Thursday, December 3, 2009


If you had been spending too much time on the computer already, tinkering with photos, if you had given in to the afternoon blahs and had a cup of coffee, if your husband called to let you know he was working late, if he called again to let you know he had decided to skip the commute and sleep at your mother's, if you were approaching your routine monthly week of insomnia anyway, if all of these things were happening to you, you might find yourself blogging in a quiet house at 1 am, acknowledging that anyone in their right mind who lived in a house with six children would sleep anytime they slept, and you would be awfully glad that your children were going to spend the next morning at a pajama themed birthday party, meaning that they do not have to get dressed and also will not be here to experience the grumpiness, if all of these things were happening, it just might be worth it to find this Chesterton quote:

On Christmas morning, he [Chesterton] remembered, his stockings were filled with things he had not worked for, or made, or even been good for.

The only explanation people had was that a being called Santa Claus was somehow kindly disposed toward him. “We believed,” he wrote, that a certain benevolent person “did give us those toys for nothing. And ... I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea.

“Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.

“Once I only thanked Santa Claus for a few dolls and crackers, now I thank him for stars and street faces and wine and the great sea. Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking.

“Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic good will.”

I found it, along with lots of amazing advice and many wonderful activities for Advent on Karen Edmisten. Seriously, I feel like the Holy Spirit has said to me "there, I have led you to the best thing on the internet at the moment, so now will you please, please, close the screen, brush your teeth and go to sleep?" And I will.


Karen E. said...

Oh, my goodness, you're so kind. Thanks.

Now, go get a nap. :)

Right Said Red said...

Love the quote.

When Mr. Red works late, or I am otherwise home alone, I tend to seek "company" through fiddling around on the internet. It is hard to be alone with children all day, we all need some adult interaction. I think I seek this in the form of extra computer time or TV time if I am by myself in the evenings.

Liz @ Frugally Blonde said...

What a great quotation! And what a great defense of sharing the beautiful tradition of Santa Claus with one's children. Thanks!

Karen said...

Mary Alice,

I'm not sure how else to contact you, so I thought I would just comment on your latest post. I wondered if you might have some advice regarding magazines for young people. I have sent High Five and Highlights to my nephews and nieces so far as Christmas gifts each year. However, my niece is out-growing Highlights and I am not sure what to send her now! I considered American Girl and Girls Life, but those both seem to be more focused on boys and make-up than history, science, nature, geography, etc. that I would rather have her read about. I had also considered National Geographic Kids, but learned from reviews that they have more advertisements than articles. I do like Boys Life for boys, but I am stuck on a girls' magazine. Do you (or any other Builders!) have any suggestions for magazines for age 10+ kids?

Thank you!

Mary Alice said...


I strongly recommend any magazine from the Cricket family of publications. If you go to their website you can choose by age/grade level, and some topics (poetry and literature, history and culture, science). We have had several of their magazines and they are beautiful, and the kids look forward to them every month.

Hope that helps -- it is a great, clutter free Christmas gift!

B-Mama said...

My mutual "thank you's" and blessings sent out to Karen for all of her work in putting together these Advent resources. What a wealth of inspiration!! Thanks for the link, MA!

Jennifer Frey said...

Dear Mary Alice,

Is this quote from his book, Orthodoxy? Please respond when you can.

Many thanks!