Growing up in my house the very best things didn’t always come from Santa Claus. But they did come in small packages.
In fact, they came shrink wrapped in a small plastic bag. As soon as I started to read I fell in love with Reader’s Digest. “Laughter: The Best Medicine” was good for a smile. “Word Power” was good for expanding the vocabulary. “All in a Day’s Work” was sure to expose to me a new career idea. I loved every page.
Reader’s Digest lovers know that the monthly magazine is just the tip of the iceberg. Reader’s Digest will inundate you with special offers. And in my house part of Christmastime was the big Reader’s Digest Book of Christmas. This copy, published in 1973, was around long before me and my brother. And I love that I am now able to share it with my Emily.
We didn’t ever read it any other time of the year. But once a year it would come down from the book shelves. And we’d read a little here and there. It still holds up as a beautiful book to be enjoyed over the holidays. Clement Clark Moore’s Twas the Night Before Christmas was a favorite in our house. Last year my father sent Emily a package to be opened before Christmas, he told me it would make me cry and sure enough it did. He had recorded himself reading this story and sure enough it got me. And it tore me up all over again to read to Emily from the book we had read from so long ago.
This morning I set the book on the kitchen table to grab a few pictures and I stopped at one page. Maybe it might not be the first thing that pops in to your mind when you see this picture, but I was giggling to myself as Roberta Flack was crooning away in my mind at Jacob Marley’s ghost. But I do. I remember. I remember “the first time, ever I saw” his face. And I can’t wait to share it with Em.
I’ll let her have one more year of the Magic Of Christmas. This year we will read Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Maybe even Mark Twain’s Letter from Santa Claus. But next year I am bringing down the hammer. We are gonna learn lessons of morality with The Gift of the Magi. And then I am gonna scare the shit out of her with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Merry Christmas, Reader’s Digest.