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Christmas in Illinois, edited by Bradley University English professor emeritus James Ballowe and just out from the University of Illinois Press, is a collection of holiday remembrances from the well-known (Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Mike Royko, Carl Sandburg) and from regular joes, along with recipes for some traditional Christmas favorites (Lebkuchen, Platzchen, Thumb Print Cookies).

One of the more poignant pieces is Robert Green Ingersoll‘s 1897 essay “What I Want for Christmas.”

It begins: “If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern themselves.”

The rest after the jump.