Of all the ornaments on my Christmas tree, this little vintage 1970s Raggedy Ann and Andy pair is my favourite. The bodies are formed from some kind of foam, the faces are plastic, the clothes are fabric and the distinctive red hair is made of yarn. It’s not the most elegant ornament on the tree, nor is it in the best shape, but it’s my favourite because it fills me with warm memories of childhood Christmases.
When I was growing up, my family tradition was to slog out in the cold and snow to cut down a live tree from a tree farm. I remember the pleasant pine fragrance that filled the house, and the incredulous looks on the cats’ faces when we dragged the tree into the living room. Once my dad set up the tree in a stand, my sister and I would decorate it while listening to Christmas records by Roger Whittaker and Nana Mouskouri. Many of our ornaments were kitschy plastic things, and I particularly remember several Snoopy figures on skates, skis and a taboggan. Of course, Raggedy Ann and Andy were among them. There was something magical about this ritual that ushered in the Christmas season.
A few years ago, I noticed my parents weren’t using the old ratty ornaments anymore. I asked my mom if I could have them and she was happy to give them away. Many of them are falling apart or the plastic has degraded, but Raggedy Ann and Andy still look as cute and sweet as ever, and now cheerfully hang among the branches of my family’s tree.