By Kristen S. Bourgault (Recycled from December 2013, Edition 2)
Illustrated by Bob Berry
Every year on Christmas Eve after dinner at my parents’ house, we settle around the lit Christmas tree and read ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Their copy of the book isn’t fancy or leather-bound, but rather an oversized, three-foot-tall coloring book that was started by my parents the year they were married. The coloring is not complete—many pages were left unfinished, abandoned as the years of parenthood wore on, and after 30 years of continued reading, some pages have started to fall out and tear.
Still, every single year, no matter who has been invited as a dinner guest, or who stopped by at the last minute, or who surprised us from out of town, we go around the room taking turns reading pages. As our families have grown, younger readers would struggle with the words, older readers would strain to see the pages across the room and jubilant guests who’d had too much wine over dinner would stumble over the words with laughter. And throughout the years of repetition of this small and simple activity, memories were created. You cannot envision my parents’ house on Christmas Eve without bringing to mind that ratty old book. And while many of us could recite it by heart, we still pull it out year after year and come together in that moment, to read the written story while creating a story of our own.
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