By Clyde Davis: Local columnist
The story begins at Holland’s Christmas Shop and Nursery, in Lubbock. I was debating whether to buy the Lenox “Dorothy” ornament as an early Christmas present for my wife,who loves The Wizard of Oz. Having decided that this was worth it, I was standing in line behind a woman who, oddly enough, had just made the same decision concerning an ornament for her husband.
This ornament, however, was a fairly tacky, and very expensive, old world glass piece called “Merry ChrisMoose” Vaguely resembling Bullwinkle, the treasured piece was wrapped up in a candy cane striped stocking and had lights hung from his antlers and a grin that looked like too much eggnog. Justifying herself, she explained that she thought it was the dumbest thing she ever saw, but her husband loved it, so if it made him happy, that was what mattered.
I laughed politely,and immediately rushed to the car and called my stepdaughter, in a state of panic. The whole conversational focus on men and tacky ornaments they love had made me nervous.
“Amanda — you decorated the tree the other day?” “Right- most of it” “Did you see my Harley walrus ornament? “ Your what ?” “My Harley walrus. Will you go look for it and make make sure it’s there ? I didn’t see it.” “ Ohhh, alright.” Of course, when I got home, I had to double check for myself, and move him from the back to the front of the tree.
The Harley walrus, as you may surmise, is a walrus riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and though I have never owned a motorcycle, nor have I any wish to, for some reason my Harley walrus is treasured above most ornaments. Perhaps because, the October I bought him, I was going through chemo and life was, in my mind, tenuous.
Each year I like to browse through the seasonal magazines, beginning in October, and see what sort of ideas the professionals have come up with for decorator holidays, including the lovely color and theme focused trees. Each year I decide that, besides the expense, decorator trees do not, for me, capture the real purpose of trimming a Christmas tree:
n The “Our First Christmas” marriage doves ornament from 1999, which will remind me next year that I have a 10-year wedding anniversary coming, which it would behoove me to remember.
n Picture ornaments of my grandson in kindergarten and first grade, and how much taller and bigger he will look, in this year’s second grade version! There is very little toddler left in the little boy he is now.
n Gus Gus, the mouse from Cinderella, the chubby one who stutters. Gus Gus was a McDonald’s ornament back in the early 1980s, which makes him older than my freshman English students. He has traveled a lot with me.
n Snoopy, a Hallmark ceramic ornament from the same era. Actually, I think Snoopy is dated 1977; I’ll have to check that when I get home.
On the porch, new this year, is the closest thing I will manage to a decorator tree — one of those 3-feet-tall woodsy trees, with all of my gamebird, deer, waterfowl and other assorted “outdoor person” ornaments, collected over the years. I think the people with whom I share a tree were glad when I finally got my own tree for those; the main one was getting kind of crowded. I even carved an antique style loon decoy, especially to sit under that tree.
What are your favorite ornaments,and what do they say about you, and who you are ?
Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: