Our parents were in a mixed marriage: our father an atheist and our mother agnostic. Fortunately, both believed in stories and neither could forgo German Christmas cookie traditions. These joint enthusiasms meant that Christmas got the go-ahead. We’d be shooed out of the house while Mama put the finishing touches on the tree (real), lighting candles (real), and hanging strands of German angelhair (limp and silvery). Our presents were being delivered by German Engeln, entities of secular fantasy unrelated to Canadians’ Jesus. Meanwhile, we’d hunker in the Volkwagen with Papa, turning on the emergency blinkers to scare away the Grinch.