I always start decorating my house for Christmas the week of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. It takes me several weeks to get my house in the festive spirit and I am happy to say that I finished decorating this year rather early (early for me): the entire house was done by November 30. I was filled with Christmas spirit and wanted a light, leisurely feel-good Christmas read so I grabbed the latest Christmas collection in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I had never read such a collection before, yet I knew what they were like. Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas! 101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun, and Wonder of the Holidays was 406 pages of delightful Christmas stories covering a variety of topics, such as Christmas miracles, Christmas and pets, bittersweet Christmas memories and holiday hijinks. Whether a happy story or bittersweet, the tears flowed copiously in It's Christmas! It did seem overwrought, how much crying there was in all of these stories. The humour was however more abundant and I had a chuckle over the following spelling error:
"There were candles in the widows." (from "Clay Baby Christmas").
One of my favourite stories told of the generosity of neighbours at Christmastime. In "It Takes a Village", after the family dog ate the twenty-pound turkey meant for a feast for thirty guests, neighbours went up and down the streets asking families for dinner donations. Some donated a drumstick, a wing and so on, each family giving up a turkey part so that one family and their guests could enjoy a Christmas dinner of their own. I also enjoyed "The Stinky Gift that Kept on Giving", about a joky exchange of a jar of limburger cheese that lasted for eighteen years.
The stories in It's Christmas! were not long, only three to four pages each. Cartoons separated each themed chapter. For a lightweight read to put you in the Christmas spirit, read this or any Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas collection.