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Christmas Festival at the Mason Library - nhpeacenik
Christmas Festival at the Mason Library
I was invited to help out with the Mason town library's Christmas celebration for children this morning. All in all, it was a pleasant experience. Denise and the other library staff had set up crafts stations and play areas throughout the small building that houses the library and the town hall, but the children were not supposed to start their projects until a "special visitor" had made his appearance at 10:30.

At 10:00 sharp, carloads of moms and kids began to arrive, and I invited them to sit in a circle and sing some Christmas songs. We had a supply of little rings of jingle bells, a couple of bigger bells, and song sheets, and I had a couple of pennywhistles to start the tunes.

This being a public library, I was cautioned to sing only secular "carols". I tend to think that celebrating the birth of a religious figure without mentioning his name would be very odd indeed if we weren't so used to it.

The children were enthusiastic, and we sang the usual tunes about the non-serious sleighing accident, the magically-animated snowman, the Tannenbaum, the Yule log, and, of course, snow. I was asked to explain what a "blazing yule" was, and I found it wonderful to be able to talk from my own childhood experiences about enormous fireplaces with their wrought-iron cranes and 6-foot backlogs, about fire-roasted apples and cider. One of the staff read a book about "How to make a Snow man". We closed with a dramatic enactment of the "Twelve Days of Christmas".

The "special visitor" was a local man who, every year for perhaps twenty years, had made a point of dressing in top-hat and tails and doing a theatrical reading of "A Visit from Saint Nicholas". During his explanation of the unusual words in the story-poem, he asked if any of the children had mice in their houses, and every hand was raised. One girl said, "We have flying squirrels in our house. Last night one flew down and landed in the middle of the wall. He stayed still until after we went to bed and in the morning we saw the claw-marks where he had been." It seems that in this rural community, even children in standard, presentable houses have the same first-hand experiences of other species that we do in our drafty handmade house.

I headed off to the weekly peace vigil before the real guest-of-honor, Santa Claus, put in his appearance. As I drove into Peterborough, it started to snow, and there is a prospect of a good snow-cover by morning. Many of the children in the library this morning will be sledding and building snowmen tomorrow morning.

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From: (Anonymous) Date: December 8th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)

12 Days of Xmas

Part time! Christmas is a time when we exchange presents, moments of happiness and party with friends and relatives .
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