A Family Tree for Christmas, Part 2: The Angel’s Story

December 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm 36 comments

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

-Luke 2:9

This, my friends is our angel.

I know… she’s filling you with fear right now.

I know… it’s weird. But to us, it’s hilarious. And now… it’s just tradition.

You can’t see too well against the pink bow backdrop, but the angel has some pink netting for wings. And of course, her cotton candy hair.

“What is the deal?” you might be asking. Well, this is an art project my husband did when he was little. And for our first married Christmas, my mother-in-law bequeathed us the box of ornaments she’d been collecting for each of her kids. (Which was a very good thing, because we had neither Christmas decorations nor money to go buy them.)

Abraham’s family grew up not doing Christmas trees (they did a Bethlehem Tree instead). I grew up going out into the field and chopping one down as a family. So the first Christmas we were married, Abraham just didn’t understand why I would want a Christmas tree so much.

But one night, he dropped me off to do some grocery shopping, and said he needed to go run some errands of his own (we shared a car then, and still do). At our set meeting time, he picked me up, but when I looked around for evidence of his so-called errands, I couldn’t find any.

As we got home, we came up the back stairs to our second-floor duplex apartment and started unloading groceries. A few minutes into it, the doorbell rang, and he told me, “Why don’t you go get that?” I remember being kind of annoyed, thinking, “Well, why don’t you?”

But somehow he convinced me and I walked toward the front of our apartment. As I walked into the dining room, there it was…

A Christmas tree, standing tall and proud.

I screamed and hugged him and screamed some more and hugged him. (Oh, and then I got the door.)

It was one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. So surprising, so unexpected, so thoughtful.

Thanks to Abraham’s mother we actually had some things to put on the tree. But what would we do about the topper? We didn’t have a star (which is what my family always did), and we didn’t have a proper angel.

At some point during my lament about the sad state of our tree and it’s lack of crowning glory, Abraham jokingly placed the little drag queen angel from his childhood at the top. We had a good laugh about it, and decided she should stay.

And she’s assumed the same post for all our Christmases since.

What’s the weirdest thing on your Christmas tree?

Entry filed under: Family, Fun, Holidays.

A Family Tree For Christmas, Part 1 A Family Tree for Christmas, Part 3: Including Felicity

36 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marla Taviano  |  December 14, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Okay, that’s killing me. When I was in first grade, we had a Bible Fair. For my project, I made Mary, Martha and Lazarus (and their house and Jesus and the tomb) using those clothespins for the people. I got a trophy. 🙂 You should totally make a whole Village Freak Show.

  • 2. Cara Herzberg  |  December 15, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Joe brought to the marriage a few Star Trek ornaments. One of them even talks. Our first Christmas together I tried to convince him not to put them on the tree, but I’m pretty sure they were the first ornaments he hung.

    Now, I know it’s Christmas when I hear, “Shuttle Craft to Enterprise, Shuttle Craft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy Holidays. Live long, and prosper.”

    • 3. Sarah Johnson  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

      Oh wow, that is so hilarious! I can think of a few people in my life that would appreciate an ornament like that!

    • 4. Molly  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

      Hilarious! Live long & prosper Herzbergs

  • 5. Shannon Archer  |  December 15, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Josiah used to carry around this little piece of wood with two holes in it (I believe it came out of some kind of play tool set). He called it the “bolt thing”. My in-laws made a few extra bolt things in case his went missing so now we have the couple that survived that phase on our tree.

    • 6. Molly Piper  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:48 am

      I remember “bolt thing”!!!! That’s awesome…

  • 7. Shannon Archer  |  December 15, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Oh yeah…and I agree you should make the whole Village Freak Show as well. AND I’m still laughing about Cara’s comment!

  • 8. Chris  |  December 15, 2009 at 7:48 am

    She’s a beautiful angel! Not weird at all. These are my favorite kinds of ornaments (although I do love the polished, mature, artistic ornaments and elegant, everything-matches trees, too. Both are beautiful in different ways).

    And we had that same thought about Christmas angels while we were decorating cookies this weekend. In the Bible they are fearless warriors and determined messengers, and on our trees and cookies, they are so pretty and delicate.

