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« The MorphOsuit | Main | Twenty-Two Years »

The Creepy Christmas Monkeys

"The tree looks beautiful as usual, honey," Mom says with a smile as she begins her annual ornament placement assessment, preferring to stand so she can stretch her legs after an 11-hour drive, a celebratory glass of champagne in her hand. I become aware of my heartbeat as I watch her patrol the perimeter of the tree, scanning every branch with mystical speed. We both know what she's looking for and after several years of acting out the same scene, we're overdue for a well-deserved Academy Award nomination. Next week there will be a repeat performance.

My parents travel to our home every Christmas. The same conversations and events take place within the first two hours of their arrival.

The Drive
We talk about what time they left in the morning—alarm went off, bags loaded, and wheels up by . . . early. How Dad almost had to change his route at the last minute due to weather. We discuss the condition of the roads, the traffic, and the price of gas. Where they stopped to eat and how long each meal took. "Your father's finally agreed there's no need to rush and inhale food. He doesn't push me anymore. It's actually a pleasant drive, now."

The Cargo
Dad and Chris carry in laundry baskets full of wrapped gifts. Mom rearranges the gifts already under the tree so she can display the packages she carefully transported and that, don't forget, arrived without a tear in the paper or a misplaced bow. Not to mention, the contraband. "Your mother threw her little jacket and sweatshirt over the beer you kids wanted. If we get pulled over . . ."

The Ornaments
Mom purchases special ornaments for the boys every year. A common tradition in many families. Annual gifts of Christmas pajamas or ornaments seem to be the American way. She surveys the tree, locates the superheroes, the teddy bears, the Wizard of Oz heads, and she pauses . . . "Chrisy. Where are those BEAUTIFUL monkeys?"

"They're somewhere. I don't know. Keep looking." I try to look busy brushing pretend dust off of couch cushions.

She finally finds them, hidden like a bird's nest, high and near the trunk of the tree. We both drop the facade. "Why do you do this? Put those monkeys where we can see them," she requests using her Cut-The-BS tone.

"Mother. They're disturbing. They scare the kids."

She reminds me how much the monkeys cost, and that she purchased them from that fabulous boutique in Scottsdale, you know, the one you like . . . they're works of art. The boys, she says, originally enjoyed the monkeys but my attitude has influenced them. Then she redistributes ornaments so she can place the monkeys—the heavy, creepy monkeys—in a prominent place.

You tell me. BEAUTIFUL or creepy? My mom doesn't read the blog, so you can be honest.

Creepy Monkey With Cymbal

Creepy Monkey With Trumpet

Horrifying!I invite you all to this year's performance next Thursday evening at approximately 5:30 PM Mountain Standard Time.

Reader Comments (26)

I am creeped out all the way over here. Planet of the Apes meets Santa Claus.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

ok, the outfits are beautiful, bu the faces..disturbia!
they remind me of a "beautiful" porcelain grandmother doll my mother made; she may look sweet and wholesome but i know she creeps around my parent's home at night re-arranging pillows. ;)
love the tree, loved your book, miss the "daily updates".

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkel

Oh dear GOD!!!! They're works of art like Nick Nolte's mugshot is a work of art.

It's like a simian Prince Charles with this smug, self-righteous look on its face.

And the lace jabot and knickers? Is it male? Female? Transgender?

Why does it have a lower lip and no upper lip?

And that smirk, ye gads?!!!!

And the weird facial coloring makes it look like it was in a car accident and then decided to wear blush.

These are the creepiest monkeys since the Wizard of Oz.

I'd cover them with peanutbutter and let Mary have her way with them. They're that ugly.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterV-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

P.S. Mary is the dog's name, right? Just checking. : P

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterV-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

Mary - I knew we were kindred spirits. You'd get along with my friend V-Grrrl, too. xo

Kelly - You've just placed a terrible thought in my head. Now I'll dream about those monkeys hopping around the house at night, engaging in weird monkey acts. (Thanks for the book compliment—means a lot coming from you. xo)

V - Yes, the dog's name is Mary (not to be confused with my friend, Mary, the first commenter . . . who you would like very much). You nailed it with the gender issue. That's a major part of the creep-factor. Boy or girl monkey? (Not that I'm opposed to androgyny.) I like your peanut butter idea, but Mary's afraid of the monkeys, too.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrisy

These definitely dip deep into the Uncanny Valley - where something approaches human in looks or manner but falls short in that way that (to quote Wikipedia) "causes a response of revulsion among human observers."

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKari S.


December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeidre

Ugh! They don't even look like monkeys. They look like sick people ornaments. Or zombie ornaments? Shudder.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertinsenpup

I wouldn't have known they were monkeys just by looking at the (creepy) pictures. They're kind of funny looking, I suppose. But if I had to choose creepy or beautiful? Creepy all the way.

Wish I could pop over for the live performance next Thursday. Such a cute post Chrisy.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristy

Okay, I agree with your Mom that the monkey's are tiny works of art, but let me qualify that by specifying that ONLY the monkeys' holiday regalia is artistic. It's the monkey's faces that are downright frightening. Good grief! You were right to place them near the tree's trunk and wait up toward the top.

Monkeys get two thumbs down.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabriela

haha, those are possibly the worst things I've ever seen. Total car accident material, though, I keep scrolling back up to look at them.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Ummmmmm..... creepy as hell. Put them in your white elephant box..... really bad. Sorry mom.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Maybe pay someone to start a house fire...like when you are out of town? You may miss some of your other stuff, but it would be worth it to have those monkeys gone. Creep.y.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

However, all this said, of course you will never get rid of them because they have become part of a tradition. (I told you I can't stop looking at them. Walking away slowly, closing tab now....)

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

I say creepy. iKeith says fun.

He's fired.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConnie Weiss

I am laughing, laughing...oh Chrisy you are so special! Plus, how lucky! To have a Mom with such originality, tenacity and patience in finding such unique Christmas ornaments no one else will have on their tree...but you!? Think of the conversation(s) your boys will enjoy later too. :) Love you and your mom! Marsha

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarsha

Sorry to your mom, but most definitely creepy. :)

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfalwyn

Oh my. Creepy, definitely creepy.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterunmitigated me

Wrong again...I do read your weblog

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermom

Hi, Mom. I knew you'd show up. :)

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrisy

A Night at the Museum" called... they said you could keep them and that they were glad they got away in their party togs... what a great behavioral deterrent a-la elf on the shelf....if only I could get the Mwah ha ha ha ha outta my head...

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebCvar

Very first thing I thought was flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz...do they have tails? They need wings! They don't look like monkeys really, but rather the humans who played the several flying monkeys who interacted with the witch. Very creepy...sorry, but they are.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn M.

The faces are too human. I'm going with creepy. But my mother in law smokes this example of creepy tree ornaments with her own purchase of beautiful hand crafted Santa HEADS. Just heads - no bodies. They're always nestled back in the branches, looking like they're ready to spring out at you if you are foolish enough to extend a finger to touch them.

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate Coveny Hood

creepy, but cool. somewhat Victorian. and subversive. that's what I like best.

December 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichael

I love them! I want some! Mail them to me! I have to have them!

(Invisible message: send them to me for real. I live so close to Mexico that I could deposit them across the border and they wouldn't return. You need a passport to re-enter.)

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Maybe you could get the monkeys morphsuits too?

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterterra

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