“It’s going to be a small Christmas this year,” my mother promises, for the fifteenth year in a row: it’s a promise that she and my father can never keep, and no one takes her seriously this year either. It’s not so much the mountain of gifts that make us doubt her promise each year, but rather the way that Christmas descends upon our house.
Our tree stands nine feet tall and is decorated with the utmost care: lights, tinsel, candy canes and all. Christmas ornaments are ceremoniously brought down from the attic in mid-December and placed gently on each limb of the tree. Some of the ornaments were once my great grandmother’s, my mother points out each year—as if a century-old ornament is something I could ever forget.
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