Grinch or Santa like... take the quiz to know 

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It started a few weeks ago. It all made so much sense at the time, the logic of it camouflaged the first step onto that proverbial slippery slope. The weather was benign; the weather was forecast to change, transform instantly into the deep freeze only recently departed. What better time indeed?

And what's the harm? Put up a few strings of coloured lights, albeit nearly a week before the end of November. Not like we actually had to plug them in right away, light up the increasingly long night sky. Better test 'em though, don't you think? Nice.

OK, if late November's pushing the season a bit, at least lights were all there was to it. What's this I smell? Shortbread? Christmas shortbread? The sweet smell of butter melting into sugar and flour with just a hint of piercing Mexican vanilla. Well, perhaps some things can be rushed a bit. Just a little bit though.

Any day now, maybe later today in fact, I'm going channel my inner contortionist and corkscrew myself into the long, narrow, dark closet and embark on a seasonal hunt.

Somewhere past the hanging clothes, beyond the extra dining room chairs, past the bookshelf of many forgotten treasures, the styrofoam cooler and burlap bag of garden potatoes, the rapidly reducing cache of garlic, behind the various soft-sided suitcases, rollies, briefcases, valises and clutches, on the other side of the large box labelled "Personal," though whose person its contents belong to may have changed over the years, and just past the treasures of persons past and the bag of golf clubs there isn't any other place for, somewhere amid the flotsam of life lived in too small a space, there lies what I seek.

Eleven months of the year they sit unnoticed except on the rare occasion when one or the other is in the way of some other, momentarily searched for thing. Being of so little use in everyday life, they tend to gradually find repose in the far reaches of the most inaccessible corner, necessitating much flailing and cursing and usually a query or two about whether the effort to dig them out isn't really more bother than it's worth. Rhetorical, of course. There's not much choice in the matter.

Christmas decorations. Treasures accumulated across several lives serving no functional purpose except, perhaps to let us reach across time and into memory both ephemeral and tangible. Tchotchkas designed to dispel any latent bah humbuggery of the season.

And so, I'll do my bit. Find a tree to lumberjack down and decorate after a fashion. Inflict those around me suffering from seasonal reflective disorder with nonstop carols. Eat, drink and be too merry, maybe even don some gay apparel. After all, 'tis the season.

Maybe your way ahead of me. Or maybe you're stuck in your own humbugville. Maybe you're just not sure or prefer to hedge your bets. Maybe you'd best take this little Christmas Kitsch Quiz and find out.


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