Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 9th

The Door to December 9th

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Dear Gift Hiding Colleagues,

Have you ever hid Christmas presents so well that you couldn’t find them when you needed to?


Like our old friend Clark Griswold here:

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Hiding Christmas presents can be a tricky business. You want to find the perfect place to keep them from being discovered, but you don’t want it to be so good that you cannot find where you hid them when you need to get them for Christmas Morning.

It’s a true conundrum when you have a variety of little elves of different ages and different levels of belief. The small ones are truly all in, and not too keen on catching Santa at his work. Their natural curiosity is sublimated by their mere awe of the day and the sensory overloaded bacchanalia that occurs once they awaken and find a store of toys and mysteriously wrapped boxes ‘neath the Christmas Tree.

However, as we move up the age range to the middlings, things start to get a bit more challenging for Santa. around 7-9 is the age of skepticism. Usually, kids of this age are harangued by their peers at school or older friends that have made connections and discoveries on their own. Or, if they are a particularly skeptical child with an eye towards making dramatic revelations, then you’re work is cut out for you. 

The hiding of presents is an art form, but don’t get too ahead of yourself. This Santa’s secret is to often make use of hiding gifts in plain sight. Sometimes, these are the hardest presents to see. There is a level of satisfaction when you are able to hide a gift in plain sight without them discovering it. This is Master level stuff. However, that is not always the best option when your kids are perceptive and motivated to expose the whole operation. 

So you must move forward and find spots in your home that no one would ever think of stashing the goods. Do you have a critter-free crawlspace? If so, that is a wonderful place to stow the goods. Just be sure that the gifts are not temperature sensitive. It’s best to take care in hiding all electronics, as you don’t want them in the “too cold” and you don’t want them in the “sweaty warm”. There is a sweet spot, I don’t know how to explain it, you’ll just know when you know. Trust me!

Once your crawlspace is encumbered by a number of boxes and bags, perhaps the storage space in the attic is a reasonable place to use. Most kids are terrified of the possibility of something, really anything being in the attic. For those of you that consider yourselves professionals, here’s a tip from Santa Chris, you can bring a reindeer to the trough, but you don’t necessarily have to make it drink. My strategy for scaring the kids from staying out of certain parts of the house is by telling them that I’m scared to go into the (insert place here.) Don’t explain why you are afraid. Let it sort of hang there. Show a confused face and make the same sound that you make when you go outside on a cold day and want to let everyone know it’s freezing balls out. Then let the suggestion, the face, and the sound come together and work with their imaginations. You are guaranteed that they will never step foot in the place you cited as they will likely be afraid to do so for the rest of their lives. This is a wonderful thing is it will allow you to hide things in this space for multiple years. It saves you time and allows you more precious time to make more eggnog cocktails.

You can also play the parent card and hide things in your own personal bureaus, as kids are reluctant to invade such spaces. So it’s a fair bet that those places are safe.

Now, once the kiddies are duped, you might have to turn your attention to your spouse. This is where it gets to next level shit. Spouses are hard to trick with your normal peasant-present slight of hand. You really have to delve into Jedi Mind Tricks on this. In order to hide gifts from a spouse you need to rent a storage space, put it at a friend’s house, and as a last resort the best way to keep your spouse from finding a present that you are hiding is to not buy them a present in the first place; they can’t find what isn’t there. Game, set, match!

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However, I don’t suggest you meander into the waters of denying a spouse a shiny shiny on the big day. Despite your logic being foolproof you need to ask yourself a serious question, when has logic being foolproof ever worked to your advantage before? See, you know what’s up, I don’t have to remind you. So, it’s best to buy that present and bury it in the backyard. Think of it like this…at least you’ll get some exercise when you are kicked out of the house for not being able to find the present you buried in the backyard to keep your spouse from finding it. You might be cold and your hands might be numb, but you will be warmed by the satisfaction that you were able to fool two full grown adults with your proficiency at being clandestine. The bonus is that when you eventually discover it you might get back into the house. Next time draw a map and leave it at the bottom of the trash can under the bag, as that is a place your spouse will never ever see as it is likely that they will never ever replace a trash bag in the entirety of your domestic life. 

Happy Hiding!


