Well, against the odds and working like maniacs, we’ve, somehow or other, managed to just about, nearly, finish the decorating. I’m not sure how we fitted in the room clearance, painting, shopping for new furniture, the car boot sale to get rid of outgrown toys and living in a house which looked like it should be the star of Channel 4’s Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders – but we did. And it looks great and the blood, sweat and tears and five hours of sorting out cupboards (yes, really) has all been worth it.
Just in time too as it’s nearly Christmas and we still didn’t have a tree despite the girls’ cries and pleading. This isn’t because I’m anti-Christmas tree but because there was nowhere to put the damn thing. But now the house is back to normal, it was time to remedy this situation. Now, only once in my adult-home-owning life have I had a real Christmas tree. This was the first year I left home when I swore I would not follow my parents’ example and have the real McCoy ever, single year. It would be beautiful. It would be sustainable. It would make my new flat smell delightful. It would make a right bloody mess all over my brand-new carpet. I only ever did it the first year and then followed in my parents’ footsteps and bought an artificial one.
This year, however, I had a real hankering for a real tree. I’m not sure why. I can only think twenty years had dulled the memory of the pine needle mess. So, yesterday, I was excited with the thought of us all going as a family to choose a tree. I was excited but, unfortunately, the rest of my family weren’t.
My daughters’ (who are clearly teenagers in the making) weren’t even dressed when my husband returned home from work at two o’clock in the afternoon. They both seemed to think that lounging around in their PJs was preferable to getting dressed and going and picking a tree that they had been wanting for the past three weeks and asked if we could just get the one out of the loft instead. To be honest, their complete lack of interest in something I had been looking forward to all week was a blow but I sucked-up the hurt and agreed. Then one of my daughters changed her mind as she decided she couldn’t wait a year to get a real tree. Then she asked what a real tree was. “Err, it’s like the one in the loft but made of…err…tree,” was the best I could come up with.
My other daughter then decided that if her sister was going to pick a tree she would too but made it very plain that this was only under sufferance and that she wouldn’t enjoy it at all. “I bet it’ll smell horrible in the shop,” she declared as I bit my tongue very hard. Then my husband, who I had mistakenly seen as an ally, got out his tape measure and went to measure the boot of the car. He came back in and announced we couldn’t possible buy a tree any bigger than six-foot as it wouldn’t fit into the enormous, gigantic boot of our estate car. At this point, I wanted to shout, “You miserable lot! Sod the real tree and just get the artificial one out of the loft again!!”. But I didn’t because, it may not have been how I imagined it, but I was going to get the tree I wanted. So biting my tongue again so it was practically bleeding, I climbed into the car with the rest of the Grinch family.
I’m pleased to say, that once we arrived at the Garden Centre and saw the trees, my family cheered-up and got well and truly into the Christmas spirit. The girls bounced around with squeals of delight as we chose the tree and my husband even joined in without getting out his tape measure to check the chosen specimen would fit into the car.
And, of course, it didn’t so we had to wait at the Garden Centre whilst he took the tree home and came back for us. We even bought a second tiny, table-top tree for the Dining Room and some Christmas foliage in his absence. He didn’t even pull a face as we showed it to him. The Christmas tree spirit won through in the end.