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Christmas at the Old House


God, I remember the tree. Before my parents moved, when I was just a little kid, we used to have Christmas in the old house in Chicago. All of the brothers and sisters would come over, and on Christmas Eve we would sit around the tree in the front room. The tree looked so tall; it looked so powerful to me. It looked monstrous. Almost like an evergreen, it was green with a just a hint of blue to it -- and it seemed to glitter just standing there all by itself. We would put all sorts of lights on the tree and we had all of these old silk spun beaded ornaments that my sisters made when they were little decorating the tree. We put the tree right in front of a huge window in the front of the house. During Christmas we could always see the snow falling. And the presents were everywhere. We all bought gifts for each other -- and with five children, a brother in-law, a sister in-law, parents and grandparents, there always ended up being a ton of presents. I was the youngest, and the only one that was still really a child. I knew most of the gifts were for me.
As everyone would get up from dinner to open the presents, I would rush to the front room and slide until I fell on the beige carpeting. We never used the front room, so the carpeting always looked new. It even smelled new. I was always the first in the room and I could never understand what on earth took everyone else in my family so incredibly long to get to the Christmas tree.
Once my mother handed a present to me to open. I fiercely ripped open the packaging, and I found a hand held electronic math game. It said “Digits” across the front in strange orange and red colors, like a bad set of curtains from another decade. I didn’t know what to think. I had no idea what it was. I didn’t even know what the word "digits" meant. But it was electronic, and it was a present, so I was excited.
As all of this was registering in my head, someone asked me what I just opened. I told them I got a game. "Dig-its!!!" I exclaimed, making it sound like it was a game about shoveling the most dirt or something. Everyone started laughing. I had no idea what they were laughing about.



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