Out of The Box!

Written from the perspective of a Christmas Ornament, this is a new version of the meaning of Christmas….

ornamentAs I hear the rustling of tissue paper, the release of the scotch tape and sudden light on my shiny exterior, I realize it is again…Christmas.

My name is “Orney” and I am an ornament for the family Christmas tree. My history goes back three generations so I am not young but old in “ornament life.” I am writing this as the cover comes off of my box and hands lift me from my resting place.

I can smell the evergreen branches and see the delight in my owner’s eyes as she lifts me to the tallest part of the tree. The lights are on already, the tinsel hung from the branch tips and fragrance of hot cocoa permeating the air. There is excited bustle, the dog is barking and the grand kids are stringing popcorn on the couch. I see white, soft falling snow through the windowpane. In other words, I feel special because my family has once again included me in the celebration of the Christ Child’s birth. The true meaning of Christmas is being commemorated and I am part of it!

Now that I am hanging safely from the highest branch, I look around and observe my family. Grampa is nowhere to be seen and Gramma is sitting in her rocker with tears coming down her cheeks. My owner goes to sit with her and holds her old, wrinkled hands. Evidently Grampa has died this year and that is why I see sadness.

I hear a very loud whimpering under the tree and look down. There tearing off colored ribbon, romping around on the rug with vigor is a little black and white puppy. Suddenly there is a whistle and he goes running to the back door. More relatives are arriving and also a big guy in a red suit…this must be Santa Claus. He looks up at me as if we have seen each other before…and of course we have…for three generations.

As the days pass, meals are shared, a new baby is born the day after Christmas and a granddaughter is engaged… I continue to hang on the tree. Clinking of glasses, cheers, kisses and long football games mark the New Year’s Day festivities. All of this is fun to watch from my perch, but the needles on the branch holding me are feeling scratchy and sharp. I think this tree is getting tired holding all of us up and is losing its strength. But I have experienced this many times over the years.

Then two days into the New Year, I am lifted down, dusted off and wrapped again in tissue paper. In a matter of minutes, I am again nestled in my partitioned box, the cover placed on carefully, the sound of scotch tape loud in my ears and then…darkness.

I always try to keep the light of Christmas as I wait another year to be part of our yearly celebration. I hope the world, too, can keep that light burning throughout the next 364 days… after all that is what this is all about… the light of Christ — even in the darkness.

Until next year then… Bye now.

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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