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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 8th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 8th

Door to December 8th


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Dear Jollies,

I hope this post finds you in the mood of the season. December 8th always seems to be a bittersweet date for me. It is the date that John Lennon was taken from the world. It’s been forty one years since that tragic event. Although I try not to focus on his death, it is hard not to contemplate the things that could have been if we still had him with us. John is a favorite of mine. Not only because I dig his body of work, but because he was a flawed human being. I think the tendency for many people that revere idols is to view them as some sort of ideal that never changes and exceeds the negative possibility of our shared humanity.

On the contrary, I find John Lennon more interesting because he was human, and in spite of himself, he tried his best to do better and hoped for the better for all of us. I don’t want my heroes to be perfect. I want them to be complicated. Full of inconsistency, and as confused about their choices as I find myself to be by mine on the regular. If I see that there are others striving for a better version of themselves, then that motivates me to do the same. John gave the world so much. I value his ideas, his music, and his contradictions. 



With that said, who doesn’t enjoy a good eggnog? I certainly do. Speaking about contradictions: I hate eggs, but I love eggnog. Try to figure that one out.

Ever since I was a kid and the Christmas Season was upon us our fridge would find a carton of Hood Golden Eggnog on one of the shelves. As a kid you learn to enjoy its sugary smoothness, and then when your an adult you learn to enjoy it with the addition of some spirits.

Nowadays, I tend to add some whiskey to my Eggnog concoctions and let the sugary smoothness with a bit of bite warm me from the inside. Also, many folks tend to opt for the nutmeg accompaniment. Whereas I choose: yes, you guessed it, Cinnamon Sugar.

It is a very exclusive drink for me as I only consume eggnog during the winter and generally just around the Christmas Holiday.  Wherever you may be during this fine Holiday Season, I hope that you find yourself in a position to enjoy some eggnog. Pass through the Door to December 8th to find a delicious recipe for making your very own eggnog special.





Kahlua, Eggnog and Irish Whiskey Cocktail

Kahlua, Eggnog and Irish Whiskey Cocktail

A variation on a Kahlua and Eggnog Cocktail with the addition of some Irish Whiskey. Perfect.

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 4 oz eggnog
  • Nutmeg, grated


  1. Fill cocktail glasses with crushed ice.
  2. Put the Kahlua, whiskey and eggnog into a pitcher and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour over ice and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 7th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 7th

Door to December 7th

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Dear Holy Rollers,

You can’t speak of Advent Adventures without making mention of the Christian celebration of the season of Advent.

According to Wiki-Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christianity, and is part of the wider Christmas and holiday season. (Advent – Wikipedia)

Growing up in the Catholic faith, this was a big part of our year. It not only marked the significance of an important icon in the Church, but it was the path that led to Christmas Day. As a kid, you were willing to get down with all of the religiosity you could handle if it meant that by enduring it you could get to open presents on Jesus’ Birthday. Hell, who wouldn’t want to get presents on someone else’s birthday?

Advent was a period of great anticipation and it marked a countdown for us. Each week we would immerse ourselves in the rites and symbolism of the liturgy and scratch off another lit candle by week’s end. Four was a nice easy number to remember.

The Advent Wreath was set up in a place of prominence at the front of the altar of our Church, so that all parishioners would be able to see it. It was our job as altar boys to make sure the candles on the Advent Wreath were lit. You had to light them in the correct order, or there would be complications. Complications would be getting a stern lecture about how to properly light the candles from our Church’s Pastor. A Pastor that could have fit nicely as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island training Marine Recruits. In fact, the altar boys in my Church were more or less a platoon ready to march at our Pastor’s command.

One time a funeral director from out of town came in and did a service. It was customary for the altar boys to get tipped for serving the funeral, but the funeral director must have missed that “suggestion”. When we came back empty handed our Pastor told us to go stand in front of the hearse until the funeral director paid up. It seems like an embellishment, but hand to God, it really happened. We got the tip money, that funeral director likely never had a funeral at our church again. 

Please see the explanations of the rites of Advent below. They are informative and explain a bit about the significance of each candle in the wreath. When thinking back on those days of my life, I fondly remember the incandescent images of candles burning in the church. A mysterious glow. A wondrous glow. So many eyes and hearts focused on those points of light, waiting in anticipation for something to happen. I think I recall the phrasing “waiting in joyful hope”.

Whether you are waiting in joyful hope for the eventual return of a promised savior or just for the annual tickle from Old St. Nick, it certainly is nice to have rituals and candles to see you through.






