The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Age Brings New Twist to Old, Quirky Christmas Tradition

It all began with an ornament created for a tree back in the 1940s or 1950s. A Santa meant as a tabletop decoration lost its base, gained a hole in its head, a piece of coat hanger run through it and a curved hook at either end of that coat hanger. The bottom end kept the ornament on the improvised hook and the top end hung Santa on the tree.

How that smaller bottom curved bit of coat hanger was to be used became a bone of contention between my younger brother and I as children. You see, with six years separating us, argument was our sport of choice. Physical conflict was out of the question given our differences in age, height, and weight ... so we sparred verbally. One time our mother said in exasperation "Why can't you too act more like brothers!?" My brother and I were genuinely confused by this rhetorical question. We couldn't see how we could act any more like brothers without inflicting physical harm on each other. Argument became our sport of choice. We turned that sport on this ornament. I stated (quite correctly I have to say) that the little hook underneath was crafted to hook behind Santa's heels, creating a short length of hook to attach to the tree and a more secure attachment for Santa himself. My brother felt otherwise (quite incorrectly if you ask me) that the hook should be freed from Santa's heels, creating a long hook that allowed Santa to hang in gaps between branches. It was a small thing, but worthy of a few minutes argument each year.

In adulthood, we recognized and embraced the ridiculousness of this argument and for some years crafted a variety of "historical documents from the manufacturer," folk tale warnings, and other puffery to entertain the family when the ornament went up. It became an elaborate event for a few years, leading to this story for one: which was published last year.

However, while my wife's and my children are in their twenties and late teens this year, my brother and his wife's lovely daughters are in single digit ages ... and there is precious little time to create elaborate arguments about the ornament. That entertaining argument fell by the wayside ... until this year, when the argument took a "graying" turn, you might say.

My brother noted that Santa had yet to be placed ceremoniously on the tree (with hook in the wrong position as it somehow always manages to be on the tree). I told him he was wrong and Santa was in place. "No it isn't, I haven't seen it." He argued. Joining the pleasure of the debate, I responded, "Yes, it is, I saw it there. In fact, YOU put it up." "Never." "Indeed, I saw it on your finger at one point."

Well, rather than continue on like this ... we're older and wiser and busier now, we checked the tree and sure enough Santa was in place. "Great!" my brother laughed. "A new Christmas tradition ... not having enough memory to know the ornament is in place!" Yes, aging has its joys right up there with arguing.

Wishing you love, laughter, and joy in the New Year ... even if you do forget a thing or two along the way. 

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