What does Melinda do to make her house feel like Christmas in Speak?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poor Melinda, she's doing what she can to cheer herself up, isn't she?  The part about Melinda decorating for Christmas is in the part titled "Winter Break."  First Melinda puts up the family's artificial tree:

Mom left a note saying I can put up the tree if I want.  I drag the tree out of the basement and stand it in the driveway so I can sweep the dust and cobwebs off it with a broom.  We leave the lights on it from year to year.  All I have to do is hang the ornaments. (70)

Note the diction that adds to Melinda's mood:  "drag," "basement," "dust," and "cobwebs."  Even Christmas does little to help Melinda out of her depression.  Melinda, however, attempts something further to brighten the room in the form of a holly centerpiece:

I break off branches from the holly bushes and a few sprigs of pine and carry them inside.  I tie them together with red yarn and set them on the fireplace mantel and the dining-room table.  It doesn't look as nice as when the lady on TV did it, but it makes the place smell better. (71)

Eventually she even watches Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer with her parents.  Unfortunately, they continue to sit in silence, . . . even with the background of Rudolph saying his famous, "I'm independent."