There is some discussion amongst friends and family when the Christmas tree and assorted yuletide paraphernalia should be displayed in our homes.
My mother puts the tree and decorations up about a week before Christmas. And they come down on Boxing Day. She does the decorating by herself, she always has. She whacks the tree up in an evening when everyone is in bed, and then will let us help put it away, under strict supervision, of course. Decorating for Christmas is quite stressful for her. She gets agitated and snappy if we try to help put the baubles on. I think that’s because she has to accommodate a massive 6 ft tree in her already cosy living room. The tree is an inconvenient tradition that she feels she must adhere to. And we all must be grateful that we are limbo-ing under foil hangings that are trailing from corner to corner, because if we aren’t, she’ll be mightily upset that she bothered at all. I also don’t want to risk the extra sprouts at Christmas lunch as punishment.
Our tree went up mid-November. Decorating took a whole afternoon and evening. With baby-faced Macaulay Culkin causing a ruckus in a festive family film as we made paper chains and popcorn strings.
The tree going up wasn’t solely my idea. In fact, P suggested it. He’s one of those irritating people who buy all their gifts in October, and he was hankering for somewhere out of his ‘cave’, the pet name for his home office, to store them. I was already very excited about the prospect of my first grown-up home Christmas, as in previous years I’d head straight to Mum’s as soon as the term ended. I was easily swayed. Our tree is only a little 4 footer plastic job, but stood on a side table, covered in homemade decorations and adjusted purchased ones, he looks pretty proud and proudly pretty.
When we told people our tree was up we got a bit of a mixed response. I bet you can imagine what my mothers was. Our friends, K & T, were surprised we got ours up before them! K has to have it up after the last birthday in the family, which when she married T, ended up being early December. Colleagues at work thought I was crazy for having it up so early.
I’d seen the Coca Cola advert though…surely that means it’s Christmas? “Holidays are comin'” surely?
I decided to do a bit of research on the subject. And when I say research…I asked about.
Some people don’t put their trees up till the beginning of Advent, which this year fell on the 2nd of Dec.
Some people wait till they start the Advent Calenders, and do it with chocolate on their fingers.
Some do it on the last day of school, (which is the 17th in West Sussex this year) they take the kids and pick out the live tree, take it home and slather it in tinsel.
Some do it 2 weekends before Christmas. All DIY takes a back seat and Dad is on loft/under the stairs duty.
Some do it, like my mother, in the dead of night, as late as possible so it can come down as soon as possible. If she had her way it’d go up on Christmas Eve.
Other people just do it when they have time. Which to be honest makes the most sense.
Some HAVE to have real trees, some don’t mind if they have fake. Having had Christmases around both types, I have to say that although real trees smell great and are the best focal point, they also drop needles everywhere. My up-tight OCD side would end up hoovering every hour, on the hour. I wouldn’t mind a live one in a pot that could go out in the garden after. As long as P doesn’t get too attatched to it and let in live in the shower till March like he did with the little one he bought last year. This year, to keep my bathroom pine-free, we’ve got the plastic one out.
And for once, I’m glad we don’t have a cat, or a puppy, or a baby. That afternoon’s work would have been destroyed in around 2.7 minutes.
Although…I do have P.