I'm so pleased to welcome Lorelle Marinello, author of Salting Roses, to my Holiday Open House with her tale of the toilet roll angel. As the recipient of a toilet paper and paper towell roll candelabra, this post is especially meaningful to me. Read on.
Tis’ The Season of the Toilet Roll Angel vs. The Star
Long ago, in the tiny English village of Quorn, a humble Christmas angel was born. The year was 1980. My husband, an avid traveler, had decided to accept a teacher exchange in the Midlands of England. The American dollar was sadly lacking in muscle against the British pound. We had no readymade ornaments for our Christmas tree or the funds to buy them. But loving Christmas, as I do, and Christmas trees in particular, I decided to make the decorations with what we had on hand—empty toilet paper rolls, paint, and glitter. In those days, crafters’ dreamlands, such as Michaels, only existed in fairytales, not in quaint English villages.
Our smallish tree needed a grand ornament for the top. With limited resources, I set out to create an angel. I gave her a full skirt fit for a queen and magnificent wings to rival those of a fairy princess. I downplayed her Styrofoam head and plopped a royal crown on top. She was a beauty, considering her humble beginnings. She was only intended to reign on the top of the tree for one year. Little did I know she would become my future children’s favorite ornament and that I had set myself up for an annual battle.
Fast forward twelve years. I had given birth to three tree-decorating enthusiasts, two of them exacting Virgos like myself. All through my childhood and early adulthood I held the honored position of master decorator, mostly out of default. My mother and sister seemed to be lacking the Christmas tree-enthusiast gene.
By 1993, it was time for me to pass my esteemed position to my children. My job description shifted to chief purchaser of new ornaments. One year, I felt the need for something elegant to adorn our Christmas tree. I found a beautiful gold star to replace the toilet roll angel. Her fairy wings had become chipped here and there. The children had eagerly welcomed my other ornament purchases. Surely they would love the shiny new star . . . Sadly, they did not.
My pretty gold star was an interloper of the highest degree. I was put off with gentle promises such as, “Maybe next year, Mom.” I was out numbered. Over the years, I’ve learned that if I wanted my star on the tree, I would need to find a poorly pruned tree with two tops so the toilet roll angel and the star could reign side by side.
The children are growing up. In a few years, they will have their own homes and their own Christmas trees. Through the years, the toilet roll angel and I have made our peace. This year, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she will once again reign at the top of our tree. As to her future . . . She may have to get herself a passport and air miles because my children seemed to have inherited my husband’s love for foreign lands. I see a trip to her homeland in her future.