Dreaming of a White People Christmas
A Connecticut Christmas
Caryn B. Davis, 2017
I’m sure half of you reading this expect mean ol’ Steve to get all Grinchy about this book. Well, it’s not going to happen. It’s a lovely little book full of Christmassy photos and interesting little blurbs. Who doesn’t love Christmas? And yes, I’m including non-Christians. No one in my immediate family is Christian and we all love the Christmas season.
You know who else apparently loved Christmas? None other than George Washington:
The picturesque New England architecture of New Preston provides the perfect backdrop for the Christmas season. Antique barns and charming storefronts are garlanded with fir and pots with red winterberries are set out to welcome guests.
New Preston’s most famous guest was George Washington, who slept in Cogswell Tavern in May 1781, and later that year defeated the British at Yorktown. He loved the Christmas season and often celebrated with huge feasts that included over a ton of bacon and hogsheads of homemade whiskey. After his tireless service including the lean winter at Valley Forge, no one blamed him for this little bit of holiday excess.
“Little bit of excess?” over 2,000 pounds of bacon?
I thought this was more or less a picture book, but no, author Davis has written up several “Christmassy” places around Connecticut. I think she did a pretty good job of it, capturing some true gems like the Boar’s Head Festival at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. It is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting and unique events of the season in the state.
My only quibble with the book – surely not the author’s fault – is that there are no pictures of any snow scenes! I don’t know if she went about her photography on a particularly unsnowy year, or if she sort of cheated, and… wait. That would be impossible. She was merely unfortunate.
Speaking of her, she’s married to Leif Nilsson, an artist. They live in Chester and have an art gallery in their perfect Chester home, celebrating what is probably the perfect Christmas with the perfect ham or roast and the perfectly gift-wrapped gifts where they wrap the lids separately from the boxes like in movies.
Ms. Davis has had the good fortune of traveling all over the world and having her photos and essays run in multiple national publications. We’re fortunate that she’s found a home in Connecticut. Though she sounds like she’s boasting of her tireless effort of “visiting nearly 40 towns across Connecticut” for her book.
Ms. Davis, I do that in my sleep. But my pictures are terrible. That’s the trade-off I guess.