Can our Christmas tree be a bit less tacky this year mum?
What they actually (sweetly) said was – ‘can our tree a bit more minimalist this year?’ ‘Well if you both insist I suppose it can. I’ll let you choose which decorations go on the tree and we will all put them up’ Even the teenage son got involved because he knows that family traditions are an important thing and he even said himself a couple of weeks ago ‘the nicest bit about Christmas is being with family and friends isn’t it?’ You try so hard to instill what you feel is important in life and when it is reflected back at you, you are taken aback. That’s not to say I don’t often get teenage grunts for answers and have to point out he has spent 5 hours on his computer game etc.
As they picked the decorations from their storage boxes, the comments were ‘we have to have these ones because….’ ‘These ones are special because…’ ‘this one I made at nursery school’ ‘ This one was given to us by …’ Did we end up with a minimalist tree? No we didn’t.
Admittedly some of the decorations didn’t get used and I tried sneaking them on only to be told ‘we didn’t want those on there’. So, as I had said I would leave it to them I took them off and found another use for them where they look even better and can really be appreciated. They are ‘natural angels’ and were made by the children about 4 years ago when my sister in law was looking after them and doing crafts with them. They are pine cone bodies with a wooden ball for heads, moss for hair, and oak tree leaves for wings. I absolutely love them.
We put our tree and decorations up last weekend (3rd/4th December) because, having even less money this year, it feels so lovely to have all the opulence (tackiness) around us and having extra lights to combat the dark evenings is wonderful. I restrained myself and only bought two new decorations this year from Oxfam’s fairly traded range and they are hearts which I will also use for a Valentine’s day display.
All of our decorations have come from fair trade organisations apart from the really old ones which came from Woolworths post Christmas sales ( I still miss Woolworths) or were second hand from charity shops. Our tree was one my aunt gave to us after it had served her well for many years. I have a couple of miniature living trees which both get heavily decorated and I have started to decorate the hallway but it is a bit minimal at the moment. I have not got any lights for putting at the front of the house which I am disappointed about. I love seeing other people lighting up their front rooms, gardens, etc and really appreciate that they bother.
I think Christmas cards are a really nice part of the decorations and even though I strive to be ‘green’ I think it is a shame less get sent. Having said that I am very disorganised when it comes to sending them so I should acknowledge my hypocrisy here. I have a great way of displaying cards that is simple and effective. You hang ribbons from picture hooks and then just clip the card on with decorative pegs.