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Best Christmas Book Ever

Article Published by The Statesman Journal/Print 

“The Best Christmas Book Ever”

By C.M. O’Connor

 My family has always loved Christmas books. At the beginning of December, my mother would bring out two big boxes that contained all of our holiday books and my mother was forced to read them aloud over and over. Our favorite Christmas books have always been one of the ways my family comes together at Christmas, but one more than any other.

When I was six, I decided I was tired of all the old Christmas stories. I was going to make my own. As the most published first-grader at my school, I was sure that I wouldn’t have any problem - even if Christmas was only a day away.  After all, I had Storybook Weaver, the best floppy-disk game in history. I could choose from an endless array of pictures, borders, and fonts to make it look perfect. The only obstacle was that I needed the computer, which my dad was using for work. So I asked him “is it my turn yet?” until he decided he might get more work done when I was asleep.

Finally seated at the computer, I was ready. Only I had a new problem: I had no idea what to write it about. I’d already done endless stories on our pets, the highlight of which was a particularly riveting one about our lizards. Faced with the magnitude of creating the best Christmas book ever, animals weren’t good enough. I encountered a writer’s worst nightmare: writer’s block.

After ten minutes of deafening, suspicious silence, my mother checked on me just in time to prevent a melt down. Time was ticking away and I didn’t even have a title. Thankfully, my mother is very sympathetic, even towards her first-grader with an early onset of perfectionism and an exaggerated sense of impending world fame. Did I want to write about my Christmas tree? Boring. The cat? The cat was mean. The awesome Christmas present I had gotten my older brother? Yes! Abetted by my father, I had bought and was hiding a gerbil in my room for my older brother. An amazing story would guide him to it!

I spent the next twenty minutes furiously typing a story about a boy who had to run around the house, go outside, search the basement, and finally realize that the best toys were always in his sisters’ room. My sister even donated her computer time so I could finish my masterpiece.

The next morning, my book was under the Christmas tree. My brother wasn’t the most excited when he first saw it - he’d read the lizard story. But then he opened it and realized that was just the beginning. He ran around the house, went outside, searched the basement, and finally went into my room. There was the most perfect, amazing, and unexpected ivory gerbil. It was the best Christmas present I’ve ever given him and he even agreed it was the best Christmas book ever too.  

 C.M. O’Connor is an abide reader and a Reading for All volunteer in Marion County.  She can be reached at mcarolyn.oconnor@gmail.com.