Never let your kids become attached to gaudy Christmas tree angels
By Mark Rutledge
Saturday, December 8, 2018
We have a skinny Christmas tree this year with fewer decorations and no topper at all. I like it, but the girls are not thrilled. They are especially frowny that their gaudy treetop angel is missing.
It’s probably somewhere in storage, where most of our belongings are waiting for the new house to be completed. We thought we’d be spending our first Christmas there, but that was before we knew that 2018 would be a monsoon year for East Tennessee.
My wife, Sharon, decided to scale back on the tree this year, in size and the number of ornaments. It’s to lessen the holiday stress associated with transferring decorations from storage to our cramped rental quarters.
“But where’s the angel?” the girls whined.
“I didn’t see her,” Sharon said, “and I was not about to go looking through every box.”
I’m guessing the angel will eventually fly back to us, but it would suit me if she somehow landed on the Island of Misfit Tree Ornaments. I’ve always thought she was tacky, with her red velvet dress fringed in white fur.
Who ever heard of a Christmas angel that looks like the Fairy Godmother dressed up as Mrs. Claus?
I don’t recall exactly when that angel appeared in our lives, but I figured her for a one-Christmas wonder. Not so. When the kids start decorating the tree, you’re stuck with the stuff they come up with.
My Grandmother Walters had an artificial tree with all store-bought decorations. I don’t know how she got away with that. Her daughter, my mother, still covers her tree with decorations made by her children.
Except for a few balls and tinsel, our only bought decorations were the lights. They were the kind that would get hot—I’m talking Easy-Bake Oven hot—and likely start a fire if left on overnight.
One Christmas in the early ’70s, I untangled the plugged-in lights and draped them over the sofa while we identified the bulbs that needed replacing. Unfortunately, Dad had recently reupholstered the sofa in Naugahyde.
For the rest of our years with that couch, it looked like a third-place finisher in a Roman-candle fight.
One of the contributions from my childhood is a Christmas stocking made from red construction paper. The toe portion was torn off about 45 years ago, but Mom still hangs the remainder on her tree. It has “NOEL” spelled out in glitter.
The Christmas angel that I made in Cub Scouts is my greatest decoration creation by far and has looked down from Mom’s tree for nearly 50 years.
I remember being disappointed that our Cub Scout troop didn’t go on camping trips. Instead, we met weekly at the home of our den mother, Mrs. Darr, to make crafts. She had spent several years in Thailand and was quite the origami artist.
Today, my origami Christmas angel is a family heirloom—Styrofoam head and all. Good thing it never came into contact with those hot lights.
After Mom had finished decorating her tree the other day, I gazed upon the origami angel and realized how terrible I would feel if she were to become lost like the gaudy Fairy Godmother angel.
Suddenly, the angel spake unto me. “Fear not,” she said, “for behold, my head is made of Styrofoam. And Styrofoam never goes away.”
Contact Mark Rutledge at email@example.com or like him on Facebook at Mark Rutledge Columns.