Is it me or does Christmas start earlier each year? Is it just me that’s getting annoyed by this? Probably not, but what can we do about it? The earliest I’ve seen Christmas stuff this year was during the summer at a superb English Heritage pile near Hexham – they were setting out their Christmas cards by popular demand! People actually spend their summer picking up bits and pieces they’re going to need at Christmas! Why can’t they do what normal people do and get them in the January sales, stick them in a box and forget about them for 11 months?
Anyway. Now that we’re well into December I feel I can allow myself to get a little festive. What with one thing and another, our Christmas tree went up a whole week earlier than last year, giving me a whole extra week to pick up dropped needles, keep the kids from trashing it and stop the cats from pretending they’re ornaments. Normally, it’d be this weekend coming, less than a fortnight to go, before the tree went in but I’m glad we got it early this year, the garden centre was starting to get a bit low on stock!
Have to admit I do love having a real tree, there’s something powerful about the smell that triggers all sorts of memories – the enormous tree we used to have at mum and dad’s when we were growing up, the one you needed ladders and climbing gear to decorate – and don’t forget to put the star on top before standing it up otherwise it ain’t getting one. Just smelling the pine (and the tinsel, the baubles, etc) makes me feel warmer, like I’ve got a roaring log fire to settle down beside. It makes me think of old movies on TV, classics that everyone gathered round to watch. Makes me think of the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, the only issue I buy, and going through it with a marker pen to circle all the things I’ll be watching – in my imagination!
So. For me, the proper start of Christmas is when the tree goes in. And here it goes: