Tis the Season

I’m always surprised to find Christmas trees dumped on the curb on December 26th, which is really the first day of the Christmas Season. But if I’d been getting ready for Christmas since Labor Day, I guess I’d be as sick of it by now, too. The earlier and earlier American retailers start trying to sell us on Christmas, the later and later I hold out. I used to start my own preparations the Friday after Thanksgiving, by baking the fruitcakes, as it coincided nicely with my religious upbringing of Advent, the wonderful season of anticipation.

Now I don’t find myself getting into the spirit of the season until we pass the longest night and the Solstice bells wake me up to the fact that Christmas Day is just around the corner.

Christmas cards trickle in, a tradition all but destroyed by email. But I’m glad that there is a mantle in this house to put them on. And we read over the cards from other years, from his grandmother and my grandmother, now dead. Each of us has a friend who sends a long Christmas letter each year, the highlight of our correspondence.

The tree has been trimmed. This year, to save the cost of a tree, we decorated the Meyer’s lemon. The lemons are just now ripening and they look like golden Christmas ornaments. The stuffed animals all sit under the tree. My collection of wooden folk toys is nearby. The nativity set that my father carved is also there.

Here and there presents appear. Margaret always sends a Christmas box packed with little goodies, books, and sweets from England. The main presents though are several boxes from amazon.com, books we ordered ourselves early in the season and are not allowed to open until Christmas Day. By then we’ve forgotten what we bought ourselves and so it is always a pleasant surprise.

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