Christmas Laundry

Deck the halls with sheets and folly

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When author Richard Conniff and his family moved into a temporary rental on the beach not long ago, they found standing in the backyard a fixture out of Ozzie-and-Harriet days — a revolving clothesline. The clothesline added a new dimension to their lives. Conniff and his wife began to relish the pleasure of hanging laundry out to dry, particularly their best bedsheets.

As the months grew colder, hanging the laundry was still a joy, but taking it in seemed more of a chore, and it didn't always get done.

Then one day, as the family began to make preparations for Christmas, they realized that all their ornaments, their familiar old yuletide trappings, were in storage. How Dad and the kids cleverly contrived new ornaments, and how Mom's favorite bedsheet accidentally became a treasured decoration, make for a merry and memorable holiday story.

About Richard Conniff
Richard Conniff

Richard Conniff, a Smithsonian contributor since 1982, is the author of seven books about human and animal behavior.

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