My brother and I were chatting on the phone about movies we want to see and he sheepishly admitted that he is excited for the Trolls movie. I exclaimed in return, "I am so excited!"
I was talking with a girlfriend who is 10 years my junior, so she has no idea what the phenomenon of Trolls was. At the height of our collection, my brother and I had close to 30 trolls in various sizes. I had teeny ones that went on the end of your pencils, and I had one the size of a cabbage patch doll, she was pink and stuffy in form with a ballerina outfit. She was an outcast, she was too pretty for all the moulded plastic trolls with their arms jutting out from their sides, their bulbous bellies, and the way they were perfectly balanced to stand on their flat feet.
You weren't cool unless you had a troll on your desk, and you were in the upper echelon of troll collectors if you changed it out on the daily. Trolls hung from my ears, I had a Hallowe'en pair, a Christmas pair, and an every day pair. They were stored in our pencil cases or greeting us as we opened our lift-top desks. And what would we do with them? Not much really, except move their heads to the beat of music to see their fluffy stick-straight hair bop gracefully to the beat.
You didn't really play with trolls, so much as just collect them. We amassed quite the collection, we would arrange them in rainbow order, from smallest to largest, from favourite to least favourite, from ugly-cute to just ugly (you could argue that they were all ugly but the bigger the eyes, the cuter they were).
One Christmas we decided that we needed to do something with the trolls. Growing up Catholic meant that nativity scenes marked our house. We had a ginormous oversized silhouette of the nativity scene on our large house, lit up with flood lights so that every semi and train that rattled by would know that Baby Jesus resides here. Oh, and in case it wasn't clear that Jesus was the reason for the season, my dad made a giant cross out of red Christmas lights to put above the oversized nativity silhouettes. A bit of overkill, but we all loved it.
It is with no surprise with this strong influence that we had to make our own nativity scene. What would we use? Trolls.
We had wise men trolls, they were the ones that came in a three pack, they were all the same level of ugly. Mary of course was the blue-haired troll, and I think I wrapped a sash over her so you'd know she was a she (trolls didn't really have genders). Joseph was a green haired one. Above it all flew my larger red haired troll that had a white polyester princess dress with frills, and if you peeked under she had a red jewel for a belly button.
The piece de resistance was, because we are white and raised Catholic, a blond petite troll for Jesus that appeared on Christmas night. We followed the Advent calendar of when to put out which figure in the cardboard troll nativity. Our mom didn't know if she should be horrified at a sacrilegious troll-nativity, or proud that her children were adopting this ritual with such fervour and personal relevance.
I think we giggled often at the ridiculousness of having a troll nativity scene. And their popularity faded as quickly as it rose. They all fell into a box destined for a garbage bin or donation bin, whichever was more convenient. The pink ballerina troll ended up in my niece's care, I found it one day while babysitting and immediately instagrammed it. It's bulging eyes and silly grin made me laugh and I couldn't help but share it.
I was back at my parents sorting through a box at one point and had a flashback when I came across Baby-Jesus-Troll complete with diaper. It was a visceral memory, transporting me back to the early nineties at Christmas time.
My brother and I will have to make a movie date of the Trolls movie and see if they do our childhood justice. We shall see if the plastic moulds with wispy technicolor hair make a comeback.