Monday, December 23, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A few years ago, I read about a family who, on Christmas morning, woke up to find new books on the ends of their beds.  Instead of the mad rush down the stairs to see what Santa had brought them, they celebrated Christmas morning snuggled up in bed, immersed in the wonder of a new book. 

I loved this idea--so much, in fact, that this is what my family now does.  Although we often travel to visit family on the holidays, making our traditions rather inconsistent, the one thing that has remained consistent over the last few years has been waking up to books.

For me, this tradition made perfect sense.  Both books and the season of Christmas are things of wonder and possibility.  When you open a new book, you are opening up yourself to the new ideas within the book, to unexplored lands and stories, to infinite possibilities.  Christmas, and even more broadly, the midwinter turn back toward light, is a similar time of wonder, of finding hope and light in unexpected places, of marveling at warmth and love in the middle of the cold.

Whatever you are celebrating this winter, we hope you find the wonder and hope of the holidays in your life--with family and friends, with carols and cookies, with candles and twinkling lights, and with the stories of wonderful books, new and old.  We will be taking the rest of this week off here at Fantasy Matters, since many of us are spending time with family and friends--but we will catch you back here on December 30th!

In the meantime, here is an art installation at the Bristol Public Library that does a lot to capture the sense of wonder that makes books so magical:

This exhibit does a wonderful job of capturing the magic that happens simply when you open a book.  What I particularly enjoy about this installation is the way that the books respond to visitors, showing how the interaction between reader and text is a two-way street.  Certainly, we are affected by the stories we read, but the way we understand these same stories changes depending on who we are.  Rusty Squid, the team who designed the installation, captured the interactivity between reader and text perfectly, showing how reading a book is what brings it to life.

Happy holidays, everyone!

By Jen Miller