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It is the big weekend, the weekend when I bring up the plastic totes from the basement and start unpacking my Christmas things to decorate the house. I always wait until the first full weekend in Dec. or the 7th, which ever comes last.

I'll unpack the dozens of angels, most of which are from the 60's and early 70's, but some older. There are the ornaments that include some that are at least 50 years old and kitchsy ones from around 1973. And I'll carefully unwrap and put out of reach of cats and kids, the Josef Originals nativity that is over 40 years old.

The plastic santa with sleigh and reindeer, and the celluloid (I think that is what it is) reindeer that made it from my father's childhood to now mostly intact, will come out, and the tinsel star, now under glass, that we thought lost for so many years will be hung on the wall.

And I'll unpack a lifetime worth of memories too: The childhood Christmases full of fun and wonder when my mother and I would decorate the house from one end to the other, occasionally copying some of our favorite displays from the department store windows; Stockings overflowing with little items carefully selected throughout the year for each person, with nuts and an orange tucked in the toe; The year the snow was 3 feet deep and it took me two hours to drive to my brother's house for Christmas dinner; And on it goes.

Lastly, I'll unpack the stocking my mother made the year I was born, gently touch it's frayed edges, and for the first time, put it gently back in the box. This year I am making new ones to replace the ones my husband and I brought from childhood and one for my daughter to remind her some day of the joy and wonder of being a child at Christmas.

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