I think we must be the only family unlucky enough to have a shedding artificial Christmas tree. I had to vacuum the whole house after it made its way from the loft into the dining room. I keep finding plastic pine needles in places that they really shouldn’t be.
The first Christmas my husband and I had together was in the house we’d moved into three days before. We weren’t spending Christmas Day there, and, as a result, Chris wasn’t sure why we needed any decorations. Hmmm – one of the real disagreements in our marriage about how things are supposed to be. When I cried, he went out and bought a set of fairy lights to go around the archway. They lasted about ten years, I think!
The next year, a friend was giving away her old fake Christmas tree because she was getting a better one. Being married to a Yorkshireman accountant, I snapped at the chance to have hers. Chris can’t see anything wrong with it. Well, if you firmly wrap tinsel around the branches that have dropped the most, you can’t see too many bare bits.
Looking on the bright side, we are doing a good thing for sustainability. The kids don’t sneer at this tree yet – they are just excited to have one up at all. The decorations they made at nursery school have pride of place (although I drew the line this year at the shiny fish that I don’t think has anything to do with Christmas).
Perhaps it has something to do with the way we were brought up. My family home has always been pretty festive, even when its occupants weren’t feeling it. We spend many Christmases at my grandparents’ house. My Nana had a golden bell at the bottom of the stairs that played carols when you pulled the string. I can’t have seen it for over 20 years, but it is firmly placed in my memory. Chris’s family don’t traditionally have a real Christmas tree, but they do make their house look celebratory.
I have to say I am a little torn. I am so aware this year of the people who do not have homes to put trees in. There are those who have homes, but are keeping hold of them with the skin of their teeth. There are families who cannot afford to buy their children a single present. Many elderly people will be alone this Christmas.
As I am writing this, I know what I need to do. I need to donate the money I would happily have spent on a real tree to a charity for those who have nothing. It doesn’t stop me wanting to make things “nice” for my family, but hopefully reminds me of part of the real reason for Christmas – showing love to those less fortunate than me.
On the home front, we have compromised on “keeping an eye out in the January sales” for a new tree for next year. Perhaps I should get it noted down in the Decision Book. I will keep you posted…
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