Lillian Smith grew up in a large family in a small southern town; along with the dogs and cats, there were nine children, as well as parents, grandmothers and occasional cousins and aunts who helped to make Christmas a truly festive, collective enterprise. It is well and lovingly remembered here, from the ""orgy and holocaust"" of Big Grandma's hog-killing to the pecan tree-shaking day. One Christmas the children search through the town for an heirloom gift for their parents- a coffin with real silver handles; on another, in spite of the austerity of depression years, they take in 48 convicts from a nearby chain gang. Always, there are the extensive preliminaries and preparations in the kitchen- and a few family recipes are appended. Illustrated, it will make a suitable small seasonal gift- it has charm and remains unclouded by the sentimentality of retrospect.