Wednesday, 7 December 2011

On the 1st Day of Christmas

When I was a child the first weekend of Christmas was when we put up the Christmas tree. Mum and I would trek, saw in hand, for what felt like hours through the sand mines behind our house looking for what 'I' thought was the perfect tree. After we had cut it down and dragged it back to the house, we would spray the bejesus out of it with inset spray to make sure there were no spiders in it and then, after chocking it in a pot with bricks, I would order mum into her room while I decorated it.

It was an incredibly special day to me. I would set up a tape player with Christmas carols and take hours decorating the tree with care. There were a few super special decorations that had a special place, the angle on top (of course) and my special piece of tinsel that was 2 inches long and rainbow coloured. The story goes that apparently I had found the piece of tinsel on the ground in David Jones when I was two and had always been particular about it being just below the angel.

That is how I feel about Christmas. It's not about being stylish, or groovy, for me it's all about tradition. And I love every part of it.

These days we don't live close to anywhere where we can cut down our own tree so usually we buy one from the local corner store but in traditions name after AB chocks it into a pot with bricks, I order him out of the room while I painstakingly decorate the tree (carols are optional).

This year a store bought tree wasn't in the budget (and at $65 for something waist hight who can blame me) and the first weekend of December had passed in a street party blur. So after thinking about buying a fake tree (sacralidge!) I decided that I would do a tried and true last minute tree.

I went to the community center nextdoors and grabbed a bunch of nice long sticks and an old can of gold spray paint and let the kids have at it. Once they were painted and stuffed in a large glass jar we have (for just this occasion) it was time to start decorating.

Hmmm ...

Hmmm ...

So tradition, did I mention, really what Christmas is all about. But seriously, the tree was not traditional, and the kids knew it. Hamish kept trying to put the meter of ugly tinsel that we found at vinnies on it and Jack kept saying "mum this tree is ya know, kinda weird shaped" after me talking about how all Christmas trees are different he said with a smile "ohh so we can have a proper one next year, this ones just different, like for fun, right?".

As I started getting the decorations out I remembered that the dogs a few years ago had eaten the angel and as I searched hi and low for the rainbow tinsel, tears welled in my eyes when I realised it was gone. I then tried to find the carols CD and came up blank.

I sat down, feeling pretty depressed about the state of my tree, when suddenly the boys went wild, lights were flying they were laughing and rummaging through the box for the perfect decorations, they asked a million questions about each one and then they started to sing ...

So I sat on the lounge and sang Christmas carols while they wildly and yet quite precisely decorated the tree.

Tradition, still a huge part of Christmas, advent calendar, Nyssa's on the mantle, Santa sacks, trees covered in red, green and gold, and pretty lights wherever you can put them. But maybe my new tradition is that the kids decorate, we all sing carols and I try (and I will have to try) to celebrate my children's idea of how a Christmas tree should look instead of my perfectionist ideals of what the tree should look like.

I wonder, have others had to change their ideas of Christmas to accommodate their children? Sure they make Christmas better on soo many levels ... actually I may actually be able to live with the new tree tradition.

Watching - Buffy Season 4.

Listening - Kids singing Christmas carols.

Reading - Back to reading nothing, just falling exhausted into bed.

Advent - Kids pick for Xmas movie, hot chocolate with marshmallows.

State of mind - Feeling jollier every day!

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