Miriam laughed, shaking her head. “Did I feel left out as a kid because my family didn’t celebrate Christmas? Are you kidding — I was relieved to not be caught up in all the nonsense the other kids were so enamored with! No present they could possibly get could live up to the anticipation they built up. No, if anything, I always felt annoyed around Christmas. Sure, there’s some good stuff — love the music, even volunteered to sing at some Christmas pageants — yeah, that was me, Miriam the Caroling Jew. Jill, from across the street, her family actually knew how to decorate — always looked forward to visiting Jill in December, they’d have a great tree. But every other house on the street, oh those godawful inflatable Santas and snowmen — and those damned light-up mechanical deer — and yeah, some of the music is great, but a lot of it is terrible, especially the new stuff, overwrought Christmas CDs put out by whoever was this year’s Top 40 singers.”


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