Ho Ho started out with a store-bought pattern and the best of intentions, but like most things conceived in the mind of an 8-year-old girl, it was doomed to disaster. Ho Ho was meant to be a crocheted pillow featuring a rough approximation of Santa Claus standing atop the words “Ho Ho Ho!” But the green yarn my mother had was a shade more lime than emerald, and because there was no black yarn around, Santa’s eyes and boots were created with a garish shade of plum. The entire creation is pockmarked with skipped and uneven stiches, and to be honest, St. Nick looks more like an armless, dissolving ghost than a jolly gift-bringer.
To make matters worse, Mom gave up less than halfway through. Rather than crochet the greeting, she cut the letters out of felt—and worse still, she gave up after just two “hos.” Instead of finishing the pillow, she tacked the abridged version to a piece of cardboard cut from a box of Bush’s baked beans. And there he has dwelled for five decades.
For some reason, we trot the poor guy out with great fanfare every year and set him proudly on the mantle above my parents’ fireplace. From Black Friday through Epiphany, there he sits—below the nutcrackers and surrounded by tasteful store-bought decorations—as out of place as a cross-eyed, hairless mutt in a litter of standard poodles.
However, unlike the reindeer doorknob hangers, gingerbread folk collection, and Advent calendar, which we dutifully put in the same places every year, we actually fight for the right to carry Ho Ho to his spot and applaud when he’s settled. There’s no logical reason for this. In fact, every store display, every glossy two-page spread in a home decor magazine tells us we should toss him in the nearest trash can. Thankfully, in a world that strives in vain for a perfect holiday celebration, my family has a reminder that nothing will ever really be perfect this side of heaven. Like him, we are all flawed, but that doesn’t change the fact that we (both human and failed craft project) are well and truly loved creations.