It’s that time now when the tree is retrieved from the loft (unless you buy a real one!) and the living room is filled with the plasticy ‘scent’ of tinsel that brings back memories of wearing it as a halo in the Nativity. (I wonder if Yankee Candles will add ‘tinsel sparkle’ as a fragrance for next year-I want royalties if they do!)
Putting up our tree is like a journey through the 10 years we’ve lived together. Although we have the same ‘basic’ decorations, we buy something each year. From the utterly hideous purply pink Rudolph bauble which we bought for our first Christmas here to the things the children have made, each thing is special and leads to discussion about where or when we bought it, or who made it. It is certainly not a ‘show’ tree, but the treasures which those branches bear could tell a thousand stories.
The metal love heart which I bought at Leeds Christmas market the first year we were married when I went on a girly weekend still hangs there with pride. The salt dough Santa handprint which I made with my son as a trial run before making them with my class always has a special place as a reminder of when those hands were tiny. Then there are those things which are the result of taking the children into a shop and letting then choose an decoration. It’s a bit like Christmas roulette, and it is the reason why we have two clip on gold glittery birds on the tree. They will always remind us of the day we let the children have free reign of choosing, and the pride they felt when helping us to attach them.
One decoration which always seems to make an appearance has been fondly renamed ‘The mutant robin’ as it is approximately 20 times the size of a real one. It was made by my son (with a lot of help from his childminder) when he was one and dominates the tree but we couldn’t leave it off. The red painted bell was another of his creations. I really think that the things the children have crafted are the perfect finishing touches, and I hope I’m still hanging their creations on the tree when they have their own children just like my mum still does with the things we made back in the 90s.
I keep reading about people who buy new things each year and throw the decorations away in January, and who insist on colour coordination. Do people really do that? To me it seems terribly wasteful to throw them away, though I can kind of understand why you might want some semblance of colour coordination. (That goes out of the window once children are thrown into the mix!)
We let the children loose with the decorations and I haven’t rearranged much (yet). However the white tinsel you can see on the tree was literally thrown at it by my five year old and I will arrange it more artfully (or maybe hide it!) The two year old treats the tree as a sort of interactive toy and rearranges things at will. I’m sure it will eventually meet her discerning tastes!
So what’s your perfect tree? Do the children have their own so you can have a ‘neat’ one for your own? Who decorates it? Are you a keeper or a thrower? Do you have any treasured ornaments? And have you ever rearranged the decorations after someone else has put them on? Go on, let it all out and confess!