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Sunday, December 23, 2018

In a Tangle of too-much Tinsel

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas as I do, I wish all my readers the peace and beauty of this season of hope and promise. As I carry on the traditions of my family, it is impossible not to think of past Christmases. 

My father was a commercial artist with a keen sense of artistry and perfection. He also loved the delicacy of tinsel, a fondness which my siblings and I did not share. In our Christmas Eve enthusiasm, amid the smell and sputter of frying fish, with carols playing in the background and the yule log flickering on the TV, we did not have the patience for the time consuming application of singular silver strands and much preferred the placement of tangled clumps. Too much tinsel, my father would say, removing and returning knotted clusters into impatient hands. Though we no longer decorate our tree with strips of foil,  I do keep an unopened box of tinsel in the bottom of my family's ornament box. Every year, with carols playing softly in background, and real logs crackling in the fireplace, I still hear my father's voice...not too much tinsel, Ann.  Simple is best.

Like presents stacked
in falling snow, 
the years pile on

and perfectly preserved
in the silent, white cold

are Christmas mornings
and Christmas memories—

snowball cookies, struffoli,
and Christmas bread
shaped like frosted trees;

the crinkle of paper,
the laughter and song,

the circle of family,
of love unchanged;

such a gift —
when the wind gusts
and the snow drifts,

such a gift, to remember,
to quite simply remember

tiny twinkling lights
in a tangle of too-much tinsel.