Monday, November 15, 2004


As the years passed, Christmas at her mother’s became more regimented, coordinated, sanitized. The holiday bulbs came to match the placemats. By Tessa’s twenty-first year, the chaotic beauty of mismatched decorations and homemade Santa drawings had pretty much gone the way of her legions of stuffed animals—packed away and pushed away, banished to cardboard boxes labeled with black magic marker and stacked in the cellar corner. Arriving home from college that December, she found a perfectly straight, perfectly symmetrical plastic tree decked in carefully placed, color-coordinated ornaments—chosen to bring out the pale blue strands crisscrossing the living room rug.


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