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Monday, April 19, 2021

Finding the Perfect Christmas Book in a Secret Stash

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In my favorite instagram bio my friends described me as “artiste”:

If you missed me, that was part of the job. When I wasn’t directing comedy acts to students while continuing my satirical semi-academic experiment the League of Women Voters, I was constantly consuming literature, a transformative experience that my friends are pretty sure happened in high school.

But what I’m mostly talking about are Christmas books, a compulsive act which continues to infuse my family’s rituals with a certain bit of Christmas magic. Whenever we’re faced with renting a house and stockings, choosing between getting LED green roof lights or Christmas lighted crayons, it’s hard not to start a pile up of books.

At home in New York, the crates of books fill every room, shutting down the wall with a kind of cinematic surveillance that feels like it would be in a spy movie. I’ve never spent more time searching for books than at home. I sometimes research down to the keyboard level, combing through micro-urls for something interesting I came across or posting to Facebook a must-have eBook for Christmas on an impulse. I actually have started my Instagram account to browse through and name bookmarks that just spark joy, especially in the middle of the day. I’ve loved writing these bookmarks and searching them out as my own project, finally able to see the joy and pleasure they bring into my life.

When we were having trouble finding the perfect Christmas book for this year, I bought a collection from Amazon and my friend Tanya said that since I’m so similar to her, she would rather pass on the books, looking like a bad gift if I took them for my secondhand collection. I was mad at her but we worked it out.

It’s not the books themselves that evoke Christmas magic, but the unique way I’ve been able to envision them at home: everything on the shelves are some variation of books I remember reading. The very essence of Christmas is having to share it with others, whether that’s on store shelves or bookshelves, so I feel like I’m part of the gift when I give this creative gift. I’ve been traveling for a little over a month now and I’ve encountered some pretty cool people whom I’ve not only met, but for whose libraries I’ve become addicted to over time.

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