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Iris is a Greek name. It means rainbow and that is the key to this beautiful and bittersweet Christmas tale form the December 2009 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
I read the story during our first Christmas away from our extended family. Money was tight and we just didn't know how we could afford travel costs, the price of putting our cat in the kennel and of course presents for everyone. So we opted to stay home and have our own tree. That combination of sadness and hope around the decorating of a Christmas tree resonated with me.
In the case of "Iris" the tree belongs to a single woman, a widow, who many years ago lost her daughter in infancy. She suddenly gets the inspiration to collect bits and bobs of specific colors to make a very unique Christmas tree. When they all come together she has a rainbow Christmas tree full of magic and release.