I searched the picture on the left quite a while for a clue as to who all these presents could be for. My parents’ first child was still months away..“Mom!”
.I had to ask her..“Were these presents from you and Dad to each other?”
.She looked at the picture, laughed, and said, “Yeah, I think so. Dad and I have always gone overboard for Christmas.”.I still couldn’t believe it, but then I took a good look at the other pictures...
*Dad trying on a bullet belt, holding a polaroid camera box in his left hand and a suitcase under his arm. He looks like he’s wading in a shin-high river of tissue, packaging, and wrapping paper...*In another photo Mom is holding a dress (or robe?) to herself. At her feet, empty boxes are scattered around the floor, along with what looks like a rolled up sleeping bag. On the sofa the suitcase in the first photo has a mate. Above the pair is some clothing, and on a chair in the foreground is another stack of opened gifts — probably a set of stemware and more clothes. There are yet more items in the other pictures...The undeniable proof, though, is in the final picture of the day which you see in the right-hand photo on the first page. Mom relaxes on a chair, overlooking the aftermath of Christmas morning, eating an apple in the same relaxed and pensive way I’ve seen her eat apples my whole life..The trash is all over the floor. There is nowhere to walk. It looks like they tore into their gifts without the slightest thought for cleanup. It’s a disaster..This was how Christmases were for us when I was a kid but I never would have thought the mayhem to have also happened when it was only the two of them.
.Even when we had a low income, my parents threw us huge Christmases! The stacks of wrapped gifts under the tree were tall and beautiful, though most gifts were not expensive and some of them were just practical — the stuff they would have bought us over the next few months out of necessity..My parents wanted the promising beauty of a tree with mounds of presents. They wanted to draw out the main event of the holiday — exchanging and unwrapping gifts.