Christmas pasts in our household have always looked something like this: Haul the dusty box containing our fake tree from the storeroom. Assemble tree, by slotting twenty branches of bashed-up greenery into the right holes. Arrange fronds in a symmetrical fashion, with no help whatsoever from the children (the same children who 30 minutes previously were desperate to put the tree up).
Next, I’d attempt to sort out the spaghetti junction of tangled lights, while stopping the boys from jumping on the tiny bulbs and attempting to create a fuzzy, homely, festive atmosphere with jingles in the background and the sweet, gelatinous smell of mince pies in the oven.
Then (and don’t tell me you haven’t done this too!?) indulge my secret habit of rearranging haphazardly placed baubles later.
Ha! It was all … so stressful!
Not only because of the general chaos and mess that ensued, but because Christmas decorating with two small boys involved such terrible colour schemes, and so many bald spots on the tree, smashed decorations and tinsel-tastic explosions.
“What on earth’s happened to the lights?” I asked one year, after DH strung up new gaudy, electric bulbs with the boys. “They’re all blue, and flashing … kind of like a police car rushing to a traffic accident.”
“You’ll get used to the neon-blue glow,” DH had laughed, and I’d stared, mesmerised, half expecting to hear the wail of a siren, eventually agreeing that the boys’ handiwork was indeed lovely. And colourful.
This year, thanks to the boys being that much older, it all went a lot more smoothly than usual – and a bigger kitchen in our new house meant there was room for a second white tree, decorated only by moi!
I have to say I’m rather pleased. So it’s not quite the same as when my dad used to take my brother and I to a farm that sold firs in all shapes and sizes, and we’d come back in high spirits with a freshly cut tree smelling of pine resin and the outdoors. But my chic white tree winks away rather cheerfully and casts a lovely warm hue over the kitchen.
Season’s greetings to all!