We have too many ornaments for the single Christmas tree we can afford. There are few reasons for this. One is that I married into a family with Christmas ornaments. While on my own I never set up a tree and I owned very little beyond books and some LPs. Besides, I went home for Christmas. Another reason is that although I seldom think of Christmas before December, we tend to buy ornaments as souvenirs. Not for everywhere we go, but we did start a ship sub-collection when visiting coastal locations. We also have a moose sub-collection. I spent quite a bit of my early adulthood out in the woods looking for moose, generally in Maine. Then there’s the “other sub-collection.” The one that’s be relegated to it’s own mini-tree.
To understand this, let me begin by noting that Christmas is the birthday of Rod Serling (shoutout to my friend John Morehead for pointing this out). Rod Serling is one of the reasons—he can’t take all the blame, of course—that I’m interested in strange things. The Twilight Zone affected me profoundly as a child, and probably had more impact on my life trajectory than I might’ve realized. The “other sub-collection” consists of the weird ornaments. It began with a Cthulhu ornament I found online a few years back. Then, at a fair trade shop in Ithaca, I found a yeti ornament. How could I not support fair trade? This year at Christkindlmarkt I found an alien head made from a recycled Christmas tree trunk round. It seems my strange Christmas ideas aren’t unique.
Bethlehem styles itself “Christmas City.” The celebration in the Lehigh Valley is palpable. My family generally spends a December Saturday strolling up and down Main Street, visiting the quaint shops. Last year one of them had ornaments of sasquatch skiing. I didn’t buy it, thinking someone might pick up on my pointing it out. This year I went back to the store but they didn’t have it any longer. A quick online search, however, revealed many options for a cryptid Christmas. What can I say? These things make me happy! This year I’ve been thinking quite a bit about ghosts and the holidays. It’s an ancient connection that has been lost to the commercialization of Yule and Saturnalia and other December celebrations. So, Rod Serling was actually born on Christmas day. I hope that however you celebrate this day it will bring you joy, no matter how weird.
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