During the Christmas season mom hung three stockings from the archway that led to the kitchen, representing my nuclear family of mom, dad, and me. Reindeer flew across the living room mirror in the form of soapy dabbed stencils that mom crafted every year. The silver-foiled Christmas tree slowly transformed from red, blue, orange and green from the glaring beam of psychedelic rotating light. There was plastic holly, mistletoe, and as many as seventy holiday cards that were taped along the stairwell.
After searching relentlessly for Santa Claus’s flying sled from my window one Christmas Eve, I returned to the living room only to find mom neatly placing presents under the tree. Seeing my astonishment, she said Santa had just dropped the presents down through the chimney.
But we didn’t have a chimney. We had a gas furnace. That story was impossible.