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Messy, But Irreplaceable

(by Jennifer Hobbs)

I grew up in a household that was Christmas-obsessed. Somehow, no matter how much else we had going on, no matter what family crisis may have occurred, no matter whether our wallets were padded or threadbare, Christmas reigned supreme at our home in Baltimore, Maryland.

From Black Friday all the way through New Year’s Day, our lives revolved around Christmas preparations and celebrations. We went tree shopping and selected the biggest one we could haul home, which would get balled and burlapped, and eventually planted in our yard. My parents’ backyard is still peppered with pine trees, grown 20 and 30 feet tall with time. Decorating the house (inside and out) took several weekends of nonstop work. My mom even videotaped where every decoration went to simplify the process. My dad’s job had him on the road a lot; he would make note of the best-decorated houses and take us on a “Christmas Lights Tour” every winter. We would plan activities with family and friends, bake cookies, play music, and put a few dollars