I spent the day taking my decorations down and thinking about them. As I got to the Christmas tree, still perfect and beautiful as the day I put it up, I realised I was very nearly yanking off the baubles, disregarding their precious each-in-its-own-box mouth-blown glass quality. Not long ago, a friend of mine remarked that my tree looked as good as one of those in John Lewis.
I don’t exactly regard John Lewis as the height of sophistication, at Christmas or at any other time, but I understood she meant it as a compliment and so I thanked her. But the truth is, a department store-like Christmas tree, all visually appealing in its colour-coordinated perfection, is a soulless tree. I don’t know about you but when I trail the city before the big day, I never wish to take home the tallest tree, the one ablaze with white lights in the main square, appealing as it is; oh no, it’s always the one pushed right in front of the bay window and decorated with all sorts of mismatched things and lit up with bulbs big and small and in all colours that catches my eye.
Perhaps this is down to a subconscious reaction to magazine spreads (you know the sort, Period Living, Ideal Home, the mid-market stuff) where everything, including people, look like computer-generated cardboard cut-outs moved around in the pic until everything looks just damn so. Thus it was that today I resolved not to go the clean way next December, but the colourful, mismatched one, like the trees I used to make as a child and which included glass decorations from the 1950s, clay ones from school, resin ones from The Disney Store and any odd bits of ribbon that found themselves in the house. And maybe next time I will also bake some treats to go on the branches, though I will have to dog-proof them in some way.
I won’t need to purchase a truckload of new things either. See these?
They come out to play every year, as I place them in vases and marble containers around the house. Somehow, I’ve already managed to collect more than enough for another tree (and in fact, three years ago, I had two) which, really, already speaks for itself.