Every year, I lug out a festive holiday container filled with Christmas books I have collected over the years. I bought the container when my daughter was small, and each year I added a Christmas book or two to the collection. Of course, I am past the capacity of the festive holiday container, so a rather plain paper box contains the rest of my collection. Each year, long after my daughter is young enough to really want to do so, I read aloud from that stash of books. When I read aloud one of the books, I feel all her childhood Christmases rush back at me. The one book that says Christmas to me is The Mouse’s Christmas. I am afraid an English professor might not consider it a classic, but it withstands time for me.
The story is simple, a Mother Mouse is trying to make Christmas for her children. Of course, being children, they want the impossible….a Christmas tree of their very own in their small mouse house. The Mother, after hearing a lot of gloomy lamenting, promises to do her best to find her children a Christmas tree. The mother tries to come up with something that kind of looks like a tree, a small leafless branch that she decorates. Of course, it does not look like a real Christmas tree, so her children are disappointed. Then a wonderful series of events happens, the tree a farmer has chosen is too big, so he trims it. A fox came along and takes part of the trimmings, but it is too big, so she drops a part, a rabbit comes along and takes part, and then a bird comes along, and takes a part, until all is left is just one tiny little part that looks like a small Christmas tree. Ah, now we all know what happens. Mother Mouse takes this small part home and decorates it, and her children have a much wanted and much loved Christmas tree.
I read this book aloud to my daughter over and over again. I related to that poor Mother who was trying to make Christmas special. I felt I was wholly responsible for my child having a wonderful Christmas with fond childhood memories. My daughter just liked the story, but I felt a connection to Mother Mouse. So every Christmas, whether my daughter wants to hear the story or not, I bring out a much battered copy of Mouse Christmas.
My collection of Christmas books are a testimony to all the holidays of her childhood. My Christmas really begins with the tradition of bringing those books out of storage. This year, our Christmas books have a new home, as we begin a new set of Christmas memories. All the characters in all the books will once again come to life in the glow of a decorated Christmas tree. I will continue to feel blessed as we share a collection of much loved and much read Christmas books.