The tree was being delivered on Friday, and it was one of those slots that was vague enough to be entirely unhelpful.  Not morning or afternoon, not 7am-4pm, or 9-6pm just Friday.  The man had called me two days previously and told me to go and get my tree stand and measure its diameter so that he could make sure he wasn’t sending too large a tree.  I mean, I ordered a large tree.  We have double height ceilings here, and I wanted a big tree.  Usually, I order about a foot more than I need and lop off the top because really, sometimes the tree looks so straggly on top it ruins the effect.  So I ordered a 9ft (2.75m) tree.I checked and checked again 9ft, I knew it would fit, and I knew that if it was too tall, I could cut off the top and all would be well.  As the flat is so hot, I left it ‘til the middle of this month because the tree tends to droop and I wanted it to still look good for Christmas.  When I spoke to the guy I asked if he would be able to put the tree in the stand for me, and he said that he wasn’t sure, it depended on how busy they were they were out and about all day, he couldn’t guarantee it.  I was up early and the doorbell must have rung about 15 times with deliveries etc.  Each time, I ran to the door and braced myself for the refusal to help.  When the guy finally arrived (about 4:15pm) I answered the door and burst out laughing.

“That’s definitely not as advertised!”  I said.


Not as advertised

“I’ve got your Christmas tree, Madam.”  He was holding this in his arms.

I know men like to lie about size, but there is no way that tree was 9ft tall.  It was about a foot tall and in a pot.  I suddenly thought about Nannie and how she always used to talk about how dangerous to order things on ‘that computer of yours’.

“If I could just hand you this madam, your tree is just here…”

I took the proffered pot and he then brought in a suitably giant tree.  It was in its little hairnet, so long and thin.

“Would you be able to put it in the stand for me?”

“Of course, no problem.”  He sorted it all out effortlessly and the tree was exactly the right height. Within 10 minutes, he had left, and I was left wondering why I had been so anxious about it.

It looked silly in its hairnet, so I started to cut open the net.  Note to self for next time, start at the top.  By the time I was half way up, I couldn’t get near the tree to cut the top half.  There followed a long stint on the rickety ladder and much effing and blinding.  Although it is advertised as a non drop tree, I then spent about 20 minutes picking up needles and other foliage which had become trapped when they wrapped it.  I also swept away some little friends who invariably like to come in with the tree.  Eventually, the tree seemed to settle into its spot.



So, the tree was here, and when D came back from work, it was time to think about getting some decorations on it.  I don’t know if you noticed, but I did say thinking about getting some decorations on it.  We didn’t actually put any on.  We just thought about it.  At about 10 we decided to try and put the lights on.  I have a 60 litre plastic tub which contains all of our various Christmas lights.  Last year, I actually went ahead and got rid of all the lights that didn’t work.  (Everyone was horrified, but really, every year we would wheel these lights out, plug them in, groan in disappointment when they didn’t work, tighten and/or replace every bulb on the strand, replace the fuse in the plug, and still they didn’t work.


After: dip-dyed and bejewelled.

“Let’s put them away until next year… Maybe ‘somebody’ can fix them.” Someone (not me) would say.  As if there are little fairies that live in your storage boxes and repair Christmas decorations and lights.  Needless to say, ‘somebody’ (whoever he or she may be) is far too busy at Christmas-time to worry about fixing lights that were bought in the 70s.  So year after year we would repeat this ritual.  Last year, I decided no more.  We now have 9 strands of functioning lights, and 6 of them are on the tree.  At first there were five on there.  It made sense because we had a multi-plug board with five sockets on it.  The maths seemed fairly simple to me.  As we were looking at the tree however, we could see bald spots.  So I went and got some more lights.  We needed new ones because all of our other lights had white cables (from when the tree was silver) and they look awful on the natural tree.  At 11:30 on Friday night, we called it a night, and I was assigned the task of getting the extra set of lights the next day.  The lights I got were LED lights, which means that there is a predominance of blue lights, and – more to the point the blue light that you associate with your router or electronic equipment working.  Because all the other multi-coloured lights are non-LED, the tree looks as if it has been dip-dyed.  The top half is littered with bright blue lights, and the bottom has many lights, but none of the bright blue ones.  Still, we decided it added character, and so went with the ombre effect and called it a look.  Then it was time to add the baubles, pompoms etc.  About 3 hours later the tree looked decorated. Or burdened.  Either way, it looked pretty.  I love a busy tree and we have a busy tree.  Win.


It gets cold in winter…

The next day, it was time to decorate the rest of the house.  I unwrapped Christmassy candles, and tinsel, and more lights, and more ornaments and went around the house festooning everything with Christmas cheer.  Even the information lady got a look in.

Finally, on Sunday night, I closed all the boxes and put them away.    The spirit of Christmas is present, and it only takes about 15 minutes to switch on all the lights in the morning, and 10 minutes to switch them off again in the evening.  The time difference is to allow for the time it takes to get through the range of options for how you want your lights to work.  Gone are the days when lights were either on or off.  Now there are 8 functions you can have.  Most of them give me a headache, and honestly are so distracting that I cannot function when they do.  So we navigate the random system until the lights are on.  Not twinkling merrily, not fading slowly, not flashing maniacally, just bloody ON.

Bring on Christmas.  We are now officially ‘in the mood’.