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The End of Christmas

Year one of the pandemic necessitated a stay-at-home Christmas without visitors. To cheer things up a bit, we put up our artificial tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving and didn't take it down until mid-January. Why not, I reasoned, because surely 2021 will be different. But it wasn't. So the tree went up the day after Thanksgiving. Today I packed the ornaments away.

The wonderful thing about keeping up a tree that long is that I get to appreciate the ornaments and the memories that go with each. Some were gifts. Some were purchases. They were acquired over more than two decades. We still have some of the ornaments Glen and I got for our first Christmas, when money was tight and I bought them from a thrift store. We got some on our many trips—Morocco, Peru, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Cambria, a diner near Area 51 in Nevada. Others were given to us by one set of parents or the other. All our parents have died, but we remember the circumstances under which they gifted us each ornament and fondly remember them each year.

It is a bit sad at how many ornaments were given to us by people who are now deceased—college friends, my sister, my sister-in-law, one of my best work friends from Seattle. Other ornaments represent performances we've attended—San Jose Nutcracker, California Revels, and Cirque du Soleil. This year, we hung a Covid mask made from holiday material. One day, I hope that mask sparks a faraway memory.

Next Christmas, will be different. We have plans to travel the Southern Ocean starting around Christmas and into January. We won't have tree then, but we will have snow and cold weather!

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