  • 9. DramaMama  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:22 am

    We have an outhouse on our tree! The window is in the shape of a buffalo and the sign says, “Buffalo chips”. =) It reminds us of a vacation we took up to Montana. My mom didn’t think too highly of it but every time we hang it we laugh about the buffalo that surrounded our van in the parking lot. We were on a camper van trip for a whole month and there were some days we would have been grateful for an outhouse! It was an adventure…

  • 10. bfpower  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Saw this on Abraham’s twitter feed, and I thoroughly enjoyed your story…

    We have an ornament of a moose wearing a scarf and flying a small prop plane. Back story? I moved to a small town in Montana to marry my wife, and in the parking lot at the bank next door to the church where we were married is a large metal moose (see photo: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=326249&l=64ce539370&id=668160045). I wanted a few fun pics with the moose as part of the men’s photos, and my brother (an accountant from New Jersey) thought it was hilarious. He has subsequently sent me the aforementioned moose ornament, a moose-shaped pancake pattern, and a moose bodysuit for one of our kids…

  • 12. Melissa Parnell  |  December 15, 2009 at 9:30 am

    that’s hilarious! we didn’t do a tree this year for the second time this year. we have zero Christmas decorations. Jon has a few Cardinals ornaments, but he is so particular about them I doubt they will ever come out of the boxes.

    maybe abraham can jump start our ornaments by making us such a lovely angel. haha

  • 13. Hannah Beth  |  December 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Oh I love that story! For me the weirdest thing is that I have a Vikings ornament on my tree. I NEVER thought I’d marry such a huge sports fan, because though I always liked sports, I never really followed a team much at all. But now I’m married to someone who is a true Fan, and I have the ornament on my tree to prove it!

  • 14. jennapants  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I’ll get back to you about the weirdest thing on the tree. (We haven’t decorated our tree yet!) Just had to say that is a sweet, sweet story.

  • 15. Sunny  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This year our tree is decorated with link-a-doos, baby rattles, bear bells, wedding bells, jingle bells, and of course the angel topper that is the love child of a Christmas Angel and a Vegas showgirl.

    The topper was a gift, it has fiber optics in it’s wings and skirt and everywhere. The rest of the decorations were the best I could find trying to keep my baby from eating something or pulling off breakable stuff. (but then you should know something about that since Samuel and Morrow are only a month apart.)

  • 16. Heather  |  December 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Love that story!

    I have a few weird things that are mostly from my childhood…a painted lightbulb…what 1st grade teacher thought decorating a lightblub was a good idea!?! It’s all glitter, with buttons and ribbon. It’s been on every tree since I was…well, in first grade.

    I also have a homemade pacman and blue guy (don’t know how else to explain it) that my mom made for a craft show YEARS and YEARS ago.

    My parents bought us three girls a new christmas ornament every year since we were little girls and we each had a box full of them when we got married 😉 Seeing we got married later in life 😉

    We’ve done the same thing for our boys, however at this point, they’re so young we buy them at the after Christmas sale 😉

  • 17. MrsMK  |  December 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    One of my favorite things on our tree is the star at the top: it’s a cardboard heart, about 10 inches across, with a star cut out of the middle. Tin foil cut and wrapped around it makes it shiny! My husband made it while we were still dating…to top his parents tree. He took it with him when he married me, and it’s been proudly displayed ever since!

    Tin foil and cardboard: priceless!

  • 18. Jen  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for the laugh Molly! Hopefully I can return the favor with this story. When we first got married, I wanted a “pretty” tree. You know, decorative. But my husband said “that’s no fun!” and insisted we put up all the ornaments with “meaning.” So we compromised and amidst our “pretty” tree hang some interesting ornaments. The most interesting of which includes a plastic ornament we received from his grandmother, who is known for sending things that make you go “hmmm”. I’ll do my best to explain it with the utmost clarity without posting a picture so you can imagine how funny. Okay. It’s two plastic, very colorful snowmen, one a male with SCOTT written on it and another, female written JENNIFER. And best of all, they are HOT GLUED together side by side with the dried hot glue very visible. I get the biggest kick putting it on the tree year after year. Love his grandma and all her quirky gifts! Each year I’m getting better and better about displaying it proudly. (I used to hide it behind the tree but keep moving it closer and closer to dead center.) Classic. Thanks again for the laugh!

  • 19. Jenn A  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    That’s great! We have a wooden rooster ornament painted fluorescent pink rooster with bright yellow and green spots. It is one of my husband’s childhood projects. My kind mother-in-law gave us all of his ornaments after we were married. Our boys love to hang the crazy pink rooster in a prominent spot on the tree.

