And So This Was Christmas

This morning I scribbled some words about Christmas over at my other blog…with the lyrics of an old Beatles tune looping in my head and a bright, shiny Christmas day before me, I was at peace with the December demons.  Now it’s  bedtime, and Christmas is over for another year. It was a quiet day ~ which I suppose is to be expected, with my only child living 10,000 miles away and my remaining family consisting of a gaggle of elderly people at varied stages of decrepitude.  Were it not for Magic and Molly, I fear the day would have been dark and dreary indeed.

There were lovely gifts, though…a very sleek portable speaker system for my i-pod,  an elegant fountain pen (engraved!) from Levenger’s.  And a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings…sigh.  What more could a girl ask, really?

I purchased my most inspired bookish gift yesterday afternoon, braving the elements and wading through several inches of grey, frozen slush to get to Books Connection,  a used bookstore nearby.  You see, yesterday morning my husband and I were ensconced in our favorite reading chairs, coffee and books in hand, when he snapped close the cover of his latest Vince Flynn thriller

“I’ll have to go to the library today,” he said.  “I’ve just finished my book.”

I glanced up over the top of  Straight Man, a Richard Russo novel I picked up at a library sale last weekend – the day I noticed the sign which said the library was closed on December 24 and 25.  

“I hate to tell you this,” I said, “but the library is closed today.  And tomorrow. ”

“What!” he exclaimed.  “But I’ll have nothing to read for two days!”

A word of explanation…my dear husband, an electrical engineer with a passion for gadgetry and technology,  is relatively new to reading.  Oh, of course he learned how to read many years ago, back in first and second grade when we all mastered the basics.  But he’s only come to the joys of reading for pleasure within the last year or two.  So he hasn’t quite mastered the concept of building a personal library of TBR volumes.  He tends to borrow a book or two at a time, and then stop by the library when they’re both finished.

Foolish man. 

So yesterday morning it occurred to me that the perfect gift for him might be a small library of books by his favorite authors…a secret stash of volumes he could turn to when he needed a book right now.

A bookstack.

Armed with a printout of his LibraryThing list, off I went.  Within 10 minutes browsing the shelves at Books Connection, I had a dozen paperbacks…Michael Connolly, David Baldacci, Brad Meltzer, Robin Cook, Nelson DeMille, Steve Martini…all his favorites, and a couple of new authors, too.  And all for about $25.00.

Oh, the joy.

This morning I woke early and made extra coffee, knowing we’d have plenty of time for reading.  He ambled into the living room and spied me happily reading away. 

“Darn, I wish I had a book,” he said glumly, sinking dejectedly into the chair beside me.

“Maybe you should open this present,” I suggested, handing him the gift bag stuffed with his specially chosen bookstack.

Such delight on his face as he pulled out volume after volume. 

“Wow!” he exclaimed, settling in with his chosen read.  “I bet you never imagined I’d get so excited over a stack of books.”

“You’re right,” I acknowledged.  “But then, I bet you never thought I’d be so excited over electronic gadgets like i-pods and their related accessories.”

He grinned happily.  

“I always told you we were good for each other,” he replied.

And so, this was Christmas. 

Simple pleasures,  savoring moments of joy with the people we love.

I hope yours was similarly fulfilling.

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19 thoughts on “And So This Was Christmas

  1. I’m glad you had such a lovely holiday! We did, too – in spite of a sore back on my part, sore tummies on my kids part, and three feet of snow. It didn’t matter – it was a wonderful day.

  2. I have tried so hard to provoke an interest in books within my husband. Have dreamed by sitting with him, in the same room, reading at the same time. Reading anything! The newspaper, even. But alas. I love this image of you with your husband, reading on Christmas.

  3. What a beautiful post, Becca. And yay for new readers! My sister got three books for Christmas this year, because she told me she wanted to try to get into reading. Here’s hoping next year I can get her a bookstack. 🙂

  4. A lovely, Christmasy post, Becca.
    Happy Holidays to you in your comfy, cozy, reading chair.
    An engraved fountain pen – how lovely! I received three beautiful mechanical pencils from Daly’s pen shop, and pen nib earrings for Tilly Bloom etsy store. We readers and writers are thrilled by the strangest things, aren’t we?

  5. Aw, what a sweet gift! My husband likes to read, but I always try to get him to be more of a “reader” the way I am… where sleep, TV, eating and all of those things can get thrown aside if the book is good enough 🙂

    I’m glad the day was pleasant for you!

  6. And that is what Christmas is all about. Not “the day,” not the mad rush but the treasure, knowing what the treasure is and giving and sharing it.
    Lovely (true) story.

    Merry merry Christmas, B and to your husband, too!

  7. What a great surprise for your husband – hand-picked books for his own personal library. Next time you’ll have to bring him to the store with you … you know, “teach a man to fish” and all that 🙂

    Enjoy all your Christmas gifts and each other!

  8. Merry belated Christmas, Becca — and happy new year, too. Now that I’m able to catch up a bit!

    I love, dearly love, this story. And it’s a totally fabulous idea! Isn’t it cool how sometimes the best presents don’t cost the most ($25 is amazing); it’s what they do for someone — connecting to their passion, especially a newfound one; the thoughtfulness behind it… it’s the best! He’s a lucky guy.

    Merry Happy, my friend!

  9. That sounds like a perfect Christmas! That was such a great idea for your husband. My husband and sons (19 and 21) are not big readers (yet!). But, I’m still working on them. My husband does read some — mostly nonfiction (true crime, biography, etc.). However, I bought him all four in the John Updike “Rabbit” series, which he has mentioned a couple of times. I’m anxious to see what he thinks. Of course, I received some very nice books for Christmas myself! Happy Reading!!

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