December 20, 2013

A Modest Suggestion


Know anyone getting a tablet or ebook reader for Christmas? Woody (adorably pictured above) has two helpful ideas for spreading bookish good cheer:


1) The Indian Shirt Story makes a great quick, inexpensive gift for readers of all sorts. Really. Buy it on Amazon and have it delivered through cyberspace—whoosh!—just like that.


December 15, 2013

The “German” Pickle Ornament




Germany has given us some first-rate Christmas traditions. The Christmas tree, for starters. The advent calendar. The gingerbread house.

It did not, I am quite certain, give us the Christmas pickle.

“I see the pickle!” my mother’s next-door-neighbor announced when she came to admire my mother’s tree.

“Heather bought that,” my mom replied, completely missing the reference. This is a solid clue, by the way: a woman who has celebrated well over eighty Christmases—someone whose father’s parents emigrated from Germany—but who is totally unfamiliar with the German pickle tradition. I’d never heard of it, either, at the time I bought her the ornament. I just liked the green color, and the fat, bumpy, vegetable absurdity of a cucumber on the Christmas tree. (more…)