Time > Christmas > Tree, Ornaments, Gifts
For Better or For Worse
December 22, 2013
Illustration: Quentin Blake
Christmas tree grower
Christmas tree USA
horn blowing angel
Christmas lights UK
Christmas musical lights
small Christmas tree bulb
Christmas ornament fire alarm
Jack Elrod Created by Ed Dodd in 1946
http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/mtrail/about.htm - broken link
Christmas wish list USA
UK / USA
Christmas gift guide 2009
Christmas gift ideas
The Guide's Christmas gift guide - in pictures
With the big day (that's Christmas) looming,
time is running out to find the perfect gift.
In this festive gallery we showcase
a range of beautiful presents
inspired by the year in pop culture.
you can't buy them in the
Christmas wrapping paper
Corpus of news articles
Time > Christmas >
Tree, Ornaments, Gifts / Presents
Crèches Once Stood,
Atheists Now Hold Forth
The New York Times
By JENNIFER MEDINA
MONICA, Calif. — The elaborate Nativity scenes rose in a city park along the
oceanfront here every December for nearly six decades. More than a dozen
life-size dioramas depicted the Annunciation, Mary and Joseph being turned away
at the inn and, of course, the manger.
This always angered Damon Vix, who worked off and on in Santa Monica and
considers himself a devout atheist, so to speak. How could it be, he asked
himself each year, that the city could condone such an overtly religious
So, a few years ago, he petitioned the city and received his own space, using it
to put up a sign offering “Reason’s Greetings.” But this year, he wanted more.
Mr. Vix gathered a few supporters and applied for dozens of spaces in Palisades
Park, a patch of green on a bluff overlooking the sandy beaches that this city
is famous for.
Suddenly, city officials realized they had far more requests for space than they
could fulfill, they said, and created a lottery. When it was finished, the
atheists had received a vast majority of the spaces. The Christian groups were
forced to choose three scenes from their typical 14.
Now, the city is embroiled in a seasonal controversy it has somehow avoided for
“We’re trying to balance something that has been a real tradition here and also
live within federal law,” said Barbara Stinchfield, the director of community
services for the city. “We were trying to accommodate all the groups that were
interested in the most fair way we could.”
Ms. Stinchfield has been somewhat surprised at the intensity of the debate —
which has been a hot topic for days in local newspapers and on radio shows and
“People keep asking why we do what we do,” she said, sounding a bit weary. “It’s
really a simple answer: the law regulates a park as a traditional public forum,
and we’re trying to do that.”
Hunter Jameson, the president of the group that organizes the Nativity scenes,
said he did not believe the city had done anything wrong. The most “extremely
irksome” issue, he said, is that Mr. Vix and the other atheists seem most
focused on pushing out the Christian scenes. Much of the space the atheists
secured is sitting unused, and for the most part small white signs bearing
secular quotations have replaced the Nativity scenes.
Under the city’s rules, any group was allowed to apply for as many as 14 spaces.
Because Mr. Vix had seven people applying for the maximum amount, they were more
likely to get the spaces in the lottery.
“Rather than use it to put forth a message of their own, they’ve really shown
that their goal is just an effort to take something away rather than give
anything to the community,” Mr. Jameson said. “They’re trying to censor
something that the community has clearly shown it appreciates.”
Adding to his unhappiness, he said, is that none of the atheist applicants live
in Santa Monica. (Mr. Jameson himself lives a few miles away, but attends church
in the city.)
“The idea that religious speech is less protected than other free speech is an
attack on the First Amendment, and the attempt of these people to block us is a
real attack on our rights,” Mr. Jameson said. “This is just our way of saying
‘Merry Christmas.’ ”
Mr. Vix said he had encouraged the atheists to leave some of the spaces blank.
If they put up as many messages as the Christians had, he said, there would be a
backlash, and he predicted that the city would cancel the December tradition
altogether. He also said the atheists had been trying only to receive the same
amount of space that the churches had for years.
Mr. Vix said that from the time he first saw the displays in the early 1990s, he
considered them a “blatant government support of religion.”
“I strongly believe in government and have my whole life,” he said, “and our
founding fathers created the separation of church and state. If we don’t
exercise our rights, we lose them. So I really felt the need to highlight the
The Nativity scenes are not the only signs of religion this time of year. Rabbi
Eli Levitansky, who helps to run the Chabad Jewish outreach programs in the
area, said Santa Monica might have the “highest concentration of public
menorahs” of any city in the country. (To keep score: there are 60 such menorahs
scattered across the city’s 8.3 miles.)
