It’s Nice to Be Mice at Christmastime

1976, from Grandpa and Grandma

Our son was two years old, so his grandparents gave Dan this storybook for Christmas. I began to remember some favorite stories from when I was little–“The Snowshoe Rabbits,” “The Goat Who Played Santa Claus,” “The Secret Ride.”

One story took me back to First Grade.

We sat on the floor around the teacher while she read a story to us. Afterwards we were invited to stand in front of the class and share or recite something. I raised my hand. The teacher called on me.

I couldn’t get up. My legs had gone to sleep.

When I finally could stand, I recited “Oh, the wonderful bits that folks drop as they go. . . .” which ends with the punch line “Oh, just before Christmas it’s NICE to be mice!”

Mom and given Gloria and me the book in the 1950s. That childhood copy has been loved hard. The cover is long gone, and it’s held together with electrical tape.

The last story in the book is “The Christmas Tree Lamb,” although it’s missing from the copy from my childhood.

When Dan was little I made a felt lamb for our tree, complete with bell, because of this darling story.

We always hung it “up near the top, right under the shining star,” just like in the book, except that our star is made a felt, just like the lamb.

Time to pass these treasures onto granddaughter Kate.

The only thing better than an heirloom is an heirloom with a story.


  1. I love seeing the continuity among all your posts, characterized in the phrase you so often use: “The only thing better than an heirloom is an heirloom with a story.” In this one, you mention the first-grade experience, and I immediately thought back to my own first grade classroom and the black-and-white cat clock that hung on the wall near my desk, its tail the pendulum. And I smelled the odor. And my mind recalled the decorated Christmas tree that stood in one corner during our Christmas party. (I’m finding that I can recall such images much more vividly than I can recall why I went to the grocery store!)

    • It’s the nudge for us of a certain age to get busy writing memoirs, especially if you can figure out just why you remember those images! When I get done with Grandma Leora’s stories, I just might get around to more of my own.

  2. Happiness and health in 2021 Joy and family. Thank G-d for zoom and cell phones and all the great apps to communicate. 1 daughter and family lives in Okinawa and its been 3 years now with 2 more to go. If there wasn’t zoom/skype I don’t know what I’d do

  3. What immediately caught my eye was the Richard Scarry book. It immediately took me back to a childhood Christmas when my brother and I received Busy, Busy World. How we loved that book! I also have a childhood book held together with electrical tape. My husband and I are getting videos from our daughter and son-in-law right now as they drive the neighborhoods in San Diego looking at the Christmas lights. We’ll return the favor tomorrow night.

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