Most people probably don’t associate the creepy-crawly things of the world with Christmas, but I certainly do. For that, I blame author Shirley Climo and her book, Cobweb Christmas.
The book tells the story of Tante, an elderly Bavarian woman who wants to make Christmas wonderful for the friends and animals that live near her. Secretly, she also wants to see a bit of Christmas magic herself. In preparation for the holiday, she decorates a massive tree and collects gifts for the children and forest creatures. She also cleans her house to ensure that everything is perfect for her holiday guests. In the process of cleaning, she sweeps out the spiders that lived in the corners of the house, but the spiders are curious about her decorating, so on Christmas Eve, the sneak back inside to see what Tante has done. The spiders are so in awe of the tree and other decorations that they scurry around and leave their webbing everywhere. When Tante discovers their additions, she is surprised by the beauty and sparkle around her; she finally receives her bit of Christmas magic after all.
And that, according to the book, is how people came to put tinsel on their trees.
My childhood edition of this book was the the 1982 version illustrated by Joe Lasker, which has all but faded from the internet in favor of the more recent edition of the book. I have a vague recollection that the pages with the spiderwebs actually did sparkle, but that could simply be the result of time doing its work on my memory.
Regardless, as a result of Cobweb Christmas, I’ll always associate spiders with the holidays. My housemate is very grateful, however, that I haven’t allowed any arachnids to build webs on our Christmas tree. Not yet at any rate.
I suspect that I am not alone in having nostalgic books that I think of around this time of year. If you have favorites such as The Mitten or other stories, please share them! Hearing what books other people adore is a wonderful experience.