The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Christmas – It’s Jesus Birthday

Posted on: December 15, 2006

I always feel vaguely out of place when I spend Christmas in Canada. The office Christmas parties; the Santas; the purchasing of the real Christmas trees; the obligatory watching of Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer and Santa is Coming to  Town. The litbloggers mentioning their favourite Christmas books, present and past.

For me in Jamaica Christmas was primarily a religious affair. There was the food too, the gifts and the trip to the country to visit Grandpa, but none of it had a secular tinge. I did not work so I did not have that party scene. By the time I  was allowed to go to parties I had transferred to boarding school and my mother, aunt and little brother had moved to the capital. I knew no one there my age besides the kids who attended Church; I never mingled with them much because I was only in town for major holidays.

I feel vaguely out of place but not doleful. I miss my family and the Jamaican food, but not much else. I don’t do the Jesus thing anymore so that is neither here nor there. I have seen all of the usual Christmas shows before so it is not strange to be dragged downstairs in order to observe what for some is a ritual (even if I am horrified at the rampant sexism in Rudolph ;)). And I don’t need to find Christmas tales whether Canadian or Jamaican.

What I do need are books. Many, many books. That is what Christmas means to me, spent away from family. I do the usual partying with friends and will have one here on Christmas day. But before and after, until the new school year, I have the house to myself with books piled high. Last December I re-read two Harry Potters, read I, Coriander (2005 Nestle book award winner) and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man while eyeing Sun Also Rises.

This December is a bit more adult (ha). My Name is Red peeks out from beside my bedside table. One or two London Review of Books issues are trying to deal with bits of marmalade on their covers. (Not sure how that happened.) The Hills Were Joyful Together rests inside one of my bags. Art as Experience was just rescued from the Book Oblivion between bedside and wall.

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