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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

My family was never really one for over the top holiday decorations growing up. We never did outdoor lights for Christmas and also never put out spooky decorations or trick-or-treaters around Halloween. Most of our decorations tended to fit my mom’s very nice (perfectionist) aesthetic. 

My mom’s gonna kill me when she reads this. 

Even though we had more traditional and aesthetically pleasing holiday decor, there were always a few things that stuck out enough to appease the side of me that wanted to put up the tackiest Christmas decorations known to man. These are a few that have been a part of my family for years and definitely left an impression.

1. Dancing Santa 

This is literally an electronic Santa toy with a killer beard and a stylish outfit that, when you turn him on, will put his hands in the air and sway his hips to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock.” I have had this toy for longer than I can remember. The earliest memory I have of it is sneaking away from family gatherings when I was six or seven to literally just sit on the floor and dance with this toy for a solid ten minutes. 

Was I a weird child? Yes. Do I still love this toy with every ounce of my being? Absolutely. 

2. The Santa key

The Santa key is definitely on the more normal side of decorations, but I just keep remembering how my friends would always ask me about it when they’d come to visit. 

Basically, the Santa key was my parent’s solution to their very anxious child wondering how Santa was going to bring her presents since we didn’t have a chimney. This thing is quite literally just a big key (about the size of your hand) with a strangely detailed Santa face on it that magically lets Santa into your house. It’s really cute in practice and a great solution for families without a chimney, but I’m sure walking by my house and seeing a big key just hanging from the doorknob with Santa’s smiling face on isn’t the most normal of experiences.

3. The weirdest collection of ornaments ever

When your mom grows up in a household where she only ever gets to decorate Christmas trees with the traditional bobbles, you end up having really weird Christmas trees when she gets older. 

My Christmas tree basically looks like every popular children’s show and movie from the 2000s threw up on it, but in the absolute best way possible. It’s just a bunch of ornaments we’ve collected over the years from “Baby’s First Christmas” to my mom’s mini collection of Tony Stewart pit crew members to the newest additions, Batman and Rey. Decorating this insane tree every year and reliving childhood memories with it is one of the highlights of my year and the tree always comes out looking amazing, regardless of how weird some of the ornaments are.

4. My mom’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” collection

I don’t really know how or when this started, but my Great Aunt Peggy used to love buying my mom ornaments and Christmas decorations inspired by “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I remember my mom telling me that it was her favorite Christmas movie when I was a kid, so I always thought it was really cool that we had well over a dozen Grinch ornaments, a mini Grinch Christmas tree and a Grinch Christmas night light. It’s just one of those really funny things that I’ve gotten used to, but every year when we unpack the Christmas boxes, I can’t help but wonder, “Oh god, did it multiply?” 

My mom didn’t tell me that she didn’t actually like the Grinch that much until I was at least a teenager. I’m still kind of upset about it. 

5. Bow and birdcage tree topper

I genuinely don’t know why my family doesn’t use a star or an angel to top off our Christmas tree. Whenever I’d ask my mom, she’d say something about liking the aesthetic of it (and I will admit it’s a cute aesthetic). The bow makes enough sense and the way my mom sets it up on the tree always looks gorgeous, but I’ve just never been able to understand why there’s a little birdcage with a fake bird hanging off it… I’m not sure I’ll ever understand that to be quite honest. 

They’re certainly not the most “out there” decorations in terms of being eye-catching by any means, but I definitely haven’t been to a whole lot of houses that decorate with quite the… finesse my mom has. 

Pulling out the Christmas boxes and digging out the dragon’s hoard of a collection we’ve acquired over the years is one of the defining moments of every year for me. 

It means laughing at memories of dumb stuff I’d do as a kid, remembering family members we’ve lost over the years that used to be an important part of the holidays and, most importantly, me screaming Micael Bublé and Mariah Carrey at the top of my lungs while decorating the tree. 

What are some of your favorite, weird decorations you put up for the holidays?

Jane Grosskopf

George Mason University '21

Jane Grosskopf is a senior at George Mason University majoring in creative writing with a double minor in Middle East studies and journalism. Outside of writing, Jane plays clarinet in the Green Machine Pep Band, and serves as Vice President of Membership for the Mu Omicron chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary music service fraternity.
George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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