Countdown to December

Okay, it is now almost one week since Thanksgiving. Time, then, to shut down one of our most beloved holiday traditions, that of looking at the calendar and crying “Already?” Enough with the already, already. We’re sneaking up on December, so it’s time to Santa up and admit it.

To some, December is a time for sitting all snug and warm and cozy and listening to traditional music. For others, it’s a time to gobble cookies and gulp down lots of egg nog, with or without the privilege, as they say down south. (And what do you slip into YOUR egg nog? You can always get a good solid holiday argument started by explaining it MUST be rum. Or bourbon. Or brandy. Or….) And for many, of course, it is a socially sanctioned excuse to shop ‘til you drop.

Well, the Newberry likes to accommodate its friends when it can, so on Thursday, December 6, we are having what was once known as the Associates’ Holiday Party, but which is really called throughout the library “The Dredge”. The featured entertainment is a performance by The Great Lakes Dredge and Philharmonic Society, a throwback to the days before garage bands when groups of men would get together to drink and sing. (I think it’s listed in that order in their charter.) One of the songs they usually perform, in fact, is a throwback to college singing clubs of the 1880s, about the joys of defying winter weather with tobacco, alcohol, and a song or two. Cozy as you could desire.

There will be cookies and egg nog–with or without the privilege–for those of you who realize that winter is coming, and you will need to load on a little extra insulation. I know one person who is positive the security cameras are trained on her personally while she’s picking up cookies, but I assure you that we do not do this sort of thing…to any of the rest of the audience. (Forget Powerball; we lay bets on how many snickerdoodles go into her purse.)

As for the shopping bit, that’s where Uncle Blogsy comes in. We put out four tables of cookbooks, art books, Chicago books, and anything else we thought you might like to pick up, as a gift for a friend, or a consolation prize for not finding any snickerdoodles on the buffet. I will have some cheesy Christmas DVDs (Felix the Cat Saves Christmas), a line of doodaddery, a few impossible jigsaw puzzles, some board games (we have Clue, Mastermind, and Twister, among other classics), and a teddy bear or two. (Someone gave us these just last week and I brought them to the library on Monday. You’d be surprised how much respect you get on the sidewalk if you are a fat man with white whiskers carrying teddy bears at the end of November. No one wants to get on the wrong list.)

So that’s December 6 at 5:30. If you make a reservation by tomorrow night, you get a $5 discount on admission ($30 at the door.) Call 312-255-3778 or contact us at www.newberry.org/dredge2012. Drink egg nog, listen to the Dredge’s unique take on Jingle Bells, and buy a few…or more than a few…books. And behave yourself around the fat man with the white whiskers.

(I wonder if they thought the red suit was being cleaned, or if somebody just whispered “Look out! It’s Uncle Blogsy!”)

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