Welcome to my holiday edition of the Sunday Salon, all decorated for the occasion. Friday was my last day of work for the year, and I’m looking forward to about two weeks of leisure time with my family. Festivities begin Monday, with my daughter’s high school choral concert. Wednesday evening we’ll attend the dress rehearsal for a variety show the kids put on for the school Thursday. We also have a family tradition of visiting Longwood Gardens on Christmas Eve. The conservatory is filled with beautiful themed displays, the outdoor gardens are decorated with lights, and there’s carol singing. We started visiting several years ago as an act of self-defense: it was a way to keep the kids occupied! Now it’s something we all look forward to.
Speaking of looking forward to things, I’ve been eager to learn the identity of my Secret Santa in LibraryThing’s Virago Modern Classics group. My package arrived last Monday, and I gave it a prominent place on the dining room table:
The beribboned stack looked and felt like books. But that red present was oddly shaped, and kind of squishy. Every day I surveyed my gifts, looking for clues. And today is gift opening day! Here’s what I found:
Front and center is Elizabeth Taylor’s Palladian, a book I’ve had on my most-wanted list for some time, ever since declaring Ms. Taylor one of my favorite authors. On the left is The Land of Little Rain, a “beautiful, poetic study of the Southwestern desert. Fourteen sketches describe plants, animals, mountains, birds, skies, Indians, prospectors, towns, other features in serene, beautifully modulated prose.” As a nature buff this one really appeals to me. On the right is The Hills at Home, a comedy of manners set in New England. Another win! It looks delightful. And finally, there in the center is a leaf-shaped bottle of maple syrup. My Secret Santa is Lucy, a delightful woman who introduced me to a used bookshop in Philadelphia, that I simply must visit every time I’m in the city. Lucy recently moved from Philadelphia to New England, before I had the chance to meet her face-to-face. I love how she has shared some of her new home with me through these gifts. Thank you, Lucy !!
This is the Virago Secret Santa’s third year, and every year I am both impressed by the generosity of our group members, and moved by the friendships that have grown among this internet-based community. This year’s event has definitely put me in the holiday spirit !
Best wishes to all of you, both for Christmas and the New Year.
Read more from The Sunday Salon here.