Rabbi Levitansky, who grew up in Santa Monica, does not see a problem with the
Nativity scenes and said that most people he knew — religious and not — were
upset about the changes this year. “To come in and create chaos for no reason
whatsoever, other than to just take away from the joy of the holidays for other
people, is shallow and an improper thing to do,” he said.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said
the Santa Monica situation was “one of the cutest success stories of the
season.” This year, the Wisconsin-based group has put up its own version of a
manger in the Wisconsin State Capitol, with Einstein, Darwin and Emma Goldman
standing as the wise men and a black female doll as the featured infant.
The displays in Santa Monica are not nearly as elaborate. One of Mr. Vix’s
favorite signs sits right in the middle of the park, but few passers-by stopped
one recent afternoon to read the quote from Robert Ingersoll, the 19th-century
writer and orator:
“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy
is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”
Where Crèches Once Stood, Atheists Now Hold Forth,
Past, Present and Yet to Come
December 24, 2010
The New York Times
What are your Christmases made of? A tree full of ornaments as old as you
are? A customary feast, if not of roast beast? Perhaps they’re composed of
wassail and yule, nog and Nöel, Scrooge, “Scrooged,” Pickwick and Charlie Brown.
Or Handel and Berlioz, Garland, Cole, Crosby and Clooney, the Rockettes and the
dance of a Sugar Plum Fairy, even Bedford Falls and “The Bishop’s Wife.” To
Christians everywhere, Christmas comprises, above all, a decree from Caesar
Augustus and in the same country shepherds abiding.
Running through all these Christmases is the sense of an emotional cadenza at
the end of the year, a braiding of feelings like hope, renewal, nostalgia, love,
joy and exhaustion. Yet in the stories about this holiday, it’s surprising how
often we’re reminded of a darker life, full of isolation, penury, greed, despair
and the fear that traps emotion within us.
This day may come to you as part of the yearlong liturgical calendar, or it may
be a wholly secular day, the climax of a secular season. It may mean imbibing or
baking for weeks or simply a late breakfast after all the presents have been
opened. Perhaps for you the real Christmas comes on the eve before it, candle in
hand. There are those for whom this day means mainly passing out of — at last —
the asteroid belt of holiday songs we enter every Thanksgiving.
What does it mean to keep Christmas well, as Dickens puts it? Not the ecstasy of
Scrooge, not even the festal exuberance of the Fezziwig Christmas Ball. All the
good stories about Christmas — from Matthew and Luke or from Dr. Seuss — remind
us that Christmas can be kept “anyhow and everyhow” (Dickens again) as long as
there is charity and humility in the celebration of it. Charity, humility, good
will and a prayer for peace.
Past, Present and Yet to
Come, NYT, 24.12.2010,
A Work of Fiction
December 25, 2007
The New York Times
By RODDY DOYLE
HE couldn't move — he couldn't turn. He was awake but his feet were stuck.
Something at the end of the bed was holding down the duvet, making it heavy.
He pulled his feet from under the weight. It was O.K. — it was fine.
He sat up and leaned across to the reading light. He turned it on.
A package, a box — at the end of the bed. A present, wrapped. He looked at his
watch. It as 20 past 6.
He lived alone.
He looked again — he hadn't stopped looking. It was a big box, for some reason
He slid out of the bed and got to the bedroom door. He stopped. He looked again
— it was still there.
He lived alone.
There was only one door into the flat. He checked it now — it was locked. There
were four windows. He checked them, too — all locked. The last was in the
bedroom. The box was still on the bed. The wrapping paper — big snowflakes, red
He checked the door again — still locked.
There was someone in the flat.
He'd come home late the night before. Alone.
He'd made a cup of tea. He'd watched telly; 20 minutes, no more. He'd gone to
bed. He'd read for a while. There'd been nothing at the end of the bed. He'd
turned off the reading light. He'd stretched down in the bed. There'd been
nothing there pushing against his feet. He'd slept.
There'd been someone in the flat, waiting.
He didn't believe that.
There was someone still there, hiding — he didn't believe it. There was nowhere
to hide. He'd been into all the rooms. Bedroom, kitchen, toilet, sitting room.
That was the lot. There was no attic. He didn't have a proper wardrobe. There
was no place in the flat that someone could squash into and wait.
