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The Sad Saga of Suicide Santa

by Barb, somewhere on the road between Boston and Key West

Suicide Santa

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,

Suicide Santa in situ


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.”

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.”

Suicide Santa on the sidewalk


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.”

Suicide Santa does it again

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?

Stay tuned.

Readers, do you have a silly, idiosyncratic holiday tradition? We’d love to hear about it!

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