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Such an Angel

December 18, 2008

My mother constantly updates her Christmas ornament collection, replacing threadbare elves with plush moose who flaunt pine garlands in their antlers. She replaced inefficient lights with LED strings, and one by one, the cats devoured the tastier decorations (pine boughs, frosted twigs, tinsel), barfing them up in mounds among the stockings and gifts.

By now, most of the 1970s are gone, but a few classics survived me, my brother, the cats and the years, including a crocheted angel finger puppet with a bell stitched to her back. I used to bolt through the house, jacked on treats and anticipation, shaking her like I was trying to put out a match. I inherited the angel when I moved into my own apartment, and now she tops my houseplant like a mildly wholesome tart. She might be an angel, but look at that yarn lipstick, slapped on with a trowel!

And then there’s the pantyhose Santa. Oh, pantyhose Santa.

He’s built from two styrofoam balls stacked inside a length of red stocking trimmed with a fun-fur beard and a felt cap. He has fancy felt eyelashes and a jaunty felt belt with a little felt buckle. If you grasp him by the head and mid-section you can make him hula, shimmying the styrofoam balls against each other while Santa smiles a pert, red-felt smile. He has no arms, and as you make him dance, it looks like he’s doing a pelvic grind with his hands clasped politely behind his back.

A stamp on the soles of his cardboard shoes reads “Made in Japan”, which explains the odd aesthetic–Japanese interpretation of a secular North American holiday. It also explains the durability of this simple object; a minimalist item constructed from prominent materials of its era.

Back then, my brother and I sucked at sharing, and pantyhose Santa did nothing for our stingy generosity. Each year, we argued over whose bedroom would house the ornament. Our mom drafted a schedule, alternating years: one for Sean, one for me, one for Sean, one for me. But each December, we’d each try to put one over on the other, claiming, “No, no, last year was totally your turn!”

This year, I’ll get home first on Christmas Eve, with Sean arriving the next morning. This gives me a whole day to hang out with pantyhose Santa, just me and him, and bragging rights till next year.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. looka permalink
    December 22, 2008 1:44 pm

    Hey, that sounds like great Christmas wear! We could use some of those,…. but our tree is only 50 centimeters high this year!
    Poor little guy, has a hard time holding on to the sweets we hung on there.

  2. Amanda permalink
    December 22, 2008 1:52 pm

    My brother claims he’s going to dress his new baby in a matching outfit then we can make the pantyhose Santa AND the baby Santa dance together!

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