"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
 

Nine Days to Christmas: Silver and Gold

From “The Mouse and the Moonbeam” by Eugene Field in The Ultimate Christmas Collection:

“Then all at once sweet music filled the air, and light, greater than the light of day, illumined the sky and fell upon all that hillside. The heavens opened, and angels, singing joyous songs, walked to the earth. More wondrous still, the stars, falling from their places in the sky, clustered upon the old olive-tree, and swung hither and thither like colored lanterns. The flowers of the hillside all awakened, and they, too, danced and sang. The angels, coming hither, hung gold and silver and jewels and precious stones upon the old olive, where swung the stars; so that the glory of that sight, though I might live forever, I shall never see again.”

From “Sery” by Richard Watson Gilder in The Ultimate Christmas Collection:

With wild surprise
Four great eyes
In two small heads,
From neighboring beds
Looked out — and winked —
And glittered and blinked
At a very queer sight
In the dim starlight.
As plain as can be

A fairy tree Flashes and glimmers
And shakes and shimmers.
Red, green and blue
Meet their view;
Silver and gold
Their sharp eyes behold….

From “At Home with Elves” in The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch:

“Because the world of the elves is closely bound up with our own, it is in our own best interests to stay on the good side of these mysterious creatures. In the old days, this might mean the pouring of milk, blood, and even gifts of gold and silver into their earthen houses. Nowadays, it can be as simple as showing kindness and respect to a stranger, because you just never know…. They have always been a part of Christmas, even if their feast was originally held in October.”







Ten Days to Christmas: Peace! and Birds and Beasts!

From “A Christmas Inspiration” by Lucy Maud Montgomery in A Vintage Christmas: A Collection of Classic Stories and Poems:

“And over all the beautiful city was wafted the grand old message of peace on earth and good will to all the world.”

From “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” in A Christmas Carol and Other Writings by Charles Dickens:

“[The] cloud was again dispelled, and a rich and beautiful landscape was disclosed to view…. The sun shone from out the clear blue sky, the water sparkled beneath his rays, and the trees looked greener, and the flowers more gay, beneath his cheering influence. The water rippled on, with a pleasant sound, the trees rustled in the light wind that murmured among their leaves, the birds sang upon the boughs, and the lark carolled on high, her welcome to the morning. Yes, it was morning; the minutest leaf, the smallest blade of grass, was instinct with life.”

From “Who Stole the Tarts?” in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, edited by Donald J. Gray:

“The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them, in chains, with a soldier on each side to guard him, and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other. In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them….”








Merry Christmas!!!

From A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd:

“Santa was sliding me off his knee and toward the red chute, and I could see behind me another white-faced kid bobbing upward.

“‘I want a Red Ryder BB gun with a special Red Ryder sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial!’ I shouted.

“‘HO-HO-HO! YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT, KID. HO-HO-HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!’

“Down the chute I went….”


“Dawn came. As the gray light crept around the shades and over the quilt, I was suddenly and tinglingly awake. Stealthily I dressed in my icy maroon corduroy knickers, my sheepskin coat, and my plaid sweater. I pulled on my high-tops and found my mittens, crept through the dark living room, fragrant with Christmas tree, and out onto the porch. Inside the house the family slept the sleep of the just and the fulfilled.

“During the night a great snow had fallen, covering the gritty remains of past snowfalls. The trees hung rich and heavy with fluffy down…. Overnight the temperature had dropped thirty degrees or more, and the brittle, crackling air was still and clean, and it hurt the lungs to breathe it. The temperature stood at perhaps fifteen to twenty below zero, cold enough to make the telephone wires creak and groan in agony. From the eaves of the front porch gnarled crystal icicles stretched all the way to the drifts on the buried lawn.

