I realize I am going out on a limb to assume you have a tree. (Pause for raucous laughter.) That is to say, I am assuming for the moment that you have brought in some sort of tree to make the house look more festive and holidayish. I suppose I am way behind on technology, and houses now come with a computer system which can change your wall décor at a tap, and provide you with a fireplace complete with burning Yule log, a tree that brushes the ceiling, and gentle tones of Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond’s Christmas albums. However, for the sake of trimming this blog with merriment, let us assume you have gone old school and have set up a tree, be it wood, aluminum, or stainless steel.
Now you need to decorate the thing. Some people have their ornaments all planned, of course: that little red wagon has to be put just where it has been for the last fifty years, and the little eyeless fish made of ribbon needs to go right at the top, by the star. That is the way it always has been, and no power on earth is going to make you change.
But there are people who seek a new theme for their tree every year and, as I was looking at another reprint of The Grammar of Ornament today, I realized that Uncle Blogsy can once again leap to your assistance. What should a loyal Newberry follower use to decorate those boughs and branches with but books?
One person I mentioned this to had her doubts. “Oh yeah?” said she, “Are you going to put Cujo, It, and Carrie up there to suggest the Three Kings?”
You see the problem: you’ll want to select your books carefully to give everything the right tone. I could maybe find you a few copies of Alan King’s Anybody Who Owns His Own Home Deserves It, if you like. Or perhaps you could use a few of the popular Morris and Boris books by Bernard Wiseman. Add a couple of copies of Moon Shot, by Alan Shepard, and a book illustrated by Fritz Kredel, and you’re well on your way.
Of course, you will want to string copies of The Popcorn Report through the needles, unless you were going to feature a Judy Garland this year. Just remember to apply a generous collection of romances, westerns, and mysteries. Light reading, you see: no tree can have too much…oh, you got that.
We have books by Sheila Pickles, if you have the tradition of a pickle on the tree (first person to see the pickle on Christmas Day gets a wish, or so they tell me. We’d have eaten it, along with most of the popcorn, long before the stockings were filled.) I could supply a copy or two of William Goldman’s Tinsel. In and among these, you could hang, oh, The Glass Key, The Glass Menagerie, The Silver Chair, The Cardinal, The Gold Bug…the possibilities are endless.
Now for the tree topper, we are again confronted by tradition. Are you from a family which would put up the autobiography of Ringo Starr, or a book by Maya Angelou? Or hey, how about a VHS copy of Angels in the Outfield? We could…no, if we start in on videocassettes, we might be here picking things out all day instead of decorating the tree. And who wants a Christmas tree held up by tape?
(Another pause for raucous laughter. I don’t know why I keep pausing for it when it never comes. Maybe for Christmas.)