For some reasin, December always creeps up on me.  It is obvious in ever store, earlier each year and this year, Thanksgiving seemed to have been bkown off all together. 

This time of year, I am melancholy. Each night, as I lie awake, I think of my childhood in Slovakia and Austria. There, the cold air of the fall and often early snows, helped bring the Christmas mood.

Stores would decorate their windows in elegant Christmas displays and as we walked home from piano lessons, we detoured through the mains street to see them. It brought happiness to us. The first snow made us all giddy. We sat by the window in the evening, with our lights off, so we could watch the giant snowflakes illuminated by the street lights. The next morning everything would be white. A sparkly blanket of snow covered the playground between the apartment buildings. We would make out the slides and teeter-totter under their cover of snow. All the kids would be out, dressed like eskimos in our warmest winter clothes and teams would be chosen, bunkers would be built and a snow ball fight would ensue.

Once darkness came, we would get our skates and walk to the skating rink. There we skated and chased each other, playing tag. At home, mom would wait with hot tea and delicious cookies or our favorite citronen kuchen.

Later in Austria, our village was nestled

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