It’s the smell of pine that greets us every morning. It’s the irregular branches and chunky needles. It’s choosing the right Christmas Tree; about 6ft tall, chubby shape, dense boughs and a pointy top on which Father Christmas perches. It’s bundling it into the car and having to put down the seats to fit it in, getting them covered in needles. It’s leaving it outside in a bucket of (usually) freezing water overnight in the vain hope it might stop those needles dropping. It’s bringing its festive treeness into the house and setting it into its stand, wiggling it round to get the ‘right’ side facing out. (Because all Christmas Trees have a front and a back – didn’t you know?)
It’s testing the fairy lights from last year, discovering one set doesn’t work and the box with the spares has gone missing. It’s draping them around the Christmas Tree, finding they won’t quite reach all the way but another set is too much. And then deciding you can never have too many fairy lights. It’s opening up the old shoe boxes of decorations and immediately being taken back to Christmasses of childhood, when life was simple and oh so very exciting. It’s cherishing each decoration which tells a story of the person or place of which it’s a reminder.
It’s placing the decorations just so, balancing them on branches at just the right height. It’s deciding that at this time of the year, more is more. It’s stepping back and seeing if the overall effect looks good, then tweaking things a bit to make it just perfect.
It’s turning on the lights and going ‘Ahhh yes’ as the doughty little tree comes to life for the next few weeks. It’s putting the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. It’s playing Christmas songs and sharing the charming spectacle with friends and family. A real Christmas Tree brings childish pleasure at its simplest and most beautiful. I love it …
Merry Christmas, whether you have a real tree or not, whether you are at home or far away, with family, friends or on your own. May all your festive days be merry and bright ….