The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Humorous Christmas Tradition

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1989

Issue: December, 1989

At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark commercial, I am going to tell you a holiday story about me and my friend, Janet. We became best friends when we were about 12 years old and have stuck through thick and thin ever since. Together we have experienced love, marriage, births of children, deaths and everything in between. We have happily shared each others joy and comforted each other in sorrow. But one of the longest standing bonds between us is a Christmas package ornament.

It all began about 20 years ago when, as a joke, I took a spray of plastic flowers, painted them gold and put them on Janet's present. It was so gaudy it was humorous.

Little did I know what Janet had in store for me the next year. She saved that awful looking thing and, adding an equally awful wrinkled gold bow, put it on my present and returned it to me.

It began a tradition that has lasted over 20 years, and brought more than a few chuckles at Christmas time. Every year, the one of us that had "IT," tried to add something to make it look even worse. A bell was added. A plastic bird whose beak had fallen off was added. Glitter was added.

There have been a few years that it was lost, but it was always found and the tradition kept going. There is something very secure about seeing that old ornament, standing out like a sore thumb, perched once again on a Christmas present. It says, "My friendship is always here."

This year I have the ornament. Have you guessed what my addition to it will be this year? That's right, I intend to roll up this story and and put it right between the crushed bow and beakless bird! Merry Christmas, Janet.