But he checked the windows again. He checked the door. He unlocked it and looked
out at the landing. It was dark and empty. He shut the door and locked it. He
went back to the bed and the box.
It was definitely a present.
He hadn't bought any presents. He'd be going to his sister's house later in the
day. But he'd bought nothing for his niece and nephews. They were teenagers; he
didn't really know them. He'd give them money, for their cider and chemicals. He
hadn't bought anything for his sister. He hadn't brought the box into the flat.
He hadn't touched it yet.
He wasn't going to.
But he'd have to. He couldn't leave it there. He couldn't call the police.
Hello? Hello? There's a present at the end of my bed.
How had it got there?
He looked behind him. He was being stupid. There was no one else in the flat.
He went to the kitchen. He filled the kettle and turned it on. He went back to
the bedroom. The box hadn't moved. That was good — that was probably good. If it
had been gone — that wouldn't have been good. He was stuck with the thing. He'd
have to open it.
He sat on the side of the bed. The box shifted. He stood up. He sat again. He
looked at it.
He looked behind him again.
There was a chimney, in the sitting room — he'd forgotten about the chimney. He
And he wasn't going to.
He looked at the box. Then he did it — he picked it up. It wasn't heavy. And it
was definitely a box, under the wrapping paper. Something inside it rattled. He
put it back on the bed. He grabbed at the paper, and ripped it.
He threw the wrapping paper onto the floor.
It was a robot, or something.
Who would want to give him a robot?
It was Lego, he saw now. He went across to the door and turned on the light. He
went back to the box. "Lego Mindstorms." It wasn't just a box of Lego.
He couldn't remember ever liking Lego.
"Create thousands of robotic inventions!"
When he was a kid. He couldn't remember making anything with Lego.
He was 37.
This wasn't just Lego. It was a much bigger deal. "Program robot actions on your
Was it Mac-compatible?
He sat up.
Where had the stupid thing come from?
It was Mac-compatible. It said so on the box.
He stood up. He sat down. He picked up the torn wrapping paper. He examined it
carefully, held it up to the light. He was looking for a message, maybe one of
those little greeting cards. But there was nothing. He let the paper drop.
The door had been locked when he'd come home. He remembered the key in his hand,
and pushing the door open. He'd turned on the hall light. He'd gone straight to
the kitchen. He'd filled the kettle.
There'd been nothing unusual.
He picked up the box. "Batteries not included." That was just typical. Where was
he going to get batteries?
He got a train set, once. He remembered lying on the floor, on his stomach, so
he could watch the engine coming toward him, and the real smoke coming from the
He sat up. He got off the bed.
He sat down again.
He opened the box — or, he didn't. He thought he was lifting the lid, but he
wasn't. It was some kind of flap. With a list of the contents on its inside — a
checklist — and pictures of each item. It looked great.
He stood up.
This was ridiculous — he was being sucked into something. He was 37. He didn't
give a toss about robots or Lego. He looked around the room. He went out to the
hall. He looked left and right. He went to the kitchen door. He stood there for
He went back to the bedroom. He leaned over the box. He looked again at the
contents list. "See your robot come alive!" He put his hands on the box — he had
to sit down.
He knew no one who'd do this. And it looked quite expensive. It was months since
there'd been anyone else in the flat.
He lifted the cardboard lid. It looked great — all the parts in plastic bags.
And the "quick start guide." He'd left his laptop in the kitchen.
No way. It wasn't his — he didn't want it.
He stood up.
The door had been locked. And all the windows.
There was no way in.
He went into the sitting room. He turned on the light. He never used the fire.
There was a plant in a pot, in the hearth. It looked dead, but it was hard to
tell. It had looked like that when his sister had brought it, when he'd moved
in. He didn't know the name of it. She'd told him, but he couldn't remember.
He got down on his knees. He lifted the pot and placed it to the side.
It was ridiculous.
He looked at the dust, on the tiles in front of the hearth. There was a mark
there that could have been made by a boot.
He bent down and shuffled forward, till his head was right under the flue. He
lay on his side, so he could look up. He heard sea gulls, from outside. He could
feel dust, grit at his eyes and mouth. He thought he heard scrabbling.
Roddy Doyle is the author of “The Commitments,”
“Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”
forthcoming story collection “The Deportees.”
