by Barb, somewhere on the road between Boston and Key West
Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love all the traditions and rituals, both high and low, big and small. One of the great things about spending time with loved ones over the holidays is the common experiences that build up, which provide fodder for wild stories and quiet conversations for years and years to come. One of the small traditions at our house is the still evolving Saga of Suicide Santa.
Suicide Santa is a small pewter ornament who always goes near the top of the tree. Because he is tiny and unshiny, he was often overlooked when it came to taking ornaments off the tree. For several years, every time we dragged the tree down the front steps, we’d hear,
And there he’d be on the step.
“Oh, we forgot Santa again,” we would say, blaming ourselves.
After that we were more conscious. “Did you find Santa?” my husband, Bill, would ask, as we took down the tree.
“I can’t find him anywhere,” I’d complain. “He must have burrowed his way to the center of the tree.”
Santa started getting farther and farther from the house and closer and closer to the curb where the Public Works truck would pick up the tree. But we always found him–on the walk, on the curb, and once, memorably, in the driveway, in April, after the snow had melted.
“He’s doing it on purpose,” Bill said. “I think he’s trying to do away with himself.”
After that, Bill became even more vigilant, but for me, bitterness set in.
“Did you take Suicide Santa off the tree?” Bill would ask.
“I’m sure I did.”
“Is he in the ornament box?”
“I’m certain he is, but I’m not pawing through all those layers looking for that damn thing.”
Of course, there are more benign explanations. Perhaps he doesn’t like us and is trying to find a home where he’ll be more appreciated. After all, I’ve just said he is small and dull and a pain in my @#$, which are probably the worst things you can say about a Christmas decoration. Maybe I should have titled this post “The Exciting Escapades of the Escaping Ornament.”
But Santa is stuck with us, and we are stuck with him. I took the final photo here as we got into the car to head south. I scooped Santa off the sidewalk and put him in my bag. Can Santa survive and 3500 mile round-trip journey and find his way back to the Christmas ornament box?
Readers, do you have a silly, idiosyncratic holiday tradition? We’d love to hear about it!
So funny, Barb! At our house, we set out the creche scene I grew up with, plaster figures my mother had carefully painted, with somber and adoring shepherds, wise men, Mary, and Joseph all gazing at the baby Jesus in a rough-hewn open stable. But peeking out from a roosting bar is white plastic chicken. A tiny Sesame Street Bert figure looks google-eyed from behind the donkey. Orange Pokey stands next to the camel. And Garfield grins from the roof next to several little red yarn elves. It’s an all-inclusive scene!
I think some Fraggles would definitely up my granddaughter’s interest in the nativity.
An ornament that you don’t particularly like that causes you trouble — sounds like a mystery to me! I hope he’s a good traveler!
Each year my sister and I send each other new ornaments (and socks and silly tissues, but that’s another story). I hate the ornaments she sends me, but I’ve never had the nerve to tell her. They now live in their own box in the attic, labeled DO NOT USE.
I had dinner with my brother’s family last night and they were talking about some new book about decluttering your life. Anyway one of the points was that when someone gives you something you don’t like or want or need, you can get rid of it without getting rid of the love and thoughtfulness they gift was imbued with.
Maybe there’s a local shelter that would like an entire tree’s worth of decorations next year! Luckily my sister never visits at Christmas time.
I may need the book anyway.
If your sister reads this blog you may have solved the problem!
That’s what I was thinking!
Unlikely–she can handle her phone, but has never gotten into computers, much less social media.
Too funny! I can just picture that Santa crawling deeper and deeper into the Christmas tree. You should paint his Santa hat red so you can find him.
Well there’s a practical solution I never thought of!
How funny. Thanks for my Monday morning laugh.
Can’t think of anything that will come close to matching that one from my family.
Mark – I have a specific Hallmark ornament question for you. Will reach out via Facebook.
I just remembered ornaments we made as children, cut-out Christmas scenes inside empty half-eggshells, covered with plastic wrap and glitter, with pipe cleaner hangers — cuter than my description. So fragile . . . Mom kept them safe for many years of Christmas trees, but they’ve probably disappeared by now.
Wow. Those sound lovely. A lot nice than the clothes pin santas and rudolphs my kids made, though I still put those on the tree, along with the pipe cleaner chains and a clothe ornament that spells D-A-D my daughter sewed. It’s not Christmas without them.
It’s the love that gives them meaning. <3
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