While I was growing up, my family never put up our Christmas tree until December. My mom hated rushing the holiday after Thanksgiving. But given that I am the only person in my family who enjoys helping my mom decorate the tree, we became "those people" once I went to college because if I didn't put up the tree with her over Thanksgiving, she'd have to go it alone sometime in the weeks following. Now that I'm living out in New York, though, this has become an especially important part of my Thanksgiving break at home. My family comes to New York for Christmas, so Thanksgiving weekend, when I decorate the tree with my mom, is the only time I actually get to see our Christmas tree in person. I have always loved Christmas (if Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song" makes an appearance in the old iTunes shuffle, at any time of year, I will not skip the song - out of respect), and since we have had the same artificial tree for the last 15 years (we could never have a real Christmas tree since we always traveled during the holidays and apparently that would be a fire hazard - one of those facts your parents tell you when you're 8 years old and you just accept as the truth of God, like how eating carrots gives you strong teeth), seeing this tree is a fond reminder of Christmas memories and a welcome constant as life has transitioned rapidly from high school to college to moving across the country and trying to be an adult (I'll get there one day).
Maybe it's because I'd just entered my 24th year on God's green earth just a couple of days before, but as we were decorating the tree this year, I contemplated how many years, how many Christmases and vacations and birthdays and presidential elections (yes, we commemorate each presidential election with a Christmas ornament, you mean your family doesn't do that?), had resulted in the endless number of ornaments my parents have collected.
So then of course, I started thinking, geez Mariel, you're already 24 and you have about 3 ornaments in your wheelhouse and you don't even have a Christmas tree to put them on, and next year you're going to be 25 and then you start the countdown from 30 and it's like, ok you've got 5 years to get your shit together and have a respectable Christmas tree.. STEP UP, WOMAN.
Ok, nearly-quarter-life-crisis aside, my mom and I started laughing about how funny some of these ornaments are so without further ado, here is a glimpse into the Christmas tree at the Synan house:
It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
This year, Christmas came straight up with a twist.
This ornament was one of my sister Katy's creations. I think she made it in first grade. You know, back when she was going through her Chinese throwing star phase. I swear to God, one of these years, this thing is going to pierce one of our hands while we're rustling through the ornament box. This has weathered a lot of packing and unpacking over the years so believe it or not, it has actually LOST a few toothpicks but this could absolutely still double as a weapon. Kevin McCallister would be proud.
I can't give Katy too hard of a time without calling to attention one of my signature pieces. That's right. This is a Turd original. Gold bangs on snowmen were definitely on trend that year. #MostLikelyToHaveTheBestHair. The "y" on "Melly" was spelled backwards on the back of this. Shocking.
I started to rip on my brother Nicholas when I saw this one. I mean, talk about an egocentric Christmas ornament. Forget baby Jesus, Christmas is ALL. ABOUT. NICK. But then my mom reminded me of the homemade Christmas ornament we have from my dad's childhood...
Note that this is the only ornament I am not showing with a close-up, because I needed to give perspective on how large this thing is. There is no appropriate place to hang it on the tree. But I have to hand it to my dad, talk about a power play. There was no amount of macaroni or glitter his brother or sister could use that would upstage this behemoth. As a fellow middle child, I respect the strategy. Naughty or nice? Walk that line, Dad. This one is for Santa to decide.
Wait, your family doesn't have a dentist/oral surgeon Christmas ornament?
Wait, your family doesn't have two dentist/oral surgeon Christmas ornaments?
Nothing weird going on here.. Nope, just ask these furtive pigs clutching a candle.
This has always been one of my favorite ornaments. I don't know what it is, maybe the side eye. Bringing a little bit of bitchiness to the holidays? Absolutely.
I can't even take credit for finding the humor in this one. Way to go, Mom, for pointing out the pantless, pre-pubescent basketball player. Why is he giggling about covering his privates with a basketball? Why did he curl his eyelashes? WHERE ARE HIS PANTS? Attention readers: if you stumble across an "Unintentionally Inappropriate Christmas Ornaments" tumblr, please, for the love of baby Jesus and the Magi, submit this.
And last but not least.. what's that lurking in the shadows?
Oh don't worry, it's just the velvet-armed gnome-acorn centaur. Trust me, it's more afraid of you than you are of it.
This ornament is everything. I feel like my mom got this in Austria? Or maybe she made it when she was a kid? Regardless, it is one of those ornaments that doesn't have a string or ribbon or hook or anything, so instead of hanging it up, it nestles on the branches.
Nestles on the branches. This creeped me out as a child. I was convinced it was alive and didn't want to be restrained hanging mid-air by fishing wire so instead it sat on the branches so that it could move about freely during the night. I don't know why it scared me. It's not like it has velvet arms or a cane or is half-gnome, half-acorn or anything.