The Box, NYT,
History of the Faux Tree
November 8, 2007
Filed at 6:23 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Love them or not, today's artificial Christmas trees don't have the uniform
-- and unrealistic -- appearance of their forbears a generation ago.
High-end trees now do their best to mimic the inconsistencies of a natural tree,
with uneven branch sizes, individually shaped needles and variation in color.
And the biggest change in faux trees over the last few decades is the move away
from the jigsaw-puzzle tree of many little pieces toward a typically three-part
tree that opens like an umbrella, says Janet Denton, Christmas buyer for Sears.
Pre-lit trees also have caught on, she says.
An artificial Christmas tree first appeared in Sears' 1910 catalog. It had a
wooden base, five candle attachments, 25 branches and was decorated with red
The price? 23 cents.
By 1915, some of the trees, mounted in large white pots with thick branches
covered with heavy imitation foliage, could cost up to 98 cents, according to
Sears' records. In the 1945 Christmas catalog, the retailer was touting trees
with branches covered with a dark green straw-like yarn that was supposed to
imitate pine needles.
Glamorous nylon net trees were advertised in the 1950s, and '60s artificial
trees were a mix of aluminum, plastic and vinyl. All sides of the tree had a
uniform shape in 1968.
By 1972, however, color variation between light and dark green and even some
blue became popular for a more natural look, although some came tinged with
If you are drawn to an artificial tree, either for practical or environmental
reasons, Sara Ruffin Costello, creative director of the style magazine Domino,
says there are two options to pulling it off: One is to choose a tasteful,
simple artificial tree. The other is to embrace kitsch.
''I wouldn't go for green,'' Costello says. ''I'd go for white or silver. ... A
white tree with black balls, or silver tree with glass and silver ornaments and
metallic garlands. I'd try to keep it just this side of not being tacky. If you
have a real sense of humor, you can go all out and get away with it.''
History of the Faux
Tree, NYT, 8.11.2007,
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
- before it dies out
Sunday December 24, 2006
Robin McKie, science editor
One of the crowning glories of the festive season - holly trees groaning with
clusters of crimson berries - is being destroyed by a combined assault from car
exhausts and global warming.
Researchers have found that high levels of ozone during Britain's increasingly
hot summers are causing holly trees to lose their leaves in winter and suffer
stunted growth. The twin assault is also weakening their ability to withstand
'It is a double whammy,' said Dr Jonathan Ranford, of Staffordshire University,
Stoke-on-Trent. 'The holly trees not only lose leaves after being affected by
ozone, they are then unable to replace those leaves when the growing season
starts up again.'
Ozone is produced when strong sunlight breaks up oxides of nitrogen that are
released by car exhausts. Scientists have warned that the problem is likely to
become more and more severe as global warming intensifies. One effect will be to
increase cases of breathing problems among asthmatics and the elderly. However,
it has also been found that the problem is now affecting many other facets of
life in Britain.
In the case of holly, the threat is outlined in a paper by Ranford and his
colleague, Kevin Reiling, in the current issue of Environmental Pollution. In
their experiments, the pair used sealed chambers in which they grew young holly
trees under a variety of atmospheric conditions. In particular, they altered
amounts of ozone in the air so that they reached the 70 parts per billion level
that has been typical of the intense summers experienced in Europe in recent
Then the pair took these saplings and planted them in open ground where they
compared the trees' growth with that of normal holly saplings. Ranford and
Reiling found the ozone-polluted trees grew 40 per cent fewer leaves in the
experiment's first year compared with the normal holly saplings. Intriguingly,
in the second year, they found there was still a significant knock-on effect,
with leaf numbers down by about 30 per cent. Leaves, using sunlight, turn carbon
dioxide into sugars. Without a full complement of leaves, a plant becomes
'It is possible that ozone-resistant strains of holly trees will evolve as
climate conditions change,' said Ranford. 'On the other hand, we may find we
have much less holly to go around in winter.'
The effect of global warming, in combination with other forms of pollution, is
also illustrated by several other recent studies on British flora and fauna.
Last week the Marine Biology Association reported that seashore creatures,
including barnacles, snails and limpets, were being pushed north in search of
cooler areas of coast. Affected species include toothed and flat topshells,
acorn barnacles, China limpets and small periwinkles while some, such as the
tortoiseshell limpet, have almost disappeared from Britain's shores.