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All information below is provided in courtesy by: Learn Religions – Guide to the Beliefs and Religions of the World

History and Time of the Advent Wreath

The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. The original purpose of the wreath was to bring focus on Christmas rather than on Advent as a distinct season. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.

The symbolism of Advent Wreath Candles

Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these colored advent candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world. Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

Prophecy Candle

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) This first candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

Bethlehem Candle

On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12, NIV)

Shepherds Candle

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle,” and it represents joy: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8–11, NIV)

Angels Candle

The fourth and last purple candle, often called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13–14, NIV)

Christ Candle

On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NIV)


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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 6th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 6th

Door to December 6th


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Dear Season’s Greeters,

I hope this post finds you well. We are moving quickly into the second week of December 2021, and we anticipate another festive season. I’ve been doing my decorating duties at home, as well as watching my Hallmark Movies. Soon I’ll be sitting down to write some Christmas Cards 😉 Oh, and the music, we’ve been listening to Christmas Music pretty much since the second week of November. We have a jolly bunch of elves all up in my place. 

Yesterday, my daughter in a fit of boredom decided to go shopping at our house and then wrap the gifts that she “bought” for us. We had the presentation of gifts shortly after dinner. She didn’t do too bad. She found items that were applicable and appropriate to all. The baby got a toy. The toddler got a board book. Her older brother got a Dinosaur book. My wife got a novel. I got a book of puzzles. So it was a success. Whether she realizes it or not, she is prepping for a lifetime of gift-giving and her strategy is sound. She chose each gift she wrapped because she thought of two things: Is the gift something they like? Is the gift something that I know will interest them? She comes from a proud legacy of thoughtful shoppers.

However, the shopper that was the most thoughtful in my life was my late Da, Paul Hickey. Not only was he thoughtful, but I feel pretty comfortable awarding him the title of “Perfect Gifter”

Being a “Perfect Gifter” essentially means that you understand the things that people like and you understand the things that interest people. Also, you are able to discern those two things without the recipient knowing and surprise them entirely by gifting them something that they didn’t even realize that they wanted and would likely never buy for themselves. Many folks get so caught up in the shock and awe factor, that they simply don’t place a high enough value on the personal connection of the gesture. When giving a gift to someone you care about the amount of thought matters greatly. It is better to receive one well thought out gift, than to receive a dozen gifts given without any thought.

When someone takes the time to see you, really see you, they want to acknowledge that they care about you and will show you that the things you care about are worth sharing. My Da had a preternatural talent for this. A gift, if you will? I can’t recount as adults how many times he was able to honor our shared experiences, my personal preferences, and to be able to connect the dots so that I would be surprised. So many times. I’m grateful that he listened to the song of my life and was able to contribute so many verses. 

Gifts are not about transactional exchanges, they are opportunities to let other people know that they are valued and appreciated for who they are and what you share between you. 

I hope that you are a “Perfect Gifter” to someone else, or you have experienced the kindness and love that comes of having such a person in your life.






“Perfect Gifter”


Perfect Gifter,

Shopping sifter,

Talent, care, and knack.


Well received,

Exceeding need,

Don’t have to bring it back.


Perfect Gifter,

Wondrous winter,

Wrapped up in delight.


Care connection,

Thoughtful reflection,

You always get it right.


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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 5th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 4th

Door to December 4th


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Dear Fa-la-la-la-la’s,

I hope this post finds you well. Long before we could correspond with each other in an instant we used to engage in a remarkable practice of sending physical items to each other through a service called the postal service. Before telephones, faxes, email, instant-messaging, texts, and tweets we would sit down and take the time to write words onto a page and send them to someone that would read them. Then they would sometimes reply to that communication by sending words on a page back. Simpler times 😛 

What was remarkable about this exchange was the care that people took in sending regards. In my experience, this was most especially felt during the holiday season of Christmas. Families would mark this special time by sending news and developments that had occurred over the past year, and finally well wishes for an even better year the following year.

Making someone’s Christmas Card list was an honor and to receive tidings from them in December meant a great deal.

The custom we practiced was to pick the frame of one of the doors in our home and used tape to affix them around that frame. It added another level of cheer to our home, and it was a physical reminder to us during the holiday season how many people we cared about and thought well enough about us to send us a card.

