December 10, 2013 - January 12, 2014
Lovingly assembled by shareholder Nannette Herrick over the years, this display of Christmas books spanned nearly two centuries of volumes and featured many rare and exquisite examples of holiday literary fare. This exhibit was installed in the Rovensky Delivery Room vitrines and was open to the public whenever the Library was open.
Nannette's words on the exhibition:
My love of Christmas has never wavered. Christmas to me is about rituals, things that sadly seem to get stored away at the end of the season, like ornaments and stockings, and brought out again only in December for old and young to enjoy.
Washington Irving’s Squire Bracebridge thought that Christmas seemed the time “to throw open every door, and unlock every heart.” I heartily agree.
Growing up in New York City and on Long Island our rituals remained happily the same: cut down and decorate the tree; hope for snow and a white Christmas; sleigh-riding and snow ball fights; sing carols (indeed have them playing throughout the house for days), and certainly all watch Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on television. The story seemed new to us again each year. It was not until I was thirteen, however, that my father suggested I actually read the book before our annual viewing. I was hooked immediately and remain so, to this day, on the idea of Christmas tales.
The part of my collection that is on loan here is fairly emblematic of what is “out there” in the field of Christmas books, from the earliest one I own (1847) to the present. I collect, as does my husband George, many other books, but I still keep my eye open for Christmas books, and in case you’d like to know, I always read them. One of the things that is similar about all of these stories is that they are not written simply to entertain; they have a moral, be it compassion, generosity, humility. In the older books, the tone is more serious and the moral pointed out in a much stronger way. In the newer books, the point is usually lightly pressed home.
Finally, I like to pride myself on having found a ritual that doesn’t get “put away” for, though Christmas comes just once a year, by reading one of these stories every so often, you can keep it fresh in your heart all year long.
Nannette’s List of Thanks: George Herrick for his enthusiam and very welcome additions to the collection, Alden Tucker for her help in putting the exhibition together, and the staff of the Redwood Library for their support.