Overview:

As a lapsed Catholic who still loves Christmas, my family's old creepy angel ornaments are a reminder of happy Christmas's past.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Despite Catholicism lurking in the background, Christmas was a magical time when I was a kid. Jesus was watching but from a respectful distance. Even when my old aunties came to visit, he kept quiet. Well mostly. He apparently insisted we give him thanks for our meals and upper-middle-class lifestyle in sunny 1980s Southern California. Hoping I was greasing the wheels to ensure the Teddy Ruxpin doll I wanted would be under the tree come Christmas morning, I made my prayers extra thankful. Although I left out the part that I wanted the bear-shaped cassette player to see if I could get him to sing along with my big sister’s Ozzy Osbourne tape.

He must have known my intentions, however, because I got a Cabbage Patch Doll named Jakeabeana instead. Yet another prayer left unanswered for mysterious reasons.

I loved the lights, the bits of yet-to-be-identified but supposedly edible things suspended in jello. Even church seemed a little less boring when Christmas came around. One of my favorite things other than the presents was the Christmas tree—dragging in a Douglas fir fresh from the Ralph’s parking lot and covering it with strands of lights and defiling it with tinsel. All of it just seemed magical. Mom would get my oldest brother to retrieve the box full of ornaments from the attic and we would drink hot chocolate and put each one in the perfect spot. Before mom would tell us to move it to a more perfect spot.

Each little bauble came with a story of a Christmas past. The little Santa who had lost his hat years ago was bought the year my sister broke a small window with her butt playing horsey while running through the house. The strange little glittery bell from my mom’s grandmother. Until finally we would jam the tippy top of the tree up the sparkly angel’s butt hoping her halo didn’t scrape the ceiling. Truly a magical time.

Fast forward to Christmas present. Jesus, to my son’s relief, no longer lurks around the tree. I have carried on the tradition of tree ornaments, making sure to get a new one each year to hang on our tree. I annoy my teenage son by recounting the tale each one tells. Although to be honest, I’ve forgotten most of them so I kind of make them up. My first ornament, the ugly San Francisco Giants one his dad insists on placing front and center. And the old shoebox of ornaments I inherited from my mom.

My mom was Catholic until the day she passed, although she once admitted her agnosticism to me and only me. And most of the ornaments she collected and passed down consisted of angels. Thankfully the angel tree topper had been retired right around the time I grew out of my Garfield day-of-the-week underwear, her porcelain arms having fallen off along with her nose. A large obnoxious star sits on top of my family’s tree now, its religious affiliation dubious if not completely forgotten. But the other smaller angels still remain.

I have somewhere around a dozen of the little winged buggers in my ornament box. My secular son and husband absolutely despise them. Some are made of glass and metal, some even out of ancient cardboard with little tinsel halos. Their creepy little eyes follow us around the room and remind us that its been far too long since we’ve been to church. Which in my son’s case is never.

Even having grown up thinking that pretending to drink blood and eat flesh in order to save oneself from the wrath of a loving god was totally normal, they are a pleasant reminder of a time when Barbie seemed to rule the world. I see past the dilapidated eerie half smiles to fond memories. Religion wasn’t so much a blight on my childhood as it was a nuisance. But it’s totally foreign to my son who only learned of religion objectively. And so he makes fun of my angels. They are a reminder of my childhood for me, but symbolic of archaic and weird beliefs for him.

But the joke will eventually be on him. Because one day he will inherit them all. And then he will be in the position to love the creepy little things and remember to tell his own kids how much his mom, and grandmother loved them. I hope that I have been able to instill in him a sense of the holiday. One that emphasizes gratitude, family, and kindness. Even if it means having to endure the sparkly horror that is my old angels. But hey, it’s still better than a jello mold.

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I am a former adult entertainer, with a love of books, writing and humor. My job has given me a unique perspective on life. I spent twenty years as a stripper on and off and started writing as a way to...