I do not think I have very many pet peeves. I cannot STAND price tags on ANYTHING — including cleaning supplies under the sink, and, as I have previously and recently mentioned, people who start holiday seasons too early. Despite its origins, I love Thanksgiving. With each year that passes it seems to diminish under the weight of skeletons and Christmas trees. It was a chilly night this Thanksgiving and I love a nice fire; particularly a piñon one because of its heavenly scent. It transports me straight to Santa Fe. I had a fire blazing and had given in earlier and bought marshmallows for my little one, particularly since they’re gluten free. So, when she asked if she could have some, I thought why not roast them in the fire? I got a long stick and wet it before placing the giant, spongy confection of sugar on the end of it and holding it above the flames. My little one was in awe. I never got to be a Girl Scout and I only went camping a few times in the summer with my church youth group. So essentially I had no prior marshmallow roasting memories, having grown up without a fireplace. The result was an unexpected culinary delight, and I was immediately asked to make more. The next thing I knew my little one wanted me to sing Christmas carols. We were all still digesting my gluten free pecan pie and already I was pressed into singing my favorite hymns. “Once In David’s Royal City” melded into “What Child Is This” (my two favorites) and then I found myself being requested to sing every Christmas song I ever knew. No “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” though. I do enjoy some secular songs but for Christians it is a sacred time leading up to and commemorating the birth of Christ. On the secular side, however, my little one began wondering when her scout elf from Santa (Noel Magique) and her reindeer Chestnut Jingles would arrive. (Yes, I named them and yes, I snicker a little every time I use Chestnut’s full name.) I had already decided they were not going to be returning to our home until December 1st. (I cannot possibly maintain that Martha Stewart level of creativity past 24 days.) However, I had just broken down and bought us a new tree this year after a decade of our rotten cats housing themselves in our old one. By the end of last season it stood drunkenly and swayed violently — plus the bottom half of the pre-lit lights decided to just give up about three years ago. I looked for a new one online early; just checking to see if there were any good deals. Turns out there were and we got a lovely tree that looks like our old one (silver and pre-lit with white lights) for half price plus no tax and free shipping! Woo hoo! So there I was, looking down into the fathomless, deep brown eyes of my only child, so much like my beloved’s, and I thought about the magic of Christmas. It is one of the few times as an adult I still feel the giddiness and wonder of childhood. The American actor Edward Norton said, “The more you can create that magic bubble, that suspension of disbelief, for a while, the better.” In that moment I decided we could all use a little more magic and so we put up the new tree early — amid glass-breaking screams of excitement from our little one. The Holy Family is not going outside though until the start of advent; I’m not becoming a marshmallow.