There's something about Christmas lights that acts as a cup of hot chocolate to my heart. Their dancing brightness in the night is laughter released to be seen rather than heard.
The rides home from relatives' homes were, to my young imagination, strolls through art galleries. Here and there were houses that seemed to be of gingerbread: lights bordering windows, doors, and the edges and corners of the roofs like carefully placed gumdrops. Occasionally the choice and placement of lights created the illusion of glowing icicles. My favorite displays were when I could see the tree lit up inside. These were the houses that seemed the most real, as if the absence of a tree whispered that it was a dream and not a thing of substance.
As is our tradition, my sister and I set up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. Life moved on and we returned to work for a few weeks more. Every morning I woke up and dressed before the sun lifted her sleepy head and dared to open her shining eyes. I curled up in the armchair with a warm cup of tea in my hands and absorbed the sight of the tree illuminating the darkened room. It made a bubble around me, a little world all my own. It was small, but still an early morning sanctuary.
I know it's a few days late, but Merry Christmas.