posted on December 20, 2016 by Jeanne Devlin

The Season Wouldn’t be the Season Without Stories

We all celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, but we don’t necessarily celebrate them alike.

Our family being Irish Catholic celebrates Christmas, but being a reader, I have my own little traditions that I cherish as well as midnight Mass or putting out the nativity figures in the old family crèche.

To me, like so much of my life, there are stories important to my Christmas.

There is, of course, the original story of the young couple trying to find a place for the night only to have so many tell them there was no room in the inn.

There are the stories and storybooks of my childhood—The Night Before Christmas, Francis P. Church’s Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus, and Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. (The latter of which always reminded me of my dad, our family Grinch, a father, now a grandfather, who continues a love-hate relationship with the holiday as it has grown ever more commercial.)

And then there is the story that went on to influence not only every Christmas of my life but every day of my life … and especially how I came to believe what true love should look like.  And that was O. Henry’s short story: The Gift of the Magi.

I read the story while still a grade-schooler, and maybe it touched me so because, like the young couple in the story, our family had little money to spare for gifts. I only know that watching Della and Jim go to such lengths to buy a Christmas gift worthy of the other, watching the sacrifice both make to do so, well, that Christmas lesson never left me.

Which, after all, is what books give us … isn’t it?

—Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin

Jeanne Devlin is editor of The RoadRunner Press, an award-winning traditional publishing house based in the American West. An editor of newspapers, magazines, and books for more than thirty years, she has also worked on national marketing and publicity campaigns with such publishers as Simon and Schuster and St. Martin's and for a number of New York Times bestselling authors, including Robyn Carr, Sabrina Jeffries, Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller, and Wendy Corsi Staub. A graduate of the Stanford University Publishing Course, Jeanne is a member of the Children's Book Council, the National Book Critics Circle, and the Oklahoma Center for the Book of the Library of Congress. She also consults with boutique publishers.

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