The oddest are from my early years in Tokyo when I had little money. We made do with paper pinwheels and amulets from shrines, with plastic animals that the drugstores gave away to advertise products, and with other worthless trinkets we've kept and hang each year with the same reverence accorded ornaments passed down from my grandmother's generation and before--well, almost the same reverence. The room was dark, lit only by the lights on the tree, the glow softly reflected in the polished maple floor. My son came into the room a little after me--we were both on our way up to bed--and I said to him (with satisfaction in my voice) "A pretty good tree this year, huh? It's very nicely shaped." He stood beside me, examining the tree. Then I said "Except for that one branch on the left there that's sticking out a bit too far...." I pointed. He thought for a moment and said "Yeah, it looks like my hair in the morning." He was right.
It was sunny and clear today in Northern California (if cold), but news reports are full of storms--snow and ice--throughout the country, with many people stranded in airports from the nation's capital to Covington, to Dallas, to the West Coast. I wonder who made it home this year and who didn't?