Back when I was a little kid (somewhere three to five years old), my mom took my sister and I out to pick out an ornament for the tree. My family had very little money. Most of our ornaments involved popcorn strings and raisin boxes covered in wrapping paper. We went to whatever the early-80s equivalent to a dollar store was, and picked out an ornament each. My sister Becky got a red hollow plastic deer covered in a felt-like fur and with stickers for eyes. I got a white deer of the same quality. Her deer was a boy (antlers!) so he got to be Rudolph. Mine was a girl, and because we couldn’t remember the name of Rudolph’s girlfriend in the movie, we named her Faline (Bambi’s girlfriend – it makes sense!). For years, Rudolph and Faline were front and center, always together, on our Christmas tree.
As you can imagine, these ornaments got really beat up over the years. They became discolored. They lost patches of “fur” and some of their stickers. When Becky and I left home, I took Faline with me (I can’t answer for Rudolph). Faline was so forlorn alone on my tree that Jason and I found a partner for her. It was also a hollow red deer with sticker eyes and “fur,” though it looked slightly different from the original Rudolph. Faline didn’t mind. Tradition continued, and the two deer remained at the front of the tree.
So as I’ve said over the last few weeks, my family has been moving and therefore late to decorate for Christmas. We finally took the boys out to buy this year’s ornaments on Friday evening, and then we decorated the tree. Unfortunately, when Jason opened up the drawer of fragile ornaments where Faline lives…
I’m not sure what happened to my poor girl over the last year or in transit for this move, but my oldest ornament has met her last year. To be honest, I feel okay about this. I’m a really big nostalgic mourner, so an incident like this could have unreasonably upset me. This year, however, I feel it’s simply time. Faline will spend her last year on the Christmas tree as half a deer, and then I will take the two halves of her and bury her in my memory box. It was just her time. For an ornament that probably cost a quarter, she sure lasted a good 35+ years, not to mention countless moves over the years. She even managed to keep one of her sticker eyes all that time. It’s kinda astonishing.
Farewell, Faline. My Christmas tree won’t be the same without you.