Chestnuts are not quite roasting on an open fire, but Andy Williams is trying his hardest on the i Pod, the fire is on and baby it's cold outside.This is the weekend when we ‘Do the tree’.
Middleagedad.com has yet again managed to buy a tree that would be more suited to Trafalgar Square, but after much huffing and puffing and general man moodiness (Hello, you were the one that bought the biggest tree in North London) has found the weird triangular thing that holds it up straight and we are ready to decorate.
I have of course, been art directing the whole operation. Fake white tree in the kitchen as it goes with the 'modern/trashy retro mood', real tree in the living room in the corner near the fire for maximum 'cosy/traditional look.’
I have been gathering ideas for months. DIY craft is a big trend for 2009 and I am taking it to the max.
Three weeks ago, my daughter carefully chose her moment to bring up the subject of the tree. (Shopping in Westfield)
‘Mum, do you think I could decorate the tree this year’
Sharp intake of breath, regain composure and remember I am not in fact the UK’s answer to Martha Stewart!! ‘That sounds nice (NO NO NO) what sort of colour scheme were you thinking?’ (I already have it all worked out in my head)
‘Oh just random, just lots of stuff. What do you call it? I know, eclectic.’
I am loving her use of the word eclectic but grappling with random and know this marks a key point in our relationship.
‘No tinsel’ I say.
‘Why not, other people have tinsel’ says she defensively.
I want to say ‘other people have no style’ but refrain.
‘Other peoples mums let them put anything on the tree and don’t really care what it looks like.’
Other people mums wear Crocs with socks but it doesn’t make it right, I think, but obviously don’t say.
So here we are, three weeks later, the decorations are down from the loft and we are unpacking delightful handmade baubles from India and China and vintage decorations from ABC in New York. I am thinking bright pink contrasting with pale pink and tonal green highlights.
‘Here it is ‘she says, pulling out bright red tinsel from the box I thought I’d managed to hide. ‘Oh its gorgeous, look mum how could you could not like this, and look here’s the calendar I made at nursery’
We delve into the box (with me surreptitiously trying to stuff the tinsel under the sofa) pulling out necklaces made of macaroni, pictures of the kids and the cats wearing reindeer horns and strange pottery angels.
Every single one has a memory of childhood and past Christmas’s. We are laughing and reminiscing and my teenage daughter is a little girl again.
I am transported back to doing this very same thing with my own mum. Every year the same old things would come out of the box and bring back memories of lovely family times. My mum didn’t give a hoot what the tree looked like; she let me get on with it, knowing there is more to life than things looking perfect.
I stop for a minute and realise that this is what Christmas is all about and say.
‘You know what, I’m going to make some mince pies, you do the tree and call me when you’ve finished, I’m sure it will look amazing’.
But can’t promise I won’t remove the tinsel when she’s gone to bed!