Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Improper Poll: Hangin’ with My Uglies

I’ve been rooting around my basement looking for ugly Christmas ornaments. This is the best I could do, but it’s not my favorite. My daughter decorated this year and I couldn’t find the one I wanted. For her sake it had just better be hidden in the back, because if she threw it out, she is in some big trouble. How I cherish those Charlie Brown ornaments, those ghosts of Christmas Past that were fashioned so carefully from hands that were just learning to cut and color and glue!

I remember being her age; I too thought the point of a Christmas tree was to be pretty. My mother used to insist on hanging a Santa Clause that she’d had since she was a child. It was scary and emaciated and looked more like an old guy you’d see hocking loogies in a downtown alley with a bag made of brown paper. This guy’s lap would be one of the last places you’d want your children.

Now that my mother is gone, I get it. And I sort of wish I had it if only for those memories—not to mention the joke about the really ugly Santa.

Do you have an ugly-beloved ornament?


  1. We have one that's made from a popsicle stick, and Santa's beard gets thinner and thinner each year. It's pretty pathetic, but cherished.

  2. We have Styrofoam balls entwined in pipe-cleaners, encrusted with glitter, from the year our grandma let us grandkids make our own ornaments at her dining room table. She even cleared off the million-piece jigsaw puzzle of sea and sky that she brought home from her job at the state mental hospital. Those ornaments are kind of de-crusted with glitter now, but they always bring back the memory of making them.

  3. Several years ago I told Rod that if he wanted the tree up, he'd better get used to doing it himself, because I was through. I frankly don't know what ornaments he put up this year because I haven't looked. I have hundreds in boxes in the attic, but Rod believes less is more.

  4. Oh yeah, a tuna fish can with a picture of one of the now grown kids. It hangs on a low branch. My favorites are the hand drawn ones from the grandkids.

  5. We have a wooden bear ornament covered with bite marks. It matches the hole perfectly centered in the belly of poor baby Jesus as he lays in his manger...all compliments of my first Schnauzer, Schatzi. She was a terror, and the maimed victims are always a topic of conversation amongst the family at Christmas!

    Critter Alley

  6. I don't personally have any, my mother has kept them but my dogs are itching to start gluing. :)

    BTW, as punishment one year I think I was made to sit in that Santa's lap. That same year I prayed Santa would not get a DUI. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. I still have an ornament that a co-worker made me at my first job. And all the one's my children made - one is made of cloves. I'm surprised it's not moldy. I may steal your idea and post my hand made ornaments.

  8. Oh, my, yes! My tree is full of the beautiful "uglies." They are especially prominent this year as I've banned the hanging of anything breakable due to the presence of Luna, my daughter's 1-year-old cat, who breaks things just by walking into a room. At some point this season she WILL try to climb the tree. I just know it. So...my hand-blown glass ornaments from Germany? Still in the box. The construction-paper-and-glitter-glue ornaments my daughter made in kindergarten? Front and center, baby. :)

  9. I finally threw out the hideous decorations my children made when they were little. I didn't like parting with them but they were falling apart.


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