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  • Every year we get out the box from the storage space that contains our Christmas tree. It was purchased in 1965 at my husband's grandfather's hardware store in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. It's the kind of tree Charlie Brown complained about. It's silver.

    It consists of a wood pole and dozens of metal rods wrapped with tinsel. We insert each rod into the wood pole one by one until a tree appears. It is a little spare, but it is quite lovely and when there is snow and sunshine outside, it is almost blinding.

    Then we hang a couple dozen basic Christmas balls on it and that is the end.

    I enjoy the ritual of setting it up, although my husband thinks it's a chore and always says, "You don't have to help if you don't want to." Of course I want to! We pick a time when the Minnesota Vikings are playing for that lovely sound of football in the background.

    Last year IU made a video of the process with my favorite Christmas song by Ramsey Lewis.

    After Epiphany we'll take it down, putting each branch back in its original paper sleeve. But we'll leave up the lights we have strung throughout the house until the days get longer...
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