Behind glass and in a weathered frame, an embroidered sampler hangs on my office wall. It’s dated 1883. On the left side is a simple Christmas tree outlined in green thread and highlighted with ornaments and candles; on the right is an embroidered Scrooge quote from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”
Its charming style suggests the work of young hands learning embroidery. Years ago, I bought it in an out-of-the-way antique shop in Pennsylvania, where we lived at the time, as a Christmas present for my mother in California. With her love of both Christmas and children, it seemed to call her name For three decades she had it on her living room wall, returning it to me as a gift a few years ago when she took ill.
Its message is the one I need this year. While holiday music plays, festive decorations abound, wintry weather nips, and gift ideas and special programming work to nudge me toward holiday cheer, my (continue reading →)