Christmas in my house is truly the only holiday steeped in tradition, and I love it. Take, for instance, the journey of the Three Kings to Emerson Drive.

Yes, a mixture of international secular and religious customs resulted in an annual Christmas visit from the Magi. The Three Kings gave Jesus frankincense and myrrh, but they gave us underwear and socks. We put our shoes on the window sill (a twist on the Dutch thing), and come morning they were filled with undergarments from the Orient. Apparently, gift-bearing moved from cryptic to totally practical across the ages.

As a child, I had to resolve the question of transporation, or more specifically, home entry. Since the Three Kings were arriving on Christmas Eve--not on December 6th, as the shoes might lead you to believe and not on January 6th, as the crowns might lead you to believe--this left them with limited options. I mean, Santa had the well-documented sled/reindeer and chimney approach; the roof was off limits. (The absence of a fireplace meant that he actually entered the house through my closet, but let's not get lost in the details.) And they couldn't very well walk through the front door: that would be completely unmysterious, the antithesis of the Three Wisemen, the birth of Jesus, underwear. Besides, if they walked through the front door they'd have to walk through our rooms to get to the window. How, then, did the Three Kings get in? Clearly, they traveled by camel and then used a rope to climb up the side of the house together à la Adam West-era Batman and Robin. This gave them access to the windows without waking us and without stepping on the toes or hooves of other magical guests.

The big question, of course, was why no one else we knew had received presents from the kings.

Today I was watching The Lord of the Rings, wondering what the story meant to an eighth grade Bob and what it means to him now. The movie and family and how do the stories of our youth shape us? What will be believed in. Good and evil. And not going back, Frodo adding a very Mike Y touch at the end.

Gentlemen, I could use an epiphany.