Writer Wednesday: Christmas Decor

This month’s Writer Wednesday topic, appropriately enough, is “Show Us Your Christmas Decor.” I almost passed, because I just don’t decorate any more.

WW December

I live alone. Well, I live with a cat, but if she observes any feline holidays, she hasn’t shared them with me. And frankly, I think she’s too lazy to decorate, too.

Somewhere in a big red and green plastic box in my cedar closet there’s a fiber-optic table-top Christmas tree. I haven’t pulled it out in years, and have no idea whether or not it still works. Don’t care.

Christmas Bear

I don’t care about the tangled outdoor lights, or the wreath, or the assorted oddments from Christmases past. I have lots of memories, but the people in them are mostly gone now.

No, I’m not feeling morose, although the holidays are different for folks with no close family. We may prefer to put our feet up and settle in with a good book, foregoing most of the trappings of the season.


But just when I was about to tell the other Wednesday Writers that I wasn’t joining in this month, I changed my mind. I carried my plush Thanksgiving turkey out of the living room and came back with my plush reindeer, my Santa Bear (who reads aloud from Twas the Night Before Christmas), and my Christmas sweater bear. They all wish you (and me) a Merry Christmas (or the holiday of your choice, of course).

Santa Bear

Please visit my Wednesday Writer friends, Tamra Baumann, Priscilla Oliveras, Jean Willett, and Sharon Wray, to see their Christmas decor—I’m willing to bet they’ll all have more to show you than I do!

Writer Wednesday: Favorite Holiday Books

Our Writer Wednesday assignment for November is “Tell us your favorite holiday books.” That’s a WW Novemberno-brainer for me: In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. What, that doesn’t sound like the holidays to you? Well, four of the five stories that Jean Shepherd turned into my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story, came from that collection. (The fifth came from Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and other disasters.)

“Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid” gave the movie its core, driven by Ralphie’s passionate desire for a “Red Ryder BB gun with a special Red Ryder sight and a compass in the stock with a sundial.” We hear about the Old Man’s battle with the furnace, Ralphie’s lofty expectations for his “What I Want For Christmas” theme, his visit to Santa Claus, Aunt Clara’s abominable bunny costume, and his broken glasses. I never lusted after an air rifle, but I sure can identify with the theme writing and the broken glasses.

The episode of the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, with its high anticipation and deep betrayal as Ralphie discovers the true meaning of the secret message, comes from “The Counterfeit Secret Circle Member Gets the Message, or the Asp Strikes Again.” The arrival and demise of the notorious leg lamp is described in “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award that Heralded the Birth of Pop Art.” Ralphie’s epic battle with the neighborhood bully plays out in “Grover Dill and the Tasmanian Devil.” (Fun fact for fans of the film: Scut Farkas character was added for the movie, with Grover Dill demoted to toady. Scut did appear in another story, “Scut Farkas and the Murderous Mariah” in the
Wanda Hickey collection.) The destruction of the Christmas turkey is adapted from “The Grandstand Passion Play of Delbert and the Bumpus Hounds,” also in Wanda Hickey, in which the neighbors’ dogs destroyed the Parkers’ Easter ham.

All of Jean Shepherd’s writing was sharp and hilarious. My copies are old paperbacks, with small print and brittle yellow pages, that once belonged to my mother, who introduced me to Shepherd. I remember reading the Bumpus hounds’ story aloud to my late husband when he was ill, interrupted by frequent laughter. (The two of us also watched the movie every year, a habit I have continued.)

Writing this piece has made me think about the complexities of weaving several stories together into A Christmas Storya film that has become a Christmas classic. The five stories have been reprinted in one volume, A Christmas Story: The Book that Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film. I want to reread them (and admire Shepherd’s skill in adapting them) without struggling with those old paperbacks (I actually have new glasses on order; they might handle the small print, but they won’t do much for the brittle yellow pages or cracked binding), so I’m downloading the Christmas Story edition to my Kindle to reread during the holidays.

Do you have a holiday book you love and reread? Visit some other Wednesday Writers, Tamra Baumann, Lauren Christopher, Natalie Meg Evans, Jean Willett, and Sharon Wray,
and discover their holiday favorites.

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