Most of my fondest Christmas memories are a product of revisionist history. Truth is, the more orchestrated and planned the holiday, the farther it lands from the mark. We dream of a picture perfect, Currier & Ives Christmas, but most likely experience an episode of Family Feud. People only live up to the script in Fairytales. Nonetheless, some of the best surprises happen in the off-script, improvised moments.
My Mother was big into “Theme Christmases.” One year she decorated the tree and garlands with silk red roses and gold beads. I must have been in 4th or 5th grade and my older brother, J.J. was in Junior High. He was deeply in love with our neighbor girl, JoAna Massey. Jay saved his allowance for weeks in order to purchase a mega-sized bottle of Taboo Perfume for his love’s Christmas gift. Since the bottle was so large, J.J. thought there was more than enough perfume to share. In an effort to help my mother with the “Rose Theme Christmas,” J.J. proceeded to soak each silk rose in a bowl of Taboo to make them smell realistic. Our house reeked of a French Whorehouse for months. To this day, I can detect a person wearing Taboo within a three-block range. I would love to have my Christmas recollections scented with gingerbread and pine needles, but alas, in my nasal memory, TABOO is the Rule of the Yule…..Tide.