Over the years as technology improved, Christmas Cards found new formats and expressions and we found visual scenes by Currier and Ives being replaced by photos of our family and friends. Whole companies and businesses appeared to ease the rush of the holiday season by creating your cards for you and printing them out in batches so all you would have to do was put it in a stamped and addressed envelope and send out to your list. Process streamlined even further by excel spreadsheets, label makers and printing out your postage for you, so you wouldn’t even have to interact with a postal worker at the post office when buying seasonal stamps.

Call me a curmudgeon, call me a Scrooge, but something is lost here. Something integral to the whole point of the gesture: the personal touch. The act of sitting down and writing Christmas Cards to a friend or a family member is a defiant one in some ways, because it bucks the trend of succumbing to the rush and just checking another box on a long list of things to do.

The act in and of itself is precious and it is an opportunity for us to reflect in a meaningful way upon those that matter most to us. Sitting down and being present while writing Christmas Cards is therapeutic. It calls on us to remember, actually remember and contemplate the ties and relationships in our lives. There is magic in reading the written words of someone in your life. It shows care. It shows love. It shows focus.

If there is something I could convince you of this holiday season it would be to go to the dollar store and pick up a box of Christmas Cards, then go home and pull your address book out (yes, even if it’s in your phone) and sit down and be present with the process of reaching out to folks in your life that you are quite fond of. Write words on the card, see them, feel them, think about what you write, and think about the person you are sending to; in these moments you are part of the spirit of Christmas. 

You won’t regret it, I promise. If living during a pandemic has taught me anything it has taught me that being present in the moment and valuing that time is a gift.

In fact, I have a humble request: send me a Christmas Card. Let me know if this post has impacted you. Let me know if you’ve sent any cards out to friends and family. I’ll promise to write you back. Also, when I amass the cards from family, friends, and you; I’ll arrange them around the frame of a door in my home and I’ll post a pic so that you can see one of the ways I celebrate Christmas.

My address:

ProCrasstheNation Blog

492 Pleasant Street

Malden, MA 02148


I look forward to turning back time and corresponding with you my Dear Readers









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Check out a recent poem here: Advent Adventures: Door to December 3rd – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 3rd

Door to December 3rd


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Dear Friends,

I mentioned in my Facebook virtual square that last weekend our eldest son came to us with questions about the Big Man Himself. This week has been a wonderful topsy-turvy execution of following through on a promise we made to that eldest child from before he was old enough to walk. We have embodied the Christmas Spirit year after year by making the gift of giving a fun opportunity to remind people that we love them and that it can be fun to surprise others by showing them that they are well thought of. The gifts are not the gift. The gift is the spirit of giving without expectation of something in return. The gift is helping others that need help. The gift is in spending time with people that you love. 

We were able to navigate the hard part of the conversation with our eldest, but after that he shared with us what he thought, and it was evident to us that the promise we made to him by teaching him to give to others unconditionally is now part of his heart. The magic of Christmas continues on for him and I can think of no better advocate to teach others the lessons of giving than our beautiful boy. 

Yes Atticus, there is a Santa Clause! And now you hold that promise in your heart and will forever touch that light upon others. 







As with so many things that add to the kismet I experience on the regular, here is another. Not soon after I had the conversation with my son about Santa, I heard the song below for the first time. The tears rolled down my cheeks and met the smile the slowly crept upward as Rob Thomas and Abby Anderson helped me to remember my promise to myself and my family to hold and cherish the spirit of Christmas in my heart.  Christmas is not a noun in our house, it’s a verb.






































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Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 2nd

Door to December 2nd


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Welcome back Dearest Elves, Santa’s Helpers, and Giftee Giving Gifters,

I appreciate your patronage of my blog adventures. Sometime in the shadow of last night my blog total hits eclipsed 40,000. A singular success for a casual blogger.

In a season of merriment and mirth, sometimes the dark days of winter turn gray and deliver you to memories that are lukewarm at best. Life is a balancing act and part of the fun is in sampling the range of emotions associated with living it. Sometimes disappointment rears its ugly head, but we must remember to make an effort to make the best of any situation we find ourselves in. In a season that is imbued with anticipation, it is fair to point out what The Rolling Stones knew all along: “You can’t always get what you want…”














“Drawing Down, Dead Down”

At another Christmastime,

I dined at midday,

On the winter solstice,

With my work colleagues.

