. . .and all through the land, women seek gifts both simple and grand. On the brink of the fete only one thought they did think: “We must find something chic and utterly unique.”
That’s what Betty Lou Phillips, award-winning interior designer and bestselling author, has accomplished once again in a collection of utterly charming Christmas books, each written in the beloved verse of “The Night Before Christmas” we all know so well.
How she manages to write with such whimsy and creativity is a mystery to me — it took me an hour to write those pathetic lines at the top as I tried to copy her style and set the ambiance.
Her Night Before Christmas books now include: Paris, New York and Texas. Each has its singular personality, each sparkles with clever twists, humor and stunning writing which is her trademark. Brilliantly, the books were designed to slip perfectly into a Christmas stocking. Measuring eight-and-a-half inches by four-and-a-half inches they are the ultimate cadeau for little girls who dream of fantasy Noëls and Santa Claus and big girls who have similar desires, but know shopping is involved along with the wishing.
InParis she tells us the beguiling story of how Madame Claus flies off to shop and play while poor Monsieur Claus labors away in a tizzy of last minute details in preparation for his big day.
“Twas the week before Christmas!
All over the world
Children were breathless as visions unfurled
Of the magical time when their dreams would take flight
And sweet sounds of sleigh bells would ring in the night.
But Santa was frantic — he wasn’t elated.
For his dear Mrs. Clause could not be located.
The lists were not finished;
the maps were a mess,
And where to deliver
was anyone’s guess.”
Yousee what I mean about her facility and brilliance with verse?
Then she takes us to New York:
“Bendel’s and Bergdorf’s. ‘I’ll need a new outfit
Armani and Saks! Each breathtaking window
designed to the max. Exclaimed Mrs. Clause, ‘How I’m loving
each view! I want to see Barney’s, and Bloomingdale’s too.
To wear with the bling! At Prada they always have just the right thing.’
Santa Claus hugged her and gave her a wink. ‘You’ve enough from your visit to Paris, I think!‘”
And finally to Texas. . .
“In their dreams they were floating,
and flying so high
That they couldn’t keep up with the sights flashing by.
The bend of a river, the crest of a hill,
The cities by night all silent and still.
Right over the top of a lovely lone star!
‘I think we’re in Texas!’ Santa shouted with glee. ‘Has our dream come to life?
Could it possibly be?'”
These petit tomes are the ultimate gift. They are glamorous, filled with a festive esprit and are the perfect offering as a hostess gift, a stocking stuffer (I repeat), slipped into a party gift bag and even as sumptuous Christmas cards — wouldn’t that be fun(?).
What each of these books gives is the quintessential holiday cadeau: Joy. One cannot help but smile when reading each page and savoring the stylishly breezy illustrations. **
** Published by Gibbs Smith, $9.99.