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As a child, my favorite Christmas decorations were the miniature glitter-houses my mother set up atop fake, cotton snow on the window sill. Known as a Putz village, these pasteboard structures with cellophane windows were routinely sold in dime stores and the Sears catalogs. Putz houses, sprinkled with glitter, were Bermuda-pink and Bermuda-blue, among other equally non-seasonal colors. I adored the little houses that today are collectibles fetching quite a pretty penny, depending upon condition.
Back in my day, holiday decorations were mainly plastic...plastic Santa, plastic reindeer, plastic bells with plastic ribbons. Mom's best ornaments were made of colorful glass, and she hung them on the tree with tinsel icicles. Poinsettias (yes, plastic) flanked our fireplace, and shelf elves or wax candles shaped like carolers adorned the end tables. Exterior decorations were limited to Christmas lights with big red, blue, green, and yellow bulbs now considered “retro”; seasonal lawn figures were non-existent.
Though I miss the simple decorations of my youth, I rather like contemporary holiday décor (no plastic!); lighted lawn reindeer and Christmas trees are beautiful. However, the lawn inflatables so popular nowadays are nothing more than eyesores to me. A four foot, inflated Winnie the Pooh is not cute, nor is the “puddle” of nylon left on the lawn when he deflates. This brings me to an inflatable lawn ornament I find most baffling: the flying pig.
The pink, winged, flying pig first appeared as a holiday decoration in my neighborhood about two years ago, at which time I posed the as yet unanswered question: what does a flying pig have to do with Christmas? An internet search failed to reveal anything other than sites selling the incongruent sow. The porker's holiday connection remains a mystery. Do people put the flying pig on their lawn at Christmas because they eat ham for the holidays? Do the politically correct employ the pink pig to convey the message they will cease saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when pigs fly? Does the flying pig honor Miss Piggy, star of The Muppet Christmas Carol, or is it a character in an obscure children's book? Was there a pig beside the manger when Jesus was born? Was there an angel pig beside the manger? Is there a marketing tie-in somewhere? Is McDonalds stuffing happy meals with pink flying pigs these days? You know what they say...you can put lipstick (or, in this case, wings) on a pig and it's still a pig, so somebody tell me please...what does a flying pig have to do with Christmas?
Christmas decorations are meant to be whimsical, memorable. Granted, a flying pig is both, but I prefer the traditional...a Putz village, an elf on the shelf, even a plastic Santa and plastic reindeer. I will forego the traditional and embrace a pink pig as a symbol of the holiday season...when pigs fly.