Christmas when I was growing up meant a trip to the attic.
A tug of a cord pulled down retractable stairs that led to a place I visited once a year.
It was cold and drafty and dark, full of mystery.
I went up and down the creaky steps, boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments and years of memories in tow.
In our home, the tree was always real, fed by the water we changed daily in a red and green stand. The smell of pine was intoxicating.
Tree lights in those days never blinked. They were heavy and large and attached to limbs by metal pinchers. Tinsel, silver and shiny, draped the branches like icicles, reflecting the colors.
I remember waking groggy parents at 3 in the morning, eager to see what Santa had brought me.
I remember a Lost in Space robot, a bright red bicycle, Polaroid pictures of a neighbor girl named Leanna who stole my young heart.
I remember that Christmas was a special time, bathed in family and togetherness and love.