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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tis the Season for Sharing: The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Today's post in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season is from one of the many holiday books I had on my list to read this month. Grant it, not all have been read at this point with so many other ones in the proverbial fire, but I have made a small dent at the very least and I am ready to share! The book on the menu today caught my eye in both title and cover....while not earth shattering, it's simple beauty is what stuck me so. Without further ado....today's book of choice is....
The Birds' Christmas Carol
Kate Douglas Wiggin
(READERS BEWARE: This is a children's book, written in classical style and although the story is straight from the heart, the ending is indeed a sad one. Might want to caution younger readers, or provide a hanky.)
We join the Birds family (not actual birds....that's their last name....just in case there was any confusion) on a very important day indeed. It is the wee hours of Christmas Day and although the world is ready to delve into their presents, Mr. and Mrs. Bird are at home celebrating the arrival of their newest little one. A baby girl, born to them on this most special day whilst Christmas carols fill the air with their wondrous sounds from the Church across the way. Any guesses as to what they name the child? (Oh, come on....you can guess it, I know it!) That's right! Carol. Or to be precise, their little Christmas Carol as they fondly thought of her and her mannerisms even at such a a young age spoke of a kind and gentle soul.
Fast forward ten years and we greet Carol as a young girl about to celebrate her 10th birthday. A wondrous celebration it is to be with decorations fit for a palace, food fit for a king, and presents enough to spoil any youngster whose thoughts were of themself and not those in need around them. Aha, but you see, fair readers, this is where Carol sets herself apart from the common pack. Being a true Christmas child, she adores the season with a vigor few may ever show, but her youth is unable to hide the terrible disease that is upon her. She is ill with a sickness that is not cureable and thus each Christmas celebration brings her closer to an unfortunate end. Does she give up hope? Heavens no! Does she sit and wallow away in self pity? That would be a negative once again. Although weak in body, she is strong in mind and soul as every year she helps to organize the family festivities. This year is to be extra special. She is planning a dinner party for the Ruggles children that live just next door. They are a poor but proud family....never seeking assistance from those better off than they, but Carol has her heart set on giving them the best Christmas ever. Who could deny such an effort in love? (Sorry, dearest readers, but to reveal more would ruin the story!)
How did I come upon this book? I was browsing through our local book store and behold...a thin visage of Christmas wonder did appear! (Yes, I know the writing style has been fading in and out of this post....do you ever find that happening when you write a review after reading a book written in classic style?) I thought to myself...self, this looks like a nice, quick read to add to the holiday books for December's posts and it even fits the season. My "self" was pleased and so I made my purchase. Woe is me! I did NOT anticipate the fate that little Christmas Carol meets nor the journey she sets upon to get there! You will need a hanky, tissue, T-shirt....something when you finish this book, MARK MY WORDS!
That said, I will say that I do not regret reading this book though even if it wasn't quite as jolly as I thought it might be. It really reminds you about the underlying spirit of the season. Sharing the good things we have in life with others and seeing the joy that it brings to them in turn....now that's a Christmas memory to collect every year.
Tis the season to be merry....thinking back to Christmas' past (or present if you prefer), do you have a tradition in your family that benefits others? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Organize a donation drive? Donate to a good cause? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
My family usually selects an "angel" from the local angel tree, or a senior from the newest addition to the program, to buy presents for. This year with money being tight, we've had to scale back a bit, but you can bet that the bell ringers seeking donations for those in need will be getting as much as can be shared.
Happy holidays....and happy reading!