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In Defense of Bare Walls on Christmas

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The day after Thanksgiving, you won't find me fighting strangers in a department store over a half-priced toaster. Instead, my family tradition dictates that today we continue the theme of family time, and begin decking our halls. In our house, holly boughs grace every shelf, kitschy needlepoint messages adorn every pillow and wall, and our faithful old artificial tree groans under the weight of a thousand or so ornaments, each with a special memory attached.

And yet, even though I find joy in rocking out to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra while arranging my porcelain winter village, there's a certain beauty to keeping the decoration minimal. The obvious downside to the elaborate display I put on, of course, is that it all has to be put away. Not only is it a huge chore to tuck it all back in the boxes and pack them in the shed, but it's genuinely disheartening. A holly jolly soul like me hates to see the season end so abruptly and finally, after all!

But the real cause of keeping walls bare isn't a heart two sizes too small, but an appreciation for what the season means in the most secular sense: togetherness. Family, friends, and loved ones probably don't care that my candy striped tablecloths are perfectly aligned, after all. Whatever tradition you keep, just know that you don't have to look the part of the merriest house on the block to hold the title.

But for me, it helps, and that's okay.

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