Monday, December 17, 2012

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog, by Dave Barry

This blog's cherished bat poop jokes annual tradition.

I've never understood why so many families choose to attend movies on Christmas Day. For those who celebrate it, for either festive or religious reasons, the holiday is meant to be a time of memorable moments, of family, of togetherness. Maybe I don't watch movies correctly -- but I've never found them to be the epitome of close-knit quality time. (Especially not in theaters, where someone's bound to dump popcorn on your snarky and noisy familial bonding.)

What if, instead of paying ten bucks a head to send the crew to the cinema, every family gathering this time of year celebrated together by reading a book? I've got one that's becoming a bit of an annual tradition in whatever house I'm living in come Christmastime. Some folks love it when I pull out a book to read aloud. Others groan. Inevitably, within ten minutes, everyone's smart phones are sheathed and their chairs are in danger of toppling due to their edges being perched on.

Yes, it's a book about Christmas, though I suspect that anyone with a passing familiarity with the season would "get it." Christmas is the backdrop, but it's really a story about family, childhood, growing old, dogs, and the perils of accumulated bat poop. Things we can all relate to.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog kills every time. (Will it get you on the manger scene? Or the Rolodex?) And it breaks someone into tears every time. (At the same part. Every time.) That's why it's my favorite family Christmas story. But that doesn't mean it should be yours.

Whatever your flavor, try reading a book together this December. See if it doesn't provide all the thrills of the movies, with more interaction and easier access to cookies.

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