My son Perry is crazy about trains. He always has been. So for us, Christmas will be (again) a snarl of tracks and steam engines and train books and videos.
But it turns out that you don't have to be three-and-a-half years old to be a train buff.
One of life's great mysteries is how fascinating it is to talk about your own illnesses -- but how boring it is to listen to anybody else's.
So rather than regale you with the heroic saga of my week-long battle with vertigo (my third bout in six years, as it happens), followed and compounded by the flu, I'll get right to the point: when you can't get out of bed, it's important to have a whole bunch of your favorite books immediately at hand.
My Great Aunt Edith was a live-in cook. She worked for a wealthy family in Lake Forest, Illinois -- Adlai Stevenson III's maternal grandmother, as it happened.
Like most children, I didn't really pay that much attention to the adults around me. Particularly this time of year, my biggest interest in Aunt Edith concerned what she might have gotten me for Christmas.
Whatever your religious background, you probably find something in the Christmas season that speaks to you. To the Druids (from whom we get the Christmas tree), it was the winter solstice -- the idea of the "evergreen," a life that sustained itself through the cold, but reveled in the seasons of the sun and the promise of warmth to come.