“I trudged down the steps, barely discernible in the soft fluff, and now I stood in the clean air, ready to consummate my great, long, painful, ecstatic love affair. Brushing the snow off the third step, I propped up a gleaming Red Ryder target, the black rings and bull’s-eye standing out starkly against the snowy whiteness. Above the bull’s-eye Red Ryder watched me, his eyes following my every move. I backed off into the snow a good twenty feet, slammed the stock down onto my left kneecap, holding the barrel with my mittened left hand, flipped the mitten off my right and, hooking my fingers in the icy carbine lever, cocked my blue-steel buddy for the first time. I heard the BB click down into the chamber; the spring inside twanged sharply, and with a clunk she rested taut, hard, and loaded in my chapped, rapidly bluing hands.

“For the first time I sighted down over that cold barrel, the heart-shaped rear sight almost brushing my nose and the blade of the front sight wavering back and forth, up and down, and finally coming to rest sharply, cutting the heart and laying dead on the innermost ring. Red Ryder didn’t move a muscle, his Stetson flaring out above the target as he waited. Slowly I squeezed the frosty trigger.”


Below I’ve accumulated all my photo galleries from this year’s “Days to Christmas” series. Click the links above each gallery if you would like to see the original posts and the quotations I selected to go with them. 

Thanks for reading, and taking a look … and:

Merry Christmas!!!


Ten Days to Christmas: Peace … and Glitter!






Nine Days to Christmas: Nutcrackers in a Truck, Paperwhites in a Vase, One Tiny Duck




Eight Days to Christmas: Red and Green




Seven Days to Christmas: Silver and Gold





Six Days to Christmas: Shiny Baubles, Tiny Trinkets








Five Days to Christmas: A Collection of Angels and Santas





Four Days to Christmas: Winter Solstice in Silver and Blue





Three Days to Christmas: Time for Music, Time for Toys







Two Days to Christmas: Light a Candle (or Two or Three)




One Day to Christmas: Happy Christmas Eve!


One Day to Christmas: Happy Christmas Eve!

From “A Christmas Tree” in A Christmas Carol and Other Writings by Charles Dickens:

“Being now at home again … the only person in the house awake, my thoughts are drawn back, by a fascination which I do not care to resist, to my own childhood. I begin to consider, what do we all remember best upon the branches of the Christmas Tree of our own young Christmas days, by which we climbed to real life.

“Straight, in the middle of the room, cramped in the freedom of its growth by no encircling walls or soon-reached ceiling, a shadowy tree arises; and, looking up into the dreamy brightness of its top … I look into my youngest Christmas recollections!”


“Encircled by the social thoughts of Christmas time, still let the benignant figure of my childhood stand unchanged! In every cheerful image and suggestion that the season brings, may the bright star that rested above the poor roof, be the star of all the Christian world!

“If Age be hiding for me in the unseen portion of thy downward growth, O may I, with a grey head, turn a child’s heart to that figure yet, and a child’s trustfulness and confidence! Now, the tree is decorated with bright merriment, and song, and dance, and cheerfulness. And they are welcome. Innocent and welcome be they ever held, beneath the branches of the Christmas Tree, which cast no gloomy shadow!

“This, in commemoration of the law of love and kindness, mercy and compassion.”



Two Days to Christmas: Light a Candle (or Two or Three)

From “A Christmas Dream and How It Came to Be True” by Louisa May Alcott in A Vintage Christmas: A Collection of Classic Stories and Poems:

“Bells were ringing so merrily that it was hard to keep from dancing. Green garlands hung on the walls, and every tree was a Christmas tree full of toys, and blazing with candles that never went out.”

From “A College Santa Clause” by Ralph Henry Barbour in A Vintage Christmas: A Collection of Classic Stories and Poems:

“Suddenly, they found themselves in darkness, save for the firelight…. Then, one by one, the tiny candles flickered and flared bluely into flame. Some one pulled the shades from before the two windows, and the room was hushed. Outside, they could see the flakes falling, silently, steadily, between them and the electric lights that shone across the avenue. It was a beautiful, cold, still world of blue mists.”

From “A Christmas Carol” in A Christmas Carol and Other Writings by Charles Dickens:

“Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms….

“The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

“‘A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!’ cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

“‘Bah!’ said Scrooge, ‘Humbug!'”