"Amber's been decorating," the bartender told our friend the fat mexican over the phone. "It looks like the North Pole in here."
It's my mother's fault, really, that I'm like this. She loved Christmas and she loved decorating, so decorating for Christmas was a big deal at my house when I was growing up. My mother worked from home, so she would decorate in small batches during the day. When Cap and I would get home from school she would tell us how many decorations she had put up and then the two of us would tear off through the house trying to find the things that were new. We had our own assignments as well. We had a huge ceramic Christmas tree that was always on top of the tv (back when televisions were more of a piece of furniture than an appliance) that had little red lights all over it. Cap and I were responsible for sticking all the little plastic lights in and every year we fought over who would get to put the star on top. My mother also collected Santas, several of which I have inherited. She loved her Santa collection so much that they stayed out in a cabinet in the corner all year round. No lie.
At night I would sneak out of my bed and either hide in the living room staring at the tree for hours, or sit on the stairs and watch the snow fall in the little round light up winter scene in the hallway. In retrospect, it may be that Christmas seemed magical to me simply because it was filled with tiny flashing lights. and small shiny objects.
This is why the living room has so many decorations and lights that we don't even need to turn on any lamps (and the tree is not even up yet) and why I have a 4 1/2 foot stocking hanging on my bedroom door.
It's why I have a Santa hat on at work right now.