About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

A Christmas Dream Turned
Nightmare Turned Reality?

The barrage of Black Friday ads on TV prompted me to think of a story I read years ago in a wonderful series called Best in Children's Books. It's called Christmas Every Day, and it was written in 1892 by William Dean Howells. It's a morality tale of sorts, written in a style that's as dispassionate as Hello Kitty stories are cutesy-ootsy. The story is about an acquisitive little girl who comes to regret her wish for more, more, more. The story is told by a father to his own little girl, who is equally acquisitive.

One day of Christmas is wonderful, of course, and even two days of Christmas is mighty fine. But as Christmas marches on through Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July and Labor Day, the joy of wrapping and giving gifts becomes a millstone. Gifts that are to be presented nicely are thrown over the fence. Daily holiday feasts send the price of turkey and cranberries skyrocketing. People are sent to the poorhouse until the overflowing poorhouse sends them back.

A magazine editor and a prolific author, William Dean Howells wrote in a style called realism. I once read Christmas Every Day to a fourth grade class. After I was done, a little boy fearfully asked me if the story really happened. That's how good Howells was.

Kids today might not recognize things like tongs and Turkish paste that were given as gifts in 1892, but the principle remains the same. More, more, more sounds like a dream come true. Until it becomes too much. And that happens sooner than you think. Especially with Black Friday inching farther and farther up the calendar.

Read Christmas Every Day at Project Gutenberg. And there are a number of places online where you can find Best in Children's Books --  a vintage anthology of children's fiction, biographies, science, history, and geography. 

Illustrations by Elizabeth Enright from Best in Children's Books, 1959.

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