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How kitty sweaters, virtual fires, and friends saved the day I had to work on Christmas day

Last Christmas was a lonely one for me. I was separated from my family and I had to work. My heart was broken. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. After my Christmas fate was sealed, I told my group of besties about how sad I was about missing my favorite part of Christmas for work. We then decided to have our own Christmas celebration after my shift was over. The name for our shindig was not original, but it meant the world to me: Friend Christmas.

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The no-kill Christmas tree

My mom does not like cutting down trees, so she refuses to do traditional Christmas trees. She also hates plasticky stuff, so no fake trees. She's since developed a perfect no-kill Christmas tree. It's conical! It's solid! It smells delicious! Here's how she does it.

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My "starting over" Christmas tree

Since my life completely changed over the summer when my marriage ended, I was left in a flurry of sadness and heartbreak. The saddest thing is that my anniversary is five days before Christmas. I was sure I was going to be depressed around the holidays again. So, I bought this small branch from a craft store, as well as a single ornament that I wrote the year on, a vase and filler pearls. I call it my "starting over tree."