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The Rudolph my 64 year-old brother made in Kindergarten

This time of year, I get nostalgic and sentimental. In between  the family events, the shopping and the Christmas parties, I think we all do, don’t we? It starts with putting up the tree. See, I don’t have one of those pretty, color-coordinated, sparkly, Macy’s trees.

Mine is covered with old, glitter flaking santas, and plastic balls. I think people are probably a bit taken aback when they see it (surely they can do better…can’t they?)

They don’t know how lucky I am to have those battered ornaments. I have all of the ones from my childhood that have survived the decades since. Getting the tree trimmed every year is full of ohs and ahs (mine). See, I don’t see them as they are. I see them as they were, in the past. Many are ones my aunt bought us, one every year. Some are from past marriages, boyfriends, or trips I’ve taken.

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There’s the whirlybird thingy (technical term in my family). You’d put it over one of those big bulbs that used to go on the tree, and the heat would make it spin. My dad burnt the carpet one year, laying the lights out to be sure they all worked. My mom was MAD!

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Then there’s the last remaining hand-blown ornament of my grandmother’s. The sole survivor of the year our Siamese cat patched out on the table holding all the ornaments, and broke probably half of them. Money was tight that year – dad had lost his job. Again. And he was drinking. So we kids walked to a mile down to the drugstore and bought some.

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Cheap plastic, but they shone bright. They don’t shine as brightly nowadays, but I don’t care. They always remind me of my mother’s stoic resilience. She taught me a lot about strength in adversity, and those lessons have stood me in good stead over the years (thanks, mom).

Then there are the ones that remind me of people. The one that our dear friend Barbara bought Alpha Dog and I for our first Christmas together. We lost Barbara a few years later.

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My sister Nancy and I made our Christmas tree a whole magical world. We played with the Santas and the Rudolphs, and an odd wood and string stick figure we called ‘Chingy’. I wouldn’t give those memories for anything. Sure wish I still had Chingy, but he’s been lost somewhere down the years. Nancy has been lost, too.

Oh well, here I am, blathering on (told you I get sentimental), and what I really wanted to do was to wish you a wonderful Holiday season, and may the coming year be your best ever.

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From my house to yours, and to all a good night.

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