Tag Archives: Christmas tree

Bauble Attrition

Caught in the act: one cat, attempting to stockpile Christmas tree baubles for personal, nefarious use. The war of bauble attrition has begun, and I do not expect to win.


Haphazard Holidays: Part 1

Hubby said he wanted an ugly tree this year, because he doesn’t like perfectly formed and coordinated ones. As it will be our very first Christmas together, we didn’t have many decorations anyway, so I thought I might be able to foil him by collecting matching baubles and tinsel in lovely silvers and reds (and goodness me is Walmart a haven of inexpensive glitter). You can’t get that random with only two colours to work with, I thought.

We also decided to borrow and adapt an idea from my aunt and uncle, who buy a tree decoration on every trip they take so that, when they put the tree up, they’re reminded of their happiest times. We thought it might be nice to extend this to all memorable occasions, so our first special decoration is a heart in which a photo can be placed, with the text “Our first Christmas together, 2010”. Nice and specific, that. I’ve never seen its like in England – perhaps we’re too stiff upper lipped for our own festive good.

Mum-in-law very kindly donated us a tree, which was promptly erected in the corner of the room and attacked by the cat. As with all trees, fake or otherwise, little bits of it like to fall off when you’re not looking; every so often I see a ball of fur trot by in pursuit of a twig.

So far, so good. And then Hubby brought out his box of sentimental decorations (which included the Tasmanian Devil in a police car) and an unnecessarily long string of lights in every colour imaginable, and bang went my colour scheme.

Not to worry, I thought to myself, rather gamely. If I’m quick about it, I’ll get some of this stuff up neatly before he can stick it all on one branch. What I forgot, unfortunately, is that I’m not the most presentable of decorators at the best of times and “haphazard” is ultimately my only doable design scheme.

And so, at the end of it, I think it’s safe to say Hubby got his wish. Unlike the dog, who (understandably) bloody hates Christmas.


If there’s one experience unlikely to be on offer in London town, it is the chopping down of a tree. Not just because we don’t have enough to go round (it’s an overcrowded city, Sherwood Forest probably wouldn’t have enough to go round), but also because I believe the authorities wise in their wish to avoid 12 million irritable commuters trotting about with axes on their shoulders.

An excursion to choose and chop down my own Christmas tree was, as you might therefore guess, a bit of a departure from the norm. My father-in-law took us into the Black Hills, trussed up appropriately in large coat and comfy boots (see previous weather warning re: blizzards). And with an axe. On my shoulder.

The Black Hills are beautiful at the best of times, but magical in the snow. My father-in-law hunts in this area and knows it like the back of his hand, so knew the perfect route for treespotting. And so off we drove, a permit to hack at the shrub of my choice clutched in my glove, peering through the window (past the arse of the dog), pointing at trees and screeching: “That one!”

Some time later, I pointed at a tree that wasn’t lopsided, stunted, taller than the permit allowed, suitable only for Charlie Brown