Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Christmas with Tasha Tudor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Christmas with Tasha Tudor

Article excerpt

TASHA TUDOR is like one of her magical story characters come true.

A small woman, she has smile wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. (Some people get smile wrinkles because they laugh easily.) She has silver-gray hair tied up in a kerchief. Her speech is slow, low, careful, clear, and sweet.

She lives on a wonderful Vermont farm with her family of animals - 40 caged birds, 10 goats, chickens galore, and her beloved corgi dogs, including a new litter. But more on the corgis later.

She lives independently, the way most people lived in the 1830s. She dresses in old-fashioned style, does all her own cooking, spinning, weaving, and goat milking. She even grows her own fruits and vegetables in her gardens and orchards. Still, she insists, "I live a perfectly ordinary lifestyle. I'm not an unusual person. I'm like all the rest of you."

What better time to get to know Tasha Tudor than at Christmas time? She is the author and illustrator of more than 40 books for children. Many of her books are about Christmas. A good example - you may know it already - is "Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book."

"I think a great deal of Christmas. I think everyone does, do you not?" she wonders. "First, we always celebrate the winter solstice on the 21st of December. We make a fine bonfire." She laughs with glee at the thought.

"We have a very beautiful Christmas tree. A spruce. I've never bought one. I always cut it from the woods. I have a collection of splendid ornaments that I've had in my family since 1858. Also, we make cornucopias and gingerbread creatures with all sorts of frosting on them."

What adventures! And her four grown children with their children join in.

Nearer to Christmas, the whole family lends a hand to produce a special presentation. "We always have a big dinner party for dogs, dolls, and bears, just before Christmas. It's a literary dinner, you see, and there's a contest for who writes the best story."

When her children were young, "we lived in New Hampshire, right near St. Paul's School," a local boarding school. "The children came over from the school and entered our contest. It's all very exciting. We decided the corgis needed some entertainment, so that's when I started making the marionettes. …

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