Our anticipation of the Christmas gala began as soon as we took off our Halloween costumes. Thanksgiving, after all, did not include candy or toys, and did not count as a real holiday. My Mother started with the Christmas buildup right after Halloween and even got a small Christmas tree for my younger siblings; that is, until she had to perform triage removing the shards when toddler Donna crawled up and took a bite out of an appealing glass ornament. We lived on the big commercial street in the neighborhood and we watched as merchants decorated their windows with holiday scenes, soaped the glass to resemble snow and promoted Christmas gift buying. Even the street lamps were decorated every year, with wreaths and ornaments, and I thought they added a special touch as we viewed them from our third story perch.
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