Why are all the Christmas Tree Toppers White and Blonde?

Why are all the Christmas Tree Toppers White and Blonde?

For years, we had a beautiful brown-skinned angel on top of our tree.  I found it one day while searching around at a local department store in my hometown of Muskegon and thought, “Wow, this will be a really great image for my daughter to see for her first Christmas.”

It was the only one in stock at the time and I thought myself lucky to have found it, since I haven’t seen another on store shelves in the years since.

If you’ve ever gone looking for a beautiful brown-skinned angel, you know how impossible the task can seem.  Because all the angels are white and blonde…and Jesus is European too, you know.

Well, the whole conversation started in our house this season because I had to retire our angel last year.  Over the last few years of wear, our move and several storage periods, we finally had to consider a replacement.

The problem is though, that there are very few angels without European features.  Because whiteness and purity are so intertwined in our culture (and especially with American Christianity), there isn’t much available for families that want to put a brown skinned angel on the same pedestal.  That often means putting a star on the tree instead.  Something I didn’t want to do.

Stars are great, don’t get me wrong, but there is a valuable lesson in my daughter seeing a beautiful, brown, angelic woman atop our Christmas tree…and that’s not a piece of imagery that I am willing to sacrifice.

So, obviously, I turned to the internet for options.

African American Angel Tree Toppers

African American Tree Topper, African American Angel

African American Tree Topper on Amazon.com

Even online though, the selection is still pretty limited, but there are some resources available, so I thought I would share.

I was able to find several African American angels, which is what we had before.

I was also able to find one Native American / American Indian tree topper here:

I looked for Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, but no such luck.  That would have been ideal though.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any specifically Latina angels, or Asian American for that matter, but if you find any other links, please share them with me in the comments section below.  I would love to see what else you find.

This post was originally published on Nov 24, 2013.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Nicole Del Bosque
    November 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I think it’s beautiful that you want to have a Latina angel atop your tree to send a positive image to your little girl. If there are Latina angels out there, why are they so hard to find? Why don’t the ethnicities of the angels in the store reflect the percentages of the American population? I could see the difficulty in creating ethnicities with smaller number but the Latino population is more than large enough to be represented. Deep down I smile a little when I think of all the money businessmen are missing out on by not tapping into the Hispanic market. If they only knew…

    I hope you can find your Latina angel! Please share through an update if you find one.
    Nicole Del Bosque

    My recent post The Grateful List

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      November 28, 2013 at 7:29 am

      Thanks Nicole! I'll keep looking! And you're totally right, they are soooo missing out! ;)

      • Reply
        AJ
        December 6, 2016 at 8:24 am

        Consider yourself lucky that there are dolls classified as “African American” because you can not find ANY angel toppers that remotely represent the Hispanic population. I have been searching for over 20 years..

        • Chantilly Patiño
          Reply
          Chantilly Patiño
          February 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm

          AJ, I’ve been looking too. There are a few, but finding one in a style you like is difficult and the are very limited. Someone could really cash in on this opportunity big time!

  • Reply
    Kylie
    November 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Why do you feel the need to have a brown angel on your tree? Why would you prefer a star opposed to a white angel? Your racist actually, and your already teaching your daughter about differences!

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      December 10, 2013 at 6:37 am

      That's an interesting perspective. So, if noticing difference constitutes racism, I wonder what being segregated and colorblind does?

      First of all, it's not racist to prefer brown, or to want to show my daughter brown in an overwhelmingly white world. Secondly, I'd love to know what color your angels are…or your Jesus for that matter. What color is your Jesus?

      I find it interesting that knowing the part of the world that the Bible originates from, we still see all it's characters with European faces. Doesn't that make you just a little bit curious about the system called "racism" that pretty much white-washes all of our perceptions about the world? I know it gets me thinking. And it makes me realize how much brown angels are needed.

  • Reply
    Tina
    January 7, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Have you tried Etsy? Sometimes if the market isn't mass-producing it, smaller crafters can fill the gap. Try Divine Angel Shop on Etsy, it looks like she does custom and could make you something unique (I'm not affiliated with Etsy or Divine Angel Shop, I'm just trying to find the perfect tree topper myself, and noticing he same thing you are.) http://www.etsy.com/shop/DivineAngelShop?ref=l2-s

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      February 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you Tina! I really appreciate you taking the time to share this link!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 3, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Because they are. Maybe people should stop complaining about the appearance of angels and worry about more important things.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      February 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      I wasn’t aware that there was something more important than my children’s self-confidence and identity. So you’re telling me you don’t worry about what your kids watch on TV? How girls are portrayed? Instilling your values? Wow…that’s really interesting. I personally want my kids to feel powerful and visible…not timid and unseen. You would think that would matter to everyone…

  • Reply
    John Patrick-Alexander Rademacher
    December 16, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    http://www.mandysmoon.com/store/asian-angel-christmas-tree-toppers

    The only tree toppers i have found of an angel of an asian ethnicity (Korean and Vietnamese)

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      February 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you John! I hope more people will read this and start new lines of dolls so we can all access a multitude of choices. ♥

  • Reply
    Holly Dye
    December 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I have been trying to find the Native American angel that I’ve seen pics of on the Internet, it says that she was originally sold by Bronners and when I called and asked about her and if they would have her again or one like it they acted like they had no idea what I was talking about…and I talked to like 4 people that work there, ugh very frustrating. She is so beautiful so if anyone out there reads this and knows where to find her I’d love the heads up…btw, the link you have above for the Native American angel on Amazon is not working…it just says, oops, we couldn’t find the page…Anyway, good luck on your search and update if you ever find some good ones, Merry Christmas.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Reply
      Chantilly Patiño
      February 22, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you Holly. I’m so sorry you weren’t able to find it. That is really frustrating, especially when you’ve seen it before and know it’s out there. I’m going to do some more research on this and update the post with the links shared here and any others I can find. We absolutely need more people out there to produce more angels with diverse cultural backgrounds and skin tones. ♥

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