Christmas holidays at my apartment on Madison Street resembled the excess of the scene in A Christmas Carol when the Spirit of Christmas Present makes his appearance. Thanks to my mother and her holiday zeal, a cornucopia of Christmas candy, toys, games and food materialized in our living room every year.
Sweets of every conceivable variety appeared in dishes around the room. One kind of chocolate was never enough. My mother had a formidable sweet tooth. She even liked candy we hated, and bought it all. She lived the rest of the year on M&Ms, Coca Cola and cigs, supplementing her diet with barbeque potato chips for fiber. As the Christmas holidays approached, the every growing mountain of candy came as no surprise to us—kids who knew there might not be milk in the fridge, but there would always be a six pack of Coke. Fannie May, Dutch Mill, Brach’s mints, solid chocolate Santas, ribbon candy and candy canes—we had it all.
The living room was decorated to the nines. A wreath with, very fittingly, a stuffed Santa Claus doll toasting us with a Coke adorned the mantel over the fireplace. Syrupy, dark, bubbly Coke was always the drink of choice in our house. The mantel hosted Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, a papier mache display made by the disabled kids at my grandmother’s school, Nativity scenes, angels, elves, candles, and other Christmas figurines. It was a bright, festive crowd up there.
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