At the same time, researchers at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in
Banchory, Aberdeenshire, have found that nitrogen pollution - from fertilisers
and other sources - has been helping common grasses to replace and kill off the
moss that covers most of the Cairngorm plateau, an effect that is now being
intensified by global warming. Numbers of dotterels which feed on moss have
fallen alarmingly as a result.
Similarly, buff-tailed bumblebees which are not normally seen until spring have
been spotted both in Nottingham and in York, while the red admiral butterfly and
the common darter dragonfly, which are normally expected to be absent from our
gardens during the winter, have been seen in several counties.
A long and prickly history
Druids revered holly as a sacred plant and wore sprigs of it in their hair while
watching priests cut the mistletoe. The Romans attributed the creation of holly
to the god Saturn and gave each other boughs of it during the raucous Saturnalia
festival. Early Christians decked their homes with 'Saturn' holly to avoid
persecution, and it stuck as a symbol of Christmas.
In Christian folklore the prickly leaves of holly became associated with Jesus's
crown of thorns, while their berries represented the drops of blood shed for
humanity's salvation. One of the most popular Christmas carols begins: 'The
holly and the ivy/When they are both full grown/Of all the trees that are in the
wood/The holly bears the crown.'
Famous Hollys include Buddy Holly, the Fifties singer; Holly Hunter, the film
actress; Holly Golightly, the character played by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at
Tiffany's, and Hollywood, which according to popular myth got its name from
imported English holly growing in the area.
There are about 400 species of holly trees and shrubs, growing in all continents
except for Australasia and Antarctica. Their heights range from 6ins to 70ft.
Holly berries are eaten by birds, but are harmful to humans, although holly
leaves have been used by herbalists to treat fevers and smallpox.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly - before it dies
out, O, 24.12.2006,
Ideas & Trends
Ghosts of a Christmas Past,
in Plastic and Tinsel
December 25, 2005
The New York Times
By DAN BARRY
On a December day so cold and wonderful that faces
flash-froze in smiles, we traipsed about a Christmas tree farm before settling
on a Douglas fir as big as your Uncle Bob. I knelt in the snow to saw it at the
stump, while my two young daughters cheered hooray and my wife went to pay a man
whose knees were dry.
Ghosts of a Christmas Past, in Plastic and
Soon we were guiding that fresh trunk into the mouth of a tree stand - It fit
perfectly! - and raising our Christmas tree in a living room warmed by a
crackling fire. And as my daughters strung popcorn and cranberries to hang on
the tree and my wife hummed Handel's "Messiah," I thought about how these
Christmas rituals were so much like the Christmas rituals of my childhood.
Except that we never visited a tree farm, never had a fireplace, never drank
cocoa, never hummed Handel and never strung popcorn. Even the snow was usually
missing, unless you count the glop that hissed from aerosol cans and adhered to
our windowpanes like splattered white mud.
Some of us seek to create a kind of retro, Restoration Hardware Christmas, while
the more competitive among us strive for an older, Currier & Ives Christmas -
each a vision of what we perceive to be authentic. Given this trend, it might
soon be fashionable to festoon our garages with hay, while we pet our rented
mules and present one another with exotic gifts. "Myrrh! What I've always
All this is in keeping with the traditional Christmas emotion of envy. Just
about everyone knows the feeling of twisting into a knot the pair of slipper
socks you've just received, while your sibling is presented with a Mini Cooper.
And just about everyone envies the Christmas experience of others, because they
think those other Christmases are more traditional, more authentic, more in
keeping with what Santa, I mean Jesus, would prefer.
Who among us has read "A Christmas Carol" and not wished that they, too, were
dancing with revelers at good old Fezziwig's, lips numb from rum punch and
bellies full of cold roast? Who has watched "It's a Wonderful Life" and not
wished that townspeople would spontaneously appear at the door to ring in
Christmas - though we all could do without Daddy stumbling drunk and suicidal
through the Christmas Eve snow?
As I watched my older daughter thread a needle through puffs of popcorn to make
a garland, I saw that she was happy, and that made me happy with how my family
celebrates Christmas today. But it also reminded me of how we decorated our
Christmas tree when I was a child, back in the late 1960's - with silvery
garlands that by the third year of use looked like the castoff wraps of a
waterfront gun moll.
And it was then I realized that no one gets all misty about the Christmas
traditions of that era, at least as practiced by my family.
