What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Christmas in Exeter Street December 28, 2016

Happy very late Christmas! I hope yours was wonderful!

Mine was rather like Christmas in Exeter Street. If you’ve never heard of it, you should read it. The book is about this house where everyone ends up for Christmas. Some by design, some by accident. But Father Christmas brings gifts to them all, and they have a great holiday. There ends up being eighteen children in the house, and poor Father Christmas has to count on his toes to be sure he’s left gifts for them all. The homeless baby is especially hard to find since she’s sleeping in the kitchen sink. No, really, that’s where they put her.

Reading Christmas in Exeter Street was a tradition when I was little. There’s a two page illustration that shows everyone sleeping in the house. There are men on mantle pieces, a pastor and his wife in the tub, it’s great. My sister and I would go through and count all the people to make sure there really were eighteen children for Father Christmas to bring gifts to. We still count to this day, like the picture might somehow change.

Going back to the book as an adult, there are some very strange things child me didn’t notice. Like whether or not child services would be okay with a baby in the kitchen sink. If the pastor and his wife are sleeping in the tub in the only bathroom, where will everyone pee? Why did those parents ask for a place for themselves to sleep, but didn’t mention their five children freezing in the car until much later?

There’s also a bit of fat shaming… they call people large and/or squishy a lot.

Still, it’s a tradition, and I love that book. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve counted the eighteen children.

My own Christmas this year only consisted of nine people crammed into my sister’s house, and we had air mattresses for the bed-less, which are far better than mantle pieces. It was noisy, and there were lots of different traditions trying to blend, but it was great. A great big pile of love with an excess of wrapping paper. The only problem with Christmas is that it ends so quickly, and we have to wait until next year to visit Exeter Street again. And next Christmas seems so very far away.

If you want to read about children in sinks, follow this link to the Goodreads page for Christmas in Exeter Street, and best wishes for a fabulous New Year!


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