loveactuallyA few years ago I discovered a book called A CHRISTMAS CRACKER, which its author described as a collection of entries from his commonplace book. I didn’t know what that was, but when I looked up the definition, I realized I did and that I’d been keeping them for years. I just didn’t know what they were called.

Commonplace books, which became popular in the 1400s, are simply personal scrapbooks of sayings, poems, quotations, and anecdotes compiled by an individual. I started my first one in high school in one of those black-and-white marbleized notebooks, with a quote from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, and I still have it. I’ve also kept them and added to them ever since. I also keep a separate commonplace book for Christmas, a holiday, which as you all know, I love.

Anyway, the author of CHRISTMAS CRACKERS (and MORE CHRISTMAS CRACKERS and STILL MORE CHRISTMAS CRACKERS), John Julius Norwich, gave his friends a sampling of his favorite quotes, etc., from his commonplace book, for Christmas, and I thought that seemed like a great idea.

So, here for your Christmas delectation, are some selections from my Christmas commonplace book. Enjoy!

“Humanity must be forgiven much for having invented Christmas.”
Christopher Morley
* * * * *

“The first worldwide tweet: Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!”
* * * * *

“Do you know what Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker?”
“I know what you’re getting for Christmas. I felt your presents.”

Whoever it is who thinks up terrible jokes * * * * *

“I have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely, and so I say, God bless Christmas!” Charles Dickens * * * * *

“Christmas is a three-day festival dedicated to the birth of Bing Crosby.”
Willis Hall
* * * * *
“May you have the greatest two gifts of all on these holidays–someone to love and someone who loves you.”

John Sinor
* * * * *

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”
Shirley Temple
* * * * *
“(At Christmas) we ask ourselves why can’t the world be like this all the time…If we expect the world to change, I’m afraid we will always be bitterly disappointed because there are a great many obstacles to change, human nature perhaps being chief among them. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change ourselves. And that change may bring about other positive changes. The world did not change in Dickens Christmas tale, but Ebenezer Scrooge did after listening to his ghostly visitors, and that was enough to change the lives of those around him for the better. So too it may be with us.”

“Visions of Sugar Plums”
* * * * *

“There are three things you never want to see on a Christmas present:
One size fits all.
Fun for all ages.
Removes unwanted hair.”
Jim Mullen in Entertainment Weekly
* * * * *

“Just for a few hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the stupid, harsh mechanism of the world runs down, and we permit ourselves to live according to untrammeled common sense, the unconquerable efficiency of good will.”
Christopher Morley
* * * * *

“Christmas is 1,940 years old and Hitler is only 51. he can’t spoil our Christmas.”
Sign in a London shop window, 1940

* * * * *

Have a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyful Kwanzaa, fun Festivus, and/or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year. Like the fact that the shortest day is over, and, despite all appearances to the contrary, light is coming back into the world.

Connie Willis

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