Happy Holidays!

Josie Leavitt - December 24, 2009

On  Christmas Eve, we are taking a moment to wish all our ShelfTalker readers a very Merry Christmas (no matter what you celebrate, there’s something lovely about the country taking a holiday together). Our holiday shopping season has been hectic, fun, profitable and exhausting. Our editor at PW asked if we could somehow corral our staff into the holiday section to take a photo. Well, getting everyone in one festive spot was impossible today, we were so busy. So here is the hard-working staff (minus Kelly, who was off today) behind the counter, wrapping and ringing up customers. What you can’t see is that for the photo, all were singing Christmas carols.

 From left, we have Emily Raabe, our very first employee, who helps out every holiday season when she comes home to visit family. Next are J.P. Schittina and Darrilyn Peters, who have been with us since our move to Shelburne in 2006. Finally, meet our newest wonderful staff member, Sandy First. These women have worked tirelessly this holiday season and made our store a fun and knowledgeable place to shop.

Here is a rare picture of the two of us, Josie and Elizabeth, during a holiday lull.  The Santa hat is a fixture for Josie until Christmas Day, when she retires it until the next year.

Josie hopes that everyone gets a book (or two, or three) that they have time to read and enjoy during the holidays. Here’s to a 2010 filled with great books that haven’t been discovered yet.

Elizabeth wants to share two brief stories, one old and one new, which encompass the spirit of generosity and connection one hopes the holidays celebrate and encourage.

The newer story is from 2005, and involves a humpback whale trapped by fishing lines and heavy crab pots. Not only was the rope wound tightly around the whale (who had also swallowed some of it), but the weight of the crab pots (hundreds of pounds) made surfacing to breathe very difficult for the whale. Rescue divers dared the risks of working so close to the large creature, and carefully used curved knives to cut away the ropes and traps. When the whale was finally free, instead of immediately fleeing, it swam around in what seemed like joyous circles, cavorting like a happy puppy, then went up to each diver, nudging him gently, as if taking time to thank each man for saving its life. One diver mentioned the creature looking deeply into his eyes with its one great eye. There are so many mysteries and wonders in life, and animals continually provide examples of them. I’ve always wondered why humans have so much trouble acknowledging the intelligence of animals and their ability to connect with us. Stories like these are a gift, and a reminder of the great importance of our stewardship of and relationship with all living creatures.

The older story is a family favorite, and took place many Christmases ago in a townhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona. The family had gathered to exchange gifts on Christmas morning, and our littlest family member was baby Fred. Freddy was about fifteen months old, maybe a year and a half, and all morning, he had been delighted by the opening of gifts with their fun wrapping paper and contents. After breakfast, everything had been tidied up, and my sister was doing a last bit of reconnaisance around the tree. She came upon one last gift that had been overlooked. "Baby Fred! This one’s for you!" she said, holding out the box with its bright red paper. Baby Fred looked at it, then around himself. There was nothing there, just the rug he was sitting on. His little brow furrowed, and he looked worried. Then he took off his shoe and held it out to my sister. He clearly wanted to give her something in exchange for the gift she was handing him, having observed all morning the customs of Christmas. There was something so beautiful about that small gesture of care and its embodiment of the spirit of giving. I think of it every year at this time.

Here’s to all creatures great and small, and their beguiling, ineffable, miraculous selves. And that includes you. Cheers! And thanks for a wonderful nine months of reading and commenting on our posts.

2 thoughts on “Happy Holidays!

  1. T.A.

    Merry Christmas! Great stories 🙂 I read a version of “The Gift of the Magi” to my daughter’s class, and they all understood why the most foolish among us would be the wisest of all.


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