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Letter of the day: How stripping away all the tattiness and tinsel taught this child the real meaning of Christmas

Festive message

GROWING up in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, Christmas was a really big deal for me.

I would get excited and start telling my mom and dad what I wanted for Christmas in September.

My parents told me not to mention Christmas until after Thanksgiving Day, but I kept it up and was relentless in my pursuit of the gifts I felt I needed. Then, the unmentionable hit the fan: my dad cancelled Christmas.

There would be no Christmas lights on the outside of the house and no Christmas tree in the house; no decorations and no Santa on the lawn. I complained to my mom; she agreed with my dad.

For the next three months, I pleaded, apologised, did everything I could to have Christmas, but it was a no-go.

On Christmas Eve my dad asked me to help him wash our car at the car-wash. During this time away, my dad arranged to have lights put up on the house, put Santa on the lawn and have our neighbours take the Christmas tree out of their garage to our house and decorate it.

We really enjoyed Christmas that year. It made me appreciate the meaning of Christmas; it's not the gifts, it's your family and friends who make it all worthwhile.

And, by the way, I never mentioned Christmas before Thanksgiving again.


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