“Every Year” by Chris Zito

As my wife started putting up a few Christmas decorations yesterday I realized that I hadn’t seen them before.  As a kid my mom had the same decorations in the same spots in the house every year. I was the youngest and wasn’t around during the accumulation phase of her decorating career. This was back when all Christmas decorations, including the tree, cost a nickel.

Can you believe everything pictured totaled nearly $6! Thank God for overtime!

My wife just loves a bargain so she gets her decorations at the Christmas Tree Shop. A store you won’t find me in unless it’s a hostage situation. It’s true. If you ever see me in a Christmas Tree Shop rest assured there’s someone pointing a gun to my head. I despise the place. It’s filled with junk that is apparently too hard for some people to pass up. “Oh, look, something we don’t need or will ever use but it’s only $3 for the set!”

Give me the gun. I’ll shoot myself.

By the time I was really aware of what the house looked like at Christmastime Mom had a system down and a place for everything. The same garland on the banister of the stairs, the same plastic Dickinsonian lamp posts on the front porch. And the same creepy little elves on the wall lighting units on the walls in the living room.  Mom used to tell us that they were magic elves that kept an eye on us and made sure we were good. Since then someone’s figured out how to sell this idea (Elf on a Shelf!) to young moms who haven’t quite learned how easy it is to lie to little kids.

These elves kept my brothers and I from hitting each other all through Advent.

Our Christmases were rich in tradition and habit when I was growing up. Everything and everyone had a place. There were the Christmas tree lights with the years they had been used written on the box, the cardboard fireplace (worthy of its own post), and the traditional picture of my brothers and I in front of the tree in matching pajamas. This was back when you could still torture your children without the authorities stepping in.

“I told you to sit still and look adorable!”

Over the next few weeks I’ll write about those Christmases growing up on Hawthorne St. We were lucky. They were thrilling, joyful, and fun. And those creepy elves always kept us in line.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


2 Responses

  1. i just googled Christmas elf decorations and to my surprise I found a picture of the elves that my mother used to tell my brother and sister were real and sent from the north pole to watch over us. do you have any idea what they are called or where i can get them? it would make my Christmas!!

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