I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love Christmas. There’s just something almost magical about the season and I indulge in that wonder much earlier than polite society tells me is necessary. I don’t believe in ‘bad luck’ and I’m unapologetic about my enthusiasm for Santa and his band of merry reindeer, hence why the library has been decorated since mid-November.
I get that the over-commercialisation of Christmas can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Having fruit mince pies make an appearance as early as August as well as the societal pressure to spend more, buy big, and outdo the previous year’s gift can tarnish the spirit of Christmas. The joyful thing about Christmas at the library however is that commercialism is absent.
As author Neil Gaiman so famously said, “Libraries are one of the few public spaces where you’re allowed to exist without the expectation of spending any money.” You won’t be asked to open your wallet or hand over wads of cash – in fact, you’ll leave richer than when you entered. Whether it’s just the stack of books that you’ve borrowed, a free mystery book from under our tree, a foil wrapped choccie from the treat basket, or a full belly after coming to our Library Christmas party, you’re not expected to give anything at the library, only receive. It’s why I declare to anyone who will listen that I have the best job in the world.
Christmas at the library also indulges my love of upcycling. With the added bonus of being extremely thematic, the majority of the decorations adorning the library are made from old books. The Christmas tree boasts a paper chain that was once a horribly bigoted book published in the 70s that I took great joy in cutting into strips and turning into something joyous. The star, baubles, and hanging decorations were made from the pages of well-loved, damaged books and they glow softly against the fairy lights, their stories living on in timeless elegance. Book foldings and other paper-craft help to add to the ambience and whilst there’s also a little tinsel and other store-bought decorations around, the majority are items that have gained a new purpose.
I also find that no matter how busy bookworms get, they always find a bit of time over Christmas to sit and enjoy a good book. Even when I worked in retail (and the people working in that industry know just how insane it is at Christmas), I always managed to carve out a little bit of time for myself to sit and get lost in a story. Escapism is important at the best of times but when life is that crazy type of hectic that only seems to exist at Christmas, it’s almost an essential part of self-care. For a short while, even if it’s just twenty minutes, you can forget about everything except for the fictional world at your fingertips.
I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas and if you don’t celebrate the season, I wish you happy reading. Thanks so much for reading the Bindoon Bookworm each month and I look forward to seeing you all in 2023.