Its Christmasy perfume washed over me while I inspected the tree and ultimately determined it was the best one we ever had. At last, when it was time for the ornaments, I dug through the boxes looking for my favorites. Removing them from the tissue they had been wrapped in felt like greeting an old friend. Each one had a story.
I tried not to be a nuisance while my brothers tested light bulbs and untangled cords, but it was hard being patient. I busied myself sifting through of the boxes of decorations and ornaments that had been brought up from the basement.
Our stockings were usually stuffed with practical items like Lubriderm, a can of tennis balls and gum. She was proud of how clever she thought it was to put such an elaborate gift in the bottom of the ridiculous stocking. My dad was usually the one who sprung a surprise piece of jewelry on her, so he was legitimately pleased. The painted toilet roll with pipe a cleaner hook I made in kindergarten.
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There was a giant hot pink ball with a paisley design made from gold twine and sequins that I hung first at the very bottom of the tree. It was usually the one ornament that I placed that no one bothered to move.
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My painted toilet roll always started out front and center, but usually ended up tucked in the back, while the bulbs my brother preferred hung prominently in full view. Over the years a strange, unspoken competition developed between my sister and I over who would find and hang the bell-shaped silver ornament with a cut out of a man in a sombrero playing the guitar.
It was rare that I was ever the winner, but when I was, I considered it a great personal victory. I think my mom preferred a more elegant, less homespun aesthetic, but she never insisted on the ribbon. After the ornaments, it was time for the tinsel.
Long strings of metallic silver string that we draped by the handful on the ends of the branches. It looked nothing like the icicles it was supposed to resemble.
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The finishing touch was canned snow. We sprayed the branches liberally with the artificial snow until we were satisfied that it looked authentic, but could never leave well enough alone. I tried to keep myself busy in hopes that time would pass more quickly. I gladly joined my mom on last-minute errands to the market and drug store, taking special notice of the small spiral notebook containing our Christmas lists tucked into her purse. The black and white movie from would either put me to sleep or help me kill two hours.
Though there is no white Christmas in Southern California, the shorter winter days made Christmas Eve feel tortuous and long. An endless day was taken over by an endless night of fitful sleep punctuated with clock watching and wondering if morning would ever arrive. My morning began with the Sisyphean task of waking everyone up.
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As I attempted to rouse each of my siblings, they gave the same responses— they would get up when everyone else did. My parents usually took mercy on me and sent me downstairs to open my stocking while I waited for the others to catch up. Because I had spent the days leading up to Christmas carefully itemizing everything under the tree, I was always happy to find some late additions that were too big to wrap.
A bike with a bow on its bell or a life-sized doll peeking out from a stack of presents. It always felt like it was over before it began. Torn wrapping paper was stuffed into a large trash bag. Ribbons were set aside on the coffee table to be saved for the next year. Close harmony songs and car Sat 9 Nov.
Sat 26 Oct. Sat 14 Mar The great bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel returns to the company for the first tim Sun 19 Jan After wowing audiences with his astounding production of Lulu in , South African artist William Kentridge Sun 24 Nov. Jamie Smith Cornet Main Info Main Info Soprano Gabriella Pineda-Rodrigues is joined by pianist Kate Wishart for an evening of Christmas favourites that promises to be a superb evening of Christmas music and fun with opportunities for the audience to join in.
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