When I left home and started my own family, I'd still come back and help set up my parents' Christmas tree. And every year, I'd put that ugly goose up. And every year my mom would complain about how much she hated that ugly ornament, but she never took it off the tree.
Finally one year my mom saw my eyes light up as I took the ugly Christmas goose out of the storage box, and as I walked over to her tree, she stopped me. "Why don't you take it home and put it on YOUR tree?" Well, because it belongs here of course. Then she told me she was going to throw it away. She hated it that much. So I took the ugly Christmas goose home, and I put it on my tree.
Every year, there the Christmas goose sat, near the top, right in front. Until a couple years ago, when we were taking ornaments down to put them away, and one of my kids dropped the Christmas goose. In all these years, I had always thought it was made of wood, but when it hit the ground and broke into pieces, I realized it's actually some kind of hollow resin. We tried to pick up the pieces and glue it back together, but enough of the pieces had shattered to dust that even glued back together, the old goose had big holes.
I set the goose on my desk. I had planned to find some kind of epoxy or something to fill the holes to try to repair it better. I didn't get to it in a timely manner, and then our basement flooded, and everything in it was destroyed. The Christmas goose was among the casualties.
Last year was the first Christmas I can remember without the Christmas goose on the tree. Sure, we had plenty of other ornaments, the tree wasn't bare, but even the kids lamented how the Christmas goose was missing. I left a blank spot on the tree where the goose would have been - no ornament to take its place.
This year as we put up the Christmas tree, my thoughts again drifted to the old Christmas goose. Why that ugly old thing meant so much to me is a mystery, but I missed it. I took a chance and did an eBay search for "Christmas goose sweater ornament" and what do you know - it popped up with that very same ugly goose ornament. It wasn't cheap, after all it's old now and harder to find I'm sure. But I went ahead and ordered it. When I told my mom I'd ordered a replacement goose she thought I'd lost my mind. Why on Earth would I pay to put that hideous thing back on my tree? Well, I'm not entirely sure. Because it's tradition, and because we all missed having it there. And besides, I never thought it was that ugly anyway.
I am pleased to say that this year, our beloved Christmas goose ornament has returned. As I type this up, there it sits, near the top, right in front, just where it belongs.