This angel ornament topped the Christmas trees of my childhood. Mom and Dad purchased her their first Christmas together back in the 1950’s. Mom kept the angel wrapped in soft cotton in the off season, and she alone unboxed the decoration at tree-trimming time. Dad’s job was to place the angel on the tree and get her to fly straight. He had the same task with three rambunctious boys.
When I merged with Shawn in 1981 to start our home, our first tree that Christmas season was a 4 inch cactus with a paper star wrapped around the top. Those were the days when all the parents expected us for the holidays though one lived in West Virginia and the other two in Georgia. Our holidays were marathon road trips with quick stops to wash laundry and repack for the next leg of the journey.
One year Mom had rediscovered the angel in a box in her attic and on our annual Christmas visit offered her to us. Mom had stopped putting up a Christmas tree at that point with the explanation, “It’s too much trouble to drag that stuff out of the attic!” She always set up her nativity scene, though. The angel brought back memories of her years with Dad, I think, and was deemed too precious to toss.
Shawn and I loved the symbolism, and we used the angel decoration in our home until the wiring cracked and the paper socket which held the light bulb showed obvious signs of charring. It was time to retire the angel to the “leave these decorations in the attic as we do not use them anymore” box. Now why people have such a box is beyond me. If stuff has no purpose there’s usually room in the trash can for more.
The angel was once again forgotten in an attic.
Shawn and I have been in jettison mode for some time, purging the clutter and the unused items that somehow accumulated in the closets and attic. I think sorting through Mom’s life collections convinced us to begin that task in our own house. While sorting through the before-mentioned box from our attic we found the angel. I could not bring myself to toss her. That seemed unrighteous. Especially given the major roles angels have in the Christmas story and the place that plastic angel has in my memories.
I carried her (the angel not Shawn) to the shop and gently dissected her innards to remove the damaged electrical and plastic portions. A little epoxy here, some new wire there, a pristine socket at the top—soon I had a fully functional tree-topping angel. I also added a clip to her backside for easy installation and removal. Seems more dignified than jamming a tree branch up the little opening where the wire enters as the designer of said ornament intended. Shawn straightened the angel’s mangled hair and cleaned the smudges from the surfaces.
We placed the angel on the tree and added the power. Heavenly music filled the room as the bright light radiated from her wings. Wow! What a sight!
We’ve offered the angel to both daughters at their marriages to continue the streak of Christmas appearances, but neither has shown any interest. Oh well, there’s granddaughter Fern and grandson August. One of them might like the angel.
Someday… when I’m tired of dragging all that Christmas stuff out of the attic and declare for whoever will listen, “It’s too much trouble to drag that stuff out of the attic!”
Honest confession: I say that every year, but Shawn loves to add the Christmas tones to our home.
Some people just get this season.