Back in another part of my life, I once asked a friend named Jack about what he and his family did to celebrate Christmas. I was curious. Growing up Jewish in America, I knew plenty about the sort of Christmas they offered up on TV or sang about in holiday concerts. But the real Christmas? Everybody did it a little differently, right?
So I asked Jack, who was then a well-respected attorney, a Vietnam War veteran, a dad, and, I might add, my boss. “Do you do anything special every year?”
Turns out, he did, and one of his traditions has stuck with me all these years. Yes, Jack’s family exchanged gifts on Christmas Day, like a gazillion other folks I assume. But they also gave books to each other on Christmas Eve. Books. Oh, the wonder! They gave one another a piece of the stories of the world as told by us all, to entertain or to contemplate, and to engage with before the gadgets and gizmos, the handmade doodads and the store-bought duds.
Books. If I had to pick one tradition for Christmas, that would be it. Thanks, Jack. Are you out there? Here’s a photo of me and one of my grandsons on a double date with some enthralling characters. Merry Christmas to you and yours.