  • 20. Shannon Archer  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I also forgot to say that I admire your husband for the way he pays attention to what makes you happy and surprises you on a consistent basis…I have been witness to several “projects” while you were out of town:)

  • 21. nmwally  |  December 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    That angel is awesome. Up until this afternoon I was going to say the weirdest things on our tree were the 2 — yes, 2 — master Yoda ornaments, but then I saw this little treasure at the store today & had to make it mine. Definitely the weirdest thing on our tree now (yes, I put it on our tree):

  • 22. Debby  |  December 16, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I love this post! Both for the hillarity of the drag-queen angel & the sweet glimpse into your life as a couple…precious!

    We had a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree during our 5 years at college/seminary…it’s 2 feet tall & I fit 150 lights around it 🙂 The kids have it in their play room now. It’s not doing so well…

    Our “real” tree is fake & fits snuggly into our living room. No strange ornaments, though. Sad. Except the half-melted, half-eaten candy canes 🙂 I guess those count?

    • 23. Debby  |  December 16, 2009 at 12:44 am

      PS: we have a similar looking berry doo-dad on the top of our tree…minus the coveted angel.

  • 24. Andie  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:27 am

    the awesome part about this post for me is that I was visualizing that apartment while you told the story. I have so many good memories there (I’m assuming it’s the Cedar one). Ruth spent her first two months there and since we have a new baby, I totally have flashbacks to celebrating Christmas while she slept through all the gift opening.

    oh, and the weirdest part about our tree is that I found all the other christmas decor except the ornaments this year. So, our tree only has one ornament on it that had been misplaced in another box. oh well. ha ha. I’ll be at the Target clearance this year….

  • 25. Top Posts — WordPress.com  |  December 16, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    […] A Family Tree for Christmas, Part 2: The Angel’s Story And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with […] […]

  • 26. forthepraiseofhisname  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I have an ornament that is a chicken coop with three chickens in it that wobble. You plug it into one of the sockets for the lights on the Christmas tree. When you turn on the tree (or push a button on the back), it clucks Jingle Bells. My husband loves it (not really). My kids love it even more (really).

  • 28. Lee Ann  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I don’t have anything weird on our tree, but then there isn’t much of anything on our tree this year. We got a foster baby just before Tday that has had pretty difficulty medical issues to manage (although she is doing better now). It took us a week and a half to get the tree in the house and lights on, and it has sat there since then. Just w/the lights. But, now we like it and think we will leave it.

  • 29. Keri Rosen  |  December 17, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Carol, the ancient Yuletide troll!

  • 30. greenchickadee  |  December 17, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Love love love your topper, and the story of how you joined two family traditions together. We sometimes opt not to buy a Christmas tree and give the $$ instead to a family we know (anonomyously of course). But when we do have a real tree, it’s a “memory tree”. It has wacky things like the kids first favorite stuffed animals, old sunglasses with memories, old school ID cards, and a conglomeration of homemade (read: ugly) ornaments that friends have made for us and dared us to keep for the “memory tree”. It is so much fun decorating and pulling things out while we relive the memory of the item!

    • 31. Molly  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

      This is great! I could get into an “ugliest ornament” creation party. Hmmm…

  • 32. Sturgmom  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:38 am

    The angel is just…angelic. 😉

    My favorite ornament to hang on the tree each year is a HUGE plastic diamond ring that a friend from college bought for me shortly after I got engaged years ago. Truly- it’s ginormous. And plastic. And hysterical.

    I don’t know why I love it so much, but I refuse to get rid of it and always find my diamond a special place of honor on the tree each year. Usually on the side of the tree that backs up to the window…

  • 33. Kelly @ Love Well  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:57 am

    At this point, our tree is almost entirely ornaments of our life — which means we have LOTS of randomness. When I was a little girl, my Mom would give each of us kids an ornament for Christmas. It would be something to signify a development in our lives from that past year.

    So I came into our marriage with a BOX full of meaningful ornaments, as well as the pink foam “angel” I made in kindergarten and the wooden chicken I painted in first grade.

    And now that we have 3 kids of our own, we have a tree full of their ornaments too. I love the memories. And the kids love unpacking the ornament box each year.

  • 34. jennapants  |  December 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    we just decorated. our tree is just totally whack. it looks like we decorated with mostly garbage. oh well. i love/hate our star. it’s totally chintzy and flashes on and off.

    it should still be up when you get back. you can laugh at it.

  • 35. Rachel  |  December 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I just posted about an ornament my son brought home from preschool. he loves to spell out his name in a circle! so that’s what he did! it’s half the size of our little Charlie B. tree, but I think it looks fab and so does he!

  • 36. Chris  |  December 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Now that the ornaments are on the trees, I’d have to say the weirdest thing is either the silly Sponge Bob ornaments or the Super Sugar Crisp bear cat toy ornament.


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