Monday, 6 December 2010

Oh Christmas Tree...

Against my better judgment, I have put up my Christmas tree.  I never put my tree up until after Winter Solstice on December 21st.  This year though, seeing Freddy's delight at displays in shop windows, I decided to try to create a magical December for my little boy by decorating the living room with fetsive splendour! 

This year for reasons of safety, we decided to go with our artificial tree.  We sent daddy up into a freezing loft to fetch our tree and the numerous plastic lidded boxes filled with all manner of Christmas-y bits, some dating back to 1988 and my eldest son's first Christmas!  When opening the boxes, a sense of nostalgia comes flooding over me.  A history of 22 past Christmases is contained within those boxes.  Although the older pieces only represent a small fraction of the contents, which has been added to by January sale purchases in more recent years, they never fail to raise a smile and sometimes a tear.  A book of press out cardboard Christmas decorations (which I never pressed out) has been with us now for almost 20 years.  A present from my big sister Carol, who is no longer with us.  It's typical of the sort of gift she'd buy.  And it's typical of me that I never made them, not wanting to ruin the beautiful book!  Every year, I take out the book.  I flick through its now creased up, aged pages, then return it to the bottom of the box where it will remain until I repeat the ritual again next year.

It's like a display of our family history seeing Baby's First Christmas Baubles lying alongside a wooden mouse on a candycane that my eldest son's first teacher gave him.  Each decoration holds its own memory of Christmas.  I am also reminded of my own childhood.  The one over riding memory I have of Christmas, when all three of us sisters still lived at home, is our fighting over three particular decorations.  They were the three wise men, represented by three different colour, felt covered cones with a featureless ball for a head and stick on headwear.  For some reason, the allocation of who got to "bagsy" which king was theirs for the duration of Christmas became a major event.  As the youngest sibling, I usually got last dibs and would inevitably end up in tears because I had wanted the red one and ended up with the green one!

One other memory that putting up the Christmas tree evokes is from 1990 when my eldest boy was two years old.  We had dressed the tree and covered it in foil wrapped chocolate decorations.  One morning as I came into the living room, I realised something did not look quite right.  I realised that where once had hung Cadbury's finest chocolate discs, now hung  single golden threads with a spent foil wrapper hanging from each one.  Little Joe sat there with a chocolate covered face and an "It wasn't me" expression!  He had painstakingly worked his way around the tree eating the festive treats insitu, leaving only the inedible bits behind.  Nothing has really changed with Joe.  Up until last year when he left home, I still bought him a choccie advent calendar, the contents of which he had totally consumed by the morning of December 1st!

This year we have used only plastic baubles, which the girls helped hang.  Freddy loved delving into the box and pulling out the sparkly trinkets.  But as predicted, the lure of the projectile properties of the decorations became too much and we had to duck out the way of Freddy's missile attack!  We got him to hang a few on the lower branches of the tree, but he just as readily un-hung anything within his reach.

Today, the lower branches are all bear.  Anything within Fred's reach has been removed, thrown, secreted in the seat of his sit n ride truck or rolled under the sofa!  I've stopped replacing them hoping the novelty will wear off.  Then I can put them all back on the tree in time for Christmas!


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