The twinkle lights were the first to go up in the house while Nat King Cole played quietly in the background and a cup of hot cocoa with Bailey’s Irish Cream sat slowly cooling in front of the open fireplace. She loved the holidays and putting up the decorations was always a favorite tradition that she savored in her solitude. Of course each branch of the (incredibly fragrant) Douglas fir she’d chosen for her tree was individually wrapped with but lights also sparkled in the ponderosa garland she hung from the banisters and lay across the mantelpiece. The pine and orange scents from both evergreens mingled with the warmth of the lights and the heat from the fireplace making everything seem all the more festive.
Her next step, of course, was to drape the cranberry garland she’d painstakingly threaded by hand around the tree from the top to the bottom. She’d also made a garland with cranberries and dried orange slices with cloves like slices of pomander for the mantlepiece. She couldn’t help but love the bright warm colors aglow from the twinkling lights or sunbeams from the bright, white, snow covered window.
Carefully she tied each scarlett ribbon for the delicate glass baubles that she adorned the branches of the tree with, intermingled with carefully careless gobs of silver colored lead tinsel. She knew it was toxic but her holiday was going to be spent mostly alone with no children or pets to worry about. She set the the glass icicles glinting elegantly from the garlands tied with silver string in the same manner.
One at a time, she unwrapped treasured Christmas nick-knacks, books, music boxes, and her mother’s crèche, arranging them just so around her rooms. But the last decoration she put up, the last decoration she put up every year, was the one that always went unnoticed and unappreciated.
“Maybe this year will be different,” she hoped silently, praying to the baby Jesus lying in the manger under the tree…
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