Saturday, October 24, 2009

How the Holidays Are Different Than When I Was a Child

On Christmas Eve, my father, younger sister Kathy, and I carried our Christmas tree through the snow-covered streets of the Bronx (N.Y.). My dad carried the heavy end.

When we arrived at our apartment, he would put the string of lights on it after he had secured it into a tree stand. He would have tested the individual bulbs earlier in the day.

My mother had already unpacked our ornaments and we began to hang them on the branches.

Our method of applying tinsel was to lightly toss it on to the branches, covering as much of the tree in glittering silver light as possible. We did it the same way every year until we moved out of the city, when I was a teenager.

Now, having raised my own children, I’ve changed things a bit. On their own, they wanted to do things differently. I still insisted we set the tree up on Christmas Eve, even though they wanted to purchase it and adorn it weeks ahead of time.

Christmas Eve present-opening was a new concept for me, so we all picked one gift for that evening and the rest were left for Christmas morning.

Advertising Christmas which used to begin in December, was moved back to the day after Thanksgiving, and now I notice the glitter, bells and lights coming out as soon as the ghosts and pumpkins of Halloween have been put aside.

It was just such a simpler time.


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