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A Favorite Christmas Ornament

December 9, 2013

This is the time of year when boxes of Christmas tree trim are plucked from the garage, dusted off and brought inside. If you’re like me and have been married a long time, those boxes are sure to contain an interesting ornament or two, particularly if you have children or grandchildren. My favorite Christmas decoration was made by our son CJ when he was seven or eight. It wasn’t intended as a Christmas ornament.


An art teacher gave CJ’s class an assignment to create a vessel with a lid. What CJ brought home made me scratch my head. Instead of crafting something practical like a covered dish or box, my son molded clay into a….couch. When he brought it home from school and explained the assignment I asked why he’d decided to create a couch. His answer was couched in non-linear child-speak that, to me, didn’t make sense, but it was obvious from his bright expression that he was pleased with his effort. Who was I to tell him this was a peculiar solution to that particular task. Eventually, the clay couch ended up in a box with our Christmas ornaments.


At Christmas time CJ would place his couch near the manger we set up every year. The couch looked out of place beside the little cows and sheep, Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus and the wise men, but little CJ explained that sooner or later someone would get tired of standing around looking at Baby Jesus and might want to sit down. As for the removable cushion—the perfect place to hide gold, frankincense and myrrh.


For years I smiled at the Christmas couch when it was brought out and displayed, and I held my tongue when people would study it and make curious comments, until one day several years back when I was Christmas shopping for Mrs. Chatterbox at a local gourmet cooking store called Kitchen Kaboodle. I didn’t have anything particular in mind but Mrs. C. likes to cook and I figured I might find a device or utensil she didn’t already have. As I wandered through the store I passed a shelf filled with small ceramic…couches, all decorated with Christmas motifs. They were $79.00 each.


A sales clerk approached. “These Christmas couches are quite the rage this year. Are you interested in buying one?”


“No thanks,” I answered. “I already have one. My kid made it. Did I mention he’s a genius?”  



Great work dad! My kids always end up playing with our manger. Put Baby Jesus back, leave that sheep alone, no the wise men are not wizzards!
By: David Walston on December 9, 2013
What a delight. I imagine the shepherd's have used the couch when you weren't watching.....after all. So the now traditional Christmas couch has a new status as "all the rage" but CJ knew all along. That's adorable. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on December 9, 2013
Christmas couches? Clearly he was ahead of his time. My sister and I made these little angels in school that are painted bright pink. We call them the Pepto-Bismol angels.
By: PT Dilloway on December 9, 2013
ahead of his time!
By: TexWisGirl on December 9, 2013
I love my couch at home. I lay on it and watch t.v. for hours. I'm sure Jesus did the same thing in his day (between miracles of course).
By: Michael Offutt on December 9, 2013
Wow! I think that proves that everything comes into style at some point. But what a delight. And good for you and your Mrs. for having treasured it all these years.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on December 9, 2013
I like your son's "non-linear" thinking - quirky is good in my book :)
By: jenny_o on December 9, 2013
It looks SO comfortable!!
By: fishducky on December 9, 2013
He got it from his mama. (grin)
By: mimi on December 9, 2013
What is it they say..."out of the mouths of babes..."?
By: Catalyst/Bruce on December 9, 2013
Who would have thunk it? lol Some of my favorite decorations were made by Mike and I'll always love the excitement I can still see in my head when he came home with them. Priceless.
By: Bouncin Barb on December 9, 2013
I KNEW that was a couch when I glanced at the little picture on my blog reading list! But my mind kept trying to make it into a weird poinsettia. I love the reasoning for the couch beside the manger.
By: Val on December 9, 2013
I like your son's way of thinking. It reminds me of my older boy. He always had an unusual solution but a perfectly logical (to him.. and to us, eventually) way of getting there.
By: Hilary on December 9, 2013
I love this story! Your son is a genius! and you are also for keeping your mouth shut when he brought it home! Also I love the comment you made on my Awww Monday- you were so correct- that was a stink-eye and you had her pegged correctly! Cheers and enjoy your Christmas!
By: Kathe W. on December 9, 2013
I've always wondered about poor Mary, giving birth and then she has to kneel in front of that fricking manger because God knocked her up. Having a baby HURTS! Mary needs a couch. Thank you for understanding the pain of childbirth, C.J. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on December 9, 2013
CJ really was way ahead of his time. Now ask him to design a car!
By: Pixel Peeper on December 9, 2013
That is one of the coolest stories I've heard. First, because your child thought so far out of the box that he would think to create a couch for his project with a lid. Second, because you were special enough parents to let him put his couch near the manger scene, not worrying how it would look. Just absolutely love this story!
By: Kianwi on December 9, 2013
I think many times kids are just a little ahead of us. You have a many storied ornament.
By: red on December 9, 2013
What a charming story! I honestly think the best decorations are the homemade ones. I wouldn't trade our popsicle sticks, pipe cleaner, and glitter decorations for a truckload of Tiffany ornaments!
By: Al Penwasser on December 9, 2013
He should have followed up in the next years with a chase, a hammock, and a LazyBoy. That could have been one stylish stable. :)
By: Scott Cody Park on December 9, 2013
Now that is a great ornament. Your sons...the store one is just stupid.
By: Cranky on December 9, 2013
How fabulously thoughtful of CJ. Even creche figurines could use a rest!
By: Tom Cochrun on December 9, 2013
You are so right. That Christmas couch is a work of art AND creative genius! And what a treasure.
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 10, 2013
Your son IS a genius. And I love how the couch was offered to the nativity set inhabitants. My guys (and girl) have been standing for years. They could use a couch, but at $79 they'll have to just hang in there.
By: Diane Laney Fitzpatrick on December 10, 2013
It's worth a lot more than $79. I love it when kids let their creative minds wander to places adults would never consider. That's what they're best at. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on December 10, 2013
Your son was clearly years ahead of his time.
By: Bryan Jones on December 10, 2013
You lead an interesting life. I sometimes wonder if you could combine both your writing and artistic skills in developing a comic strip.
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 10, 2013
Great tale from a proud Dad!
By: John on December 11, 2013
How sweet!! I love that you and Mrs. C kept it safe and put it out at Christmas.
By: Cheryl P. on December 11, 2013

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