Like most of our friends and neighbours we–my brothers and I–grew up with the customs of Christmas as practiced throughout most of North America and beyond. Each year Santa filled our stockings and left toys and other gifts beneath the heavily ornamented tree. We exchanged presents, visited with close and more distant relatives, overindulged at Christmas dinner and throughout the season on baked goodies and treats, enjoyed a holiday from school, university, or work to relax and spend leisure time with friends and family. Our Christmases were like most North Americans'–at least on the surface. For under the Currier and Ives-like veneer was a dysfunctional family striving to uphold and reflect middle class values and traditions.
For us, the end of each Christmas season was welcome whether we admitted it or not. We thankfully turned the last page of each Christmas tale, hoping, almost believing, that maybe next year would be the perfect Christmas.
--- from the publisher