1. Favorite Christmas Ritual—Since early in our marriage, Doug and I (and our two children when they were younger) have gone out to cut our own Christmas tree each year. I always lose my sense of proportion when outside, so we invariably come home with a tree too tall or too big around. And my husband always swears we won’t do this again, since it’s his back that gets the hard end of the deal. This year was no exception, but at least we have a very high ceiling in our log cabin to accommodate a large tree.
2. Favorite Christmas Song—“Lullay Thou Little Tiny Child,” also known as “The Coventry Carol.”
3. Favorite Christmas Picture Book—THE LITTLE FIR TREE by Margaret Wise Brown
4. Favorite Christmas Gift I’ve Given—For the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, Good Housekeeping Magazine sponsored a contest for an embroidered picture that depicted something about our American Heritage. Since I loved to embroider, I decided to enter. However, I work slowly, so when the deadline passed, the picture became a Christmas gift for my grandmother, inspired by a cradle built back in 1864 for the birth of her mother, Edith Call (for whom I was named). The cradle was shared by her younger siblings and passed down through multiple generations. I myself slept in it. The picture included the first stanza of a narrative poem written by my great grandmother’s older sister (who did not get to sleep in the cradle) and entitled “Eda’s Cradle.” The gift brought tears to my grandmother’s eyes, and I remember her holding it in her lap all of Christmas Day. After she died, my grandfather returned it to me, and it now hangs in my guest room.
5. Favorite Christmas Gift I’ve Received—The Christmas I was ten or eleven, I received a Magic Designer, also known as a “Hoot Nanny.” That particular Christmas our entire family was sick with bad colds, so we spent all day in our pajamas, making elaborate hoot nanny designs and coloring them with my new set of colored pencils. I saved the hoot nanny, and my own children spent many happy hours creating their own designs.
6. Favorite Christmas Scene from a Children’s Book—The final chapter of THE GOOD MASTER by Kate Seredy