The Christmas lamp: Celebrating magic instead of stuff
One Christmas season in the 1970s, a little girl named Trisha had a very unusual Christmas tree: a lamp wrapped in festive paper and twine that the family ornaments hung all over. She loved the special tree and saw it with the eyes of a child, one lamp transformed into a tree of "Nutcracker" living room proportions for her and her siblings. It was only as an adult looking back that she realized that the quirky Christmas tree she remembered so well had come about because her family was too poor to buy a tree that year.
I’ve run across several stories like this recently, of adults sifting through their memories and realizing only in hindsight that their parents struggled when they were kids. Now that they are adults managing their own affairs, they see all those pasta dinners and long hours and thrift shop trips in a new light.