about which little gifts would really make each person smile. The "big" gift was exchanged during our Chanukah party, along with potato latkes and donuts.
My classroom holiday celebrations were often filled with information (and sometimes food) teaching us about Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Eid, and other holidays celebrated in December. No one minded sharing the month that was filled with religious significance, great food, and laughter. I have to wonder why some adults seem bothered by this simple act of goodwill.
I know that this joyous time of year is also the time that brings unhappiness to some people, but the fact that the words "happy holidays" seem like a slight to anyone is baffling to me. Since December is a month that belongs to us all, it makes sense that a stranger might chose a generic form of holiday greeting. The words Happy Holidays convey good wishes without taking for granted that a person celebrates any specific holiday. Those words don't take away the magnificence of Christmas, they just recognize that not everyone celebrates the same holiday. In a world that oft times can be cruel, I choose to happily accept holiday wishes in any way they are offered to me, and I send those wishes to all of my readers with my full and sharing heart.
Speaking of wording, if you are looking for a small gift for the reader in your life, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way by Bill Bryson is an excellent choice.
He gives us insight into the strangest and most difficult of languages...English. Many of our words have varied meanings and/or spellings, making it nearly impossible to quickly pick up this language spoken by so many people throughout the world. Bryson gives us humor and information in his well thought-out book.
Another great gift for Michael Connelly fans is the recently published The Wrong Side of Goodbye (a Harry Bosch novel). Harry Bosch is back in typical fashion, making us wonder how he can be so unassuming as he finds crime solutions that elude so many others.
As always, complete reviews on both of this weeks books follow this blog.