Lots of people complain about the commercialism of Christmas and with good reason. We were a part of that in the thirty-seven Decembers we had the bookshop. There's no doubt about it that we hoped to sell, sell, sell at that period. The store's existence for the rest of the year depended on what receipts we could garner at holiday time. Situated on the corner, the shop had the good fortune of having three show windows and it always seemed highly appropriate to devote one of them to the religious aspect of Christmas. Years ago, an employee gave us a rustic manger which we used with a tattered, antique quilt made by someone with a wonderful eye for color, at the base of the manger. On it we arranged books about the Nativity. We installed a starry background (atually a king-sized sheet), hung a star above the manger and put a wooden sign proclaiming "SILENT NIGHT" against the wall.
Simplicity, personified and to my eye, at least, highly effective. I had often spoken yearningly of one last desired touch and an employee gifted us one year with a caged light, the kind usually used by workmen. We buried it safely, down below the excelsior we used for straw and a light emanated from the manger. The effect in the darkness of night was awe inspiring.
I always appreciated the help that Mr. Bob lent to the store. Together, we were pretty good window dressers. Our display windows brought many compliments from customers. Curiously, I don't remember anyone ever commenting on the Holy window, which was probably one of my favorites. That's okay, for what mattered to me was our honoring the reason for Christmas.........the reason the cash register rang so merrily, making it possible for the store to carry on into the New Year. God bless us, every one!