We wanted Ramen,

But, begrudgingly settled for pub fare due to long lines at the Ramen place.

Pubs provide listless people lists of listless choices.

I chose the Shepard’s Pie,

infused with lamb protein.

When choosing from a listless list,

Authenticity seems important.

At least, in that moment.

But, fuck, it falls flat.

Just another pretentious misadventure,

Whereby, my dish provides all discomfort and no comfort.

The meat tasting as if simmered in a Dutch Oven with flakes of junkyard rusted automobiles.




Not my best chew.

Thank Christ for the bread,

Slathered with as much butter as a teensie-weensie butter basket can provide.

Next year,

I’ll wait in the Ramen queue for however long it takes.



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Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 1st

 Door to December 1st

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Dearest Friends,

Welcome to a month of merriment and mirth. A period of looking backward, looking forward, and every now and then just staying within the moment. I am happy to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you during this special time. I encourage you to poke around the site to see what treasures might be waiting for those of you so inclined to seek out nostalgia, irreverence, mischief, and the very gladdest of tidings.

Each day this month I want you to pass through a door and see what is on the other side. Doors are interesting things aren’t they? They serve as points of entry, they keep out the terrors of ordinary life, and they preserve the many comforts of a home. You simply have to make the choice to open the door and step over the threshold to learn what is inside.

My hearth is warm and waiting for all to come sit nearby and share in the stories, the conversations, and the music of the season during our month of merriment and mirth.
















Doing something tonight that I haven’t done in a while.


There, all the lights are out.

Except the Christmas Tree.

Magic lights, blinking dreams. Heart flutters and sugarplum fairies goading me to remember the short past or long past. It depends entirely on your perspective.

As a matter of convenience I’ve located an app on my smart tv that plays Christmas Ditties. Years ago it was cassette tapes, then it was CDs, then digital downloads. Now live streaming. Buffing along song to song, being carried down the stream of memories that connects me to this holiday season and all the holiday seasons that I’ve made my stake and found my joy within.

This is a truly magical time of year in my heart and in all of my actions. It always has been, as far back as I can remember.

I grew up in a standard household of four. Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. There was a dog (an Irish Setter, named Katie), multiple hamsters and gold fish which never lasted, and a two bedroom second floor flat that held sway over my imagination over the formative years of my life.

We were poor, but didn’t realize we were. That might have been the greatest gift of our childhood (of which we had many gifts). Running a house in today’s world gives me a respect for all that my parents sacrificed in order to provide so many good times, and great Christmases.

My Mom, after her Mom, was the Major General of the production. It all started with her desire to create a happy holiday home. My cheeks turn red when thinking about all the things she lavished upon us. We were spoiled in these holiday moments, and graciously gifted many times over by two sets of grand parents and three doting uncles. We all lived within a square mile in those days, and the traipsing back and forth from home to home allowed for us to grow keen of different types of cooking at each home. as well as a nose for our favorites.

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention how important the church was in our lives, our parish life.

All good things contained within the wilds of zip code 02129, “Chawles’town” to the locals. God, school, family, friends. Life! Holiday life!

My father, a fine accomplice in achieving my mother’s designs, was satisfied to use his artistic talents to create elaborate decorating schemes and turn our apartment into a Winter Wonderland. One year he used tin foil attached to the wall around the Christmas Tree to give the blinking lights an infinity effect, another year he made an entire village out of balsa wood to surround the train beneath the tree, and in yet another year he painstakingly carved snowflakes out of glossy white paper with an Exacto Knife and affixed glitter to them so they could be hung from our suspended ceiling by paper clips.

The magic was real. When the lights went out and the tree came on we were transported to another world.

This was our normal. We didn’t know any better. We never knew of the amount of time and effort that was dedicated to achieving the proper effect. Halls decked.

Mom and Dad, a formidable Christmas Duo, raising bars and setting precedents that I still aspire to each and every Christmas.

The music continues to play, and each verse and chorus puts me in the frame of a wonderful memory.

Recounting is fun, but remembering past warmth in the grinning comfort of a glowing Christmas Tree room is sublime.

I look forward to some deep dives back in time and to bringing some gems to the forefront. Keep measure in coming days, as I plan to elaborate on all that I found good, curious, and magical.

…soon it will be Christmas Day

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