The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree and Shrines and Wonders: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Molly, the young protagonist of The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree, has never understood why Santa Fe is considered desert until one dry December when her mother tells her they will not be able to afford a Christmas tree that year. When she notices that there are tumbleweeds blowing around town instead of snow, she suggests that they collect a few and decorate them instead. She even finds out how much a string of lights costs before presenting the idea to her mother. The slim, bright book, written by Bridget Thomas and illustrated by Jessie Baca, is both timeless and timely, mixing many Santa Fe holiday traditions with a realistic story of a financially struggling family. “The news about the Christmas tree didn’t make Molly feel sad or disappointed,” Thomas writes. “She truly didn’t mind. The teachers at Holy Faith School had always said that Christmas wasn’t really about trees and decorations. It was about celebrating Jesus’ birthday and experiencing God’s presence within us, not just the presents under the three.” The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree is available on Amazon.com and at The Shop – A Christmas Store (116 E. Palace Ave., 505-570-3958).
Marion Amberg explores local Catholic traditions in Shrines and Wonders: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico (Amor Deus Publishing), in which she details such locales as the Loretto Chapel and the San Miguel Mission, as well as stops along the High Road to Taos and elsewhere. The book functions much like a hiking guide, with bits and pieces of information about what visitors can expect to see at each destination. Color photographs and a glossary of terms make this a reader-friendly guide for anyone interested in visiting old churches, or simply in the geography, art, and architecture of the region.