As I compare and contrast me now and me way back then, I barely recognize my former self during the holidays, especially in my 20s, 30s and 40s. Back then, I started playing holiday music and decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I went into major debt to shop for gifts. I baked and decorated cookies like a crazed woman. I made homemade English toffee and fudge and my father-in-law's penuche and full-cream caramels. I wrapped beautiful gifts, back before gift bags were born. When my kids were young, I let them invite friends over for cookie-decorating parties. I made homemade stockings and filled them with great care.
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