You’ve never heard the story of the Christmas Albatross? Really? Well, even if you haven’t heard it told to you, we’re sure you’re familiar with it.

Each year, the Christmas Albatross visits nearly every home in the world. He’s usually shiny. Or dull. Sparkly. Or plain. Colorful. Or dull. Brand new. Or vintage.

He sneaks down from the attic, and searches for a place to perch. Will it be the mantle this year? The dining room table? Somewhere on the bookshelf? Rest assured, wherever he lands, he won’t quite fit in. Holiday visitors to your home will notice him and smirk a little – knowing that he looks completely out of place in the decor, but also knowing that they have one of a similar type in their own home.

The Christmas Albatross at the Beekman looks like this:

Aunt Mimi's Candle. Our most cherished Christmas Albatross.
Aunt Mimi's Candle. Our most cherished Christmas Albatross.

It’s a two-and-a-half-foot-tall hollow ceramic candle, with blinking colored lights inside that shine through pinholes on the candle in a not-so-close-approximation of a starry sky. A painted smiling Santa and his reindeer wrap around the candle. The whole display is topped by a flickering lightbulb designed to look like a flame. (It doesn’t.)

Brent hates it. Hates hates hates it.

I guess I can see why it’s hard for him to love. Beauty, in the case of all Christmas Albatrosses, is truly in the eye of the beholden. To me, my candle is dazzlingly beautiful. I still see it through my six year old eyes. It was made in the early 1970’s by my fantastic Aunt Mimi who, for whatever reason, joined a ceramic class. Aunt Mimi did a lot of fun things. She and her husband Jim made my brother and I fried Italian bread dough shaped (roughly) like our favorite cartoon characters. They also had motorcycles. And a humongous train set in their basement – next to a fully stocked and well-used cocktail bar.

The ceramic candle is my only physical remembrance of my late Aunt Mimi. But it’s more than enough. It pretty much captures her perfectly. Funny. Happy. Colorful. Cheery. Painted outside of the lines. And a little on the blink sometimes.

So even though my own particular Christmas Albatross might not match the traditional 1802 decor of the Beekman Mansion, it will always have a cherished perch in our Christmas home…even if not the most prominent one.

Merry Christmas always, Aunt Mimi.

What’s your Christmas Albatross? Upload a photo and a short description below, and we’ll pick our three (least?) favorites. The winners will receive a stocking stuffer bag of Beekman 1802 Month of December soap. Winners announced on Dec. 15.

First, “browse” to locate your photo on your computer. Then copy and paste your albatross story in the “caption” box.

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by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

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Jan Harker

Hi. My daughter, now 34 years old, remembers this particular candle from her childhood. A dear friend had given it to my mom as a gift. Somehow, in their moves, it was lost.(or perhaps thrown out!) Have you heard from anyone that would be willing to part with their albatross?