I love getting and decorating my tree. Trudging off in the snow to find a tree of the perfect size and shape. The whole family round, smiling and singing as we unpack the decorations, carefully placing each one reverently on the tree in just the perfect position. The strings of lights that twinkle beautifully…
Oh wait, no, that’s not how Christmas decorating goes in my house, that’s a scene from the films I gorge on at this time of year. I mean of course by the time December rolls around, in my head the decorating ritual goes like that, but in real life it goes much more like this;
· Think about suggesting getting the tree—then remember last year’s arguments re: size, so wait until I have some free time.
· Trundle off in the car to the garden centre. Gaze longingly at the over-priced Christmas trees with the perfect needles and formation, the Jimmy Choos of the tree world… then somehow tear myself away and go to the cheaper trees.
· Spend a ridiculous amount of time weighing up the pros and cons of each tree until I finally settle on one that is a nice size and pretty good shape.
· Spare one last longing glance at the Jimmy Choo trees and get my actual chosen tree netted so the nice bloke at the centre can fit it in the car. It bends a bit at the top but if you move the passenger seat back, it’s not too bad.
· Get home, note it’s started raining, and wrestle tree from car. It looked a helluva lot easier when the garden centre chap put it in.
· Take a deep breath, have a cup of tea, stick on Christmas carols and re-find lagging Christmas spirit.
· Find Christmas tree base. Spend half an hour trying to fit tree into base before giving up and accepting the trunk is too wide for the stand. Find bucket.
· Fill bucket with stones and earth, find old mat to put underneath it, manoeuvre tree into bucket and bucket into position.
· Let go.
· Notice the tree may be a tad too tall (the top bent at a right angle along the ceiling is the main clue); find scissors, lop off the top of the tree, and catch tree before it falls over.
· Realise it was only balanced because of branches pressed against ceiling.
· Use shoulder to balance tree whilst shifting it upright again. Utter curse words until it’s balanced, then back away slowly and pour a glass of Christmas cheer. It’s five o’clock somewhere.
· Relocate scissors and carefully snip away netting. Watch the branches spring into a …really lopsided shaped triangle. Swear it didn’t look like that in the shop; bastards must’ve netted the wrong bloody tree.
· Take another sip of drink.
· Wrangle tree into an acceptable position. Hoover pine needles. Wrap bucket in festive paper. Get out decorations.
· Sup Christmas cheer until the children get home ready to decorate tree. Feel mellower and nostalgic as decorations are lovingly unwrapped and remembered.
· Remind children to spread decorations evenly and turn attention to lights.
· Plug them in to check they work, fist pump when they do, unplug and start untangling them—pause only to stick on some Christmas music. Or muzak, as nobody else seems to appreciate King’s College Carollers.
· Finish untangling lights and plug them in again. Realise they have stopped bloody working. Check 400 light bulbs to find the dodgy one.
· Get them working and admire the children’s decorating (silently accepting the rearranging job that will need to take place to avoid all the red ornaments being in one place…)
· Then remember lights should go on first…
· Down more alcohol and start again.
Sound familiar anyone? Despite the lack of Hallmark in our decorating, my tree really is a part of Christmas I adore.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that you enjoy reading about Rhys and Toby’s Christmas miracle as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Olley White x