"Several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop-clerks die of exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the western world is made ill from overeating -- all in the name of the lowly Jesus." -- Upton Sinclair (circa 1925).
Christmas was Sully’s favorite time of year, even though his father had died so close to it. Since he’d been on his own he hadn’t had a place to go, besides the Hi-Note, and before that Joe’s and The Lizard and Irene’s, but the spirits of Christmases past had comforted rather than tormented him. He remembered vividly the Yule trees of his boyhood, the smell of them and the plumpness of their branches, which he’d imagined might be harboring nests of turtledoves, tapering to a spindly tip surmounted by a papier-mache angel whose wings brushed the ceiling, and which at night was enhaloed by the circle of light cast there by the tree’s lights. He could still see, with an almost palpable clarity, his first gifts: A radio, a cowboy outfit, a trike--he’d had his dad shovel a path along the driveway through the snow, so that he could ride it, before he’d even opened his other presents. -- Chapter 45, The Misforgotten.