Sleepless nights and early mornings. Hideous orange and red shag carpeting. A haze of cigarette smoke from my father. Santa's inability to assemble both of my bicycles correctly (in a span of six years apart, his mechanical skills never improved). Plaid furniture – plaid pants. My baby sister when she truly was my “baby” sister. Odd visits from unnamed and unseen relatives (except in December).
Side note - best non-Santa gift ever? The Mego Mobile Bat-Lab from my Uncle Carl. Half-watching the Christmas Day Parade on television while playing in the living room floor. Fifty dollars worth of yearly Santa swag made flesh by way of the Sears Wish Book and our sole retail credit card.
Posed photographs in which my parents become smaller in stature and height, while my sister and I both sadly, inexorably, outgrow the magic of Christmas.