—by Kolleen Taylor

If you saw the photos in last week’s Herald, you know that the library has had some very entertaining children’s programs going on in recent weeks. Whether they were making Christmas cards, or gingerbread houses, there has been excitement in the air! I’ve been thinking about the holiday season, and its impact on me, and I realized that I’m so grateful that I work inside a public library. We all have to grow up, but when we do, we lose some of the mystery, some of the enchantment that surrounds this holiday that is supposed to be so full of hope and love. But when you are at the library and the children surround you, you realize that the spirit of Christmas comes with the children.

As I chat with people about preparations for this year, I realize my general distaste for shopping may be a dampening quality. The excesses alarm me, and the more I am around it, the more disheartened I become. But I am very lucky to have people around who pull me into the ho-ho-ho spirit. At the library, our Assistant Director takes a very realistic approach to Christmas ( I think) and she coordinated a secret Santa exchange, which had very stringent price limits….no more than $3.00! I don’t think she knows I’ve noticed that even I’ve appreciated the thoughtfulness that has made this simple gesture something very special. It is truly the thought that counts, and it emphasizes that aspect of the exchange. I love the gifts that can be shared like potpourri that smells like Christmas, and it is fun to see how creative people are to make this a simple treasure.

One of my favorite elves also came into the library bearing gifts to share…candies, nuts and oh so much sugar. Another elf left a loaf of homemade bread. The calories we probably don’t need, but what a joy for us all to know that someone cares. And that is what this holiday seems to mean for us. It’s a season that reminds us all that we need to reach out to each other, to care for each other, to be kind, and love children, and laugh and to share. Some of us have many more blessings in this world than others, but we all can be equal when we show kindness, when we help others, and when we share some food, a song or a joy with those around us.

So as I continue to run from place to place, I’m longing for a chance to watch a good Christmas feel-good movie; " White Christmas", "It’s a Wonderful Life", or even "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"…. I need the time to shift gears and enjoy the mysteries that we have created on this earth.

Although we have books upon books about Santa Clause, Rudolph, elves and Christmas presents that make our children look at us with wonder filled eyes, the older I become, the more I see that the real gift of Christmas was sent in the form of a man who knew how to show us how we should treat each other. Love is what surrounds Christ, and what we need to give at Christmas time. The best gifts are those of time, of sharing stories, helping others, reaching out to be a friend. The enchantment began that day so many centuries ago, and continues today…and maybe that is what we see best through little children.

My wish for you is that your Christmas day included all these things. If it didn’t, come to the library, and you should find a little Christmas Cheer, a helpful smile, and hopefully a lot of kindness. You can watch the children, so full of joy with the spirit of Christmas still fresh in their minds. You can re-kindle that feeling throughout the year, coming in to the library, reading a story shared by an author you enjoy, watching a movie that makes you feel oh so good. And you will have shared that experience, that wonderful feeling again, with all those others who have read that story, or watched that movie.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christ Mas!