—by Kolleen Taylor

It’s only two more weeks to Christmas! If anyone else is feeling like this has just crept up on us….this is a warning to all of us! Decorating at the library is finished, but hasn’t begun at my own home, as I always strive for a thorough cleaning before changing out the décor. The time and energy to do that also has not appeared at my home. But, in my heart it is the season of Christmas, even if my house doesn’t look like it. And that is probably the most important part of the celebration.

Even though we have been shortened a full week, with a late Thanksgiving this year, it also means that we need to be prepared for the challenges of early dismissals, long holiday breaks, and we are gearing up to provide activities for the children and young adults of our communities. School will be dismissed at 2 p.m. on Friday the 20th of December and will be on break through January 6 this year, one of the longest Christmas holiday breaks for the teachers and the children.

This Wednesday will be last early dismissal of 2013 with special programs designed for the school-age children, tweens and teens. With snow on the ground, and the sharp cold we have been experiencing, it does feel like Christmas is truly around the corner. K.O.O.L. (Kids Of Our Library), our school-age program, will be doing a "Holly, Jolly Scavenger Hunt", around the library on Wednesday afternoon, using a Christmas theme to locate items in the library. The tweens and teens will be working together building Gingerbread Houses, with Shelly and Denise working together to supervise and instruct. Frosting, candies and candy canes will make the library smell like Christmas, and we hope only the houses will be decorated at the end of the afternoon.

During the holidays, there will be many opportunities to explore the library board games, the puzzles, and other traditional cold weather indoor activities. Denise has also created a new Adult challenge for the winter months. "The 12 Days of Christmas Reading Challenge" began on November 15 and ends on January 15. Each of the 12 books read need to match up to the themes as explained on the flyer, available at the circulation desk. For example, one of the books must match up to…. "And a Partridge in a Pear Tree: Read a book that has a Christmas theme OR a tree on it’s cover".

So if the cold weather and Christmas preparations have you feeling like it’s time to slow down, just find a comfy, warm place to curl up and relax. If you are "booked out", and need to unwind, check out one of our puzzles, or a holiday movie. And if the Christmas tunes you hear in your home are starting to feel like fingernails on a chalkboard, come see the selections we have at the library, and do a musical upgrade before the holidays are past.

But most of all, find time to embrace the real purpose of Christmas. Cherish your family and friends. Show them you love them and you truly care in other ways. Hot chocolate on a cold night, extra hugs watching a Christmas movie, and sharing memories of years gone by. Celebrate with a song in your heart, and share the season with those you love.