When I was a child, Christmas gifts were a big deal.

My mother put up a gorgeous Christmas tree every year—a copy of a tree she had seen in a fancy department store in New York City. And under the tree were gifts and gifts and gifts. My brother and I each had twenty or thirty gifts. And they would be opened one by one and each gift passed around for all to see. Yes, it took all morning, and no, I don’t come from a wealthy family. My mother just saved up any and everything we needed starting in September or so, so some of the boxes contained underwear or socks or crayons…whatever she would have given us in the course of daily life, she instead waited until Christmas and put it in a box. And she wrapped every single one with beautiful paper and ribbons.

We did our part to keep the industrial economy going every Christmas.
 

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