Oh Christmas! How I love thee, and I can count the ways. So many fond memories, so many calories that end up on my rear end. I attempt to embrace both of those things equally. Curse you chocolate fudge! Curse you my sister-in-law’s homemade toffee! Wow, where did that hostility come from? Okay, maybe I am not yet at the place to embrace my expanding waistline that can accompany the holidays. For me however, the sweets of Christmas go hand in hand with the memories, and both are wrapped up into one of my favorite little packages that I want to share with you.
TheChristmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, written and illustrated by Virgil Partch, is my favorite children’s book. Although it is a Christmas story, I think it carries with it a lesson that holds true year round. It was first printed in 1969, which is *AHEM* older than most of us, right? I first heard this story when it was read to me at a Christmas party. The company my father worked for as an electrical engineer threw a huge Christmas bash for employees and their families every year at their corporate office. I remember one particular party in 1978, when I was just a blonde, seven-year-old little girl that answered to “Jenny” then. I can recall that I was worried that waiting in line to give Santa my wish list was going to interfere with the story time that was about to take place. Even then, I was a girl with priorities about reading. Plus, I knew that Santa really lived at Gillmore’s department store in Kalamazoo, Michigan so who was this imposter? I think I did the quick exchange; list for Santa and candy cane for me, and made it out in record time. I quickly found a seat in a large auditorium with my parents. My father, noticing my line of vision was obstructed by other people’s heads, scooped me up onto his lap so I could have the best view possible. I love my daddy.
I can still clearly remember trying to lean in closer and closer, caught up in the illustrations projected on the screen and getting lost in the storyteller’s animated voice. My mom took notice, because the next day after school there was a gift waiting for me; the book itself. I remember grabbing it from the kitchen counter, kissing my mom on the cheek, and running up to my room to get busy reading. I know, I know! You all are saying, “Jen what is this book about already? Sheesh!”
This big, meanie snitcher decides to rob the town of all its sprinkles. The children wake up to find that their baking is stopped short because this important ingredient is missing from every kitchen cupboard in every home. A little boy, Nat, dries his teary eyes and treks off to find the sprinkles and the snitcher because:
“Christmas cookies without sprinkles
are like raisins without wrinkles,
are like sleigh bells without tinkles
are Christmas cookies without sprinkles.”
Little Nat follows the trail of sprinkles left behind to the snitcher himself, The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher (it said so on his mailbox, so no mistaken identity, plus he had the goods on him). Nat tells this snitcher that his sprinkle snitching fun has spoiled the fun of others. There is remorse and amends to be made. In the end, the sprinkles are sprinkled onto all the children’s cookies and The Snitcher tells Nat:
“Though I haven’t a sprinkle
I’ve never been richer.”
We can learn a lot from Mr. Snitcher, can’t we? Christmas brings with it the importance of looking at all the blessings we all have in our lives. Times are tough. Wallets feel like they are shrinking, and time feels fleeting these days. We are so busy with the hustle and bustle in life, that sometimes it is difficult to stop and realize the richness our life already contains. What richness do you find in your life even when there might not a sprinkle to be found? I know it’s there, because it is something no snitcher could ever snatch away from you. It belongs only to you.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year to you and your family! May you all bless others, and be blessed this holiday season.