Fine. Dylan Thomas can have his "Child's Christmas in Wales," in which "All the
Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon
bundling down the sky that was our street." And I can have my "Child's Christmas
on Long Island," in which all the Christmases roll down toward Deer Park Avenue,
like a chocolate Entenmann's doughnut rolling along the Formica table that was
Every December, when people on Long Island were starting to say to one another,
"Hey, Have a Happy," my younger brother and I clambered up to the attic of our
modest suburban house to fetch an elongated cardboard box. It contained the
rattling pieces to our Christmas: a metal pole pocked with holes, and a bunch of
bendable green parts that looked like oversize pipe cleaners.
One of my sisters selected a Christmas album to put on the stereo; maybe the
Christmas Sing-Along With Mitch Miller, or the "various artists" collection that
featured a smoky-voiced Marlene Dietrich singing "The Little Drummer Boy"
("Come, dey told me, pa-rum-pum-pum-pum ..."). The other sister whipped up
eggnog so homemade you had to spit out the shells, and prepared a plate of Ritz
crackers slathered with peanut butter or deviled ham.
Then, with the mood joyous and holy, we began to assemble our Christmas tree.
In the years to come, branches would disappear, causing gaps that couldn't be
masked with an ornament the size of a basketball. In the years to come, my
mother - an Irish immigrant who had a farm girl's practicality about her - would
store this assembled tree, ornaments and all, in the back of the garage, next to
the lawn mower, where it would sit from early January until mid-December, when
it would be dusted off and returned to the living room, carrying just a whiff of
But in the early years, we had all our branches. And one by one, we inserted
those branches into holes until we had constructed a lush approximation of a
fir, or a pine; we were never sure which. No matter: it was green. Not white,
not red. Green; because we honored tradition.
Then we reached for our aerosol cans. One emitted a smell that evoked pine,
allowing us to imagine that we had just chopped down this tree from some
magical, metal forest. The other sprayed that white glop onto our windows. A
little bit in this corner, sssss, a little bit in that corner, sssss, a little
bit aimed at Sis, sssss.
"Hey, Mom! Danny's wasting the fake snow!" she wailed. This was a serious
charge, for in our house, to waste fake snow was to sin.
Oh, there was so much to tend to during Advent, that period of joyous
anticipation. We had to pelt the Christmas tree with fistfuls of tinsel. We had
to wrap gnarly garland around the banister. We had to display the Christmas mugs
that, when arranged side by side, would spell N-O-E-L, except that one of the
mugs had broken. But the three remaining mugs did the best they could, wishing
us a sincere and happy N-O-L.
We also had to put together the Nativity scene, which created a crisis of spirit
because the Baby Jesus, the smallest but most important piece, always seemed to
be missing. Just when we had all but given up, and were about to use a small
Lincoln Log as a replacement, the Baby Jesus would appear at the bottom of a box
of ornaments. A Christmas miracle.
Come Christmas Eve, our parents joined us in the living room to get warm beside
the black-and-white Yule log that burned on Channel 11. We listened to a
recording of Mario Lanza singing Christmas carols, because somehow his versions
seemed holier than those of Mitch and his sing-along gang, who could make
"Silent Night" sound like a Sousa march. We drank eggnog, our parents drank
something else, and we talked about the gifts we hoped we would receive come
Rock'em Sock'em Robots! A Suzy Homemaker Oven! Volume 6 in the Hardy Boys
Series: The Shore Road Mystery!
Christmas morning had a distinct smell, it seems now, of freshly brewed coffee,
cigarettes and aerosol pine. We descended the garland-bedecked stairs to a
wonderland, one without boxing robots and miniature ovens, but jammed
nevertheless with books and balls and clothes and cheap toys, like that
cymbal-playing mechanical monkey that would break and fall silent by New Year's
After the torn wrapping had been balled up and tossed around, after the last of
the sugary milk in cereal bowls had been slurped, we envisioned a day of playing
with toys and asking friends a defining question - "Whadjaget?" - while our
mother baked a ham and set out bowls of olives, which we popped in our mouths
one after another until we could have no more.
But first we reluctantly dressed in our just-unwrapped clothes and went to
Christmas Mass. We sang "Joy to the World," and we meant it.
Related > Anglonautes >
Christians > Holy Bible > New Testament > Jesus
international, diplomacy > Middle East >
Palestinian territories > West Bank
time > Christmas > Nativity story
time > Christmas
Christmas > Commercialism
time > Christmas > Santa Claus
Christmas > Ornaments / crèches / presents / tree