The tacky, plastic decoration must have sat out at least one year. It is faded, no doubt, from the sun that shone through the bay window in the terrace kitchen. I can almost picture it there. After all, it was meant to sit where light would shine through it, the now dull colors ever translucent.
I remember buying it for them. Choosing a gift for my grandparents from dozens of others laid out on tables set up on the school stage. The heavy, burgundy curtains closed to protect the integrity of our workshop. I bought my other grandmother a hat pin that year. Not a pin for a hat, but a pin in the shape of one. It was blue.
This gift is blue, too, a cool backdrop for faux-glass Santa. I wonder if that influenced my choice. Based on my cursive on the enclosed tag (they saved the tag - oh my heart) I was probably 8 or 9, maybe 10. I doubt color alone could have swayed my purse. Perhaps I pictured their window as I do now and knew they would have just the place. Maybe not.
Mom says it should be mine. I gave it to them and now they are gone, from the house at least. Pop lives in a tiny apartment now and has not gotten this stuff out in years, anyway. I don't want it, but I don't want to get rid of it either. It wouldn't feel right. I should just recycle it and let it give back after doing nothing for years in a box. It's too junky to donate, I think.
It's message is nice if not a bit redundant. The panel next to St. Nick reads, "May the joy and happiness of the season be with you." Joy. And happiness. Wishing you profound and superficial emotions this holiday. That feels right.
Maybe I do keep it. Or maybe I just keep the note with my script. I can't decide. The last thing I need is another thing.
But here is the real gift: returning it to its original box to put the decision aside, I get a whiff of the terrace kitchen.
I am keeping it. The whole ridiculous thing. It smells exactly like them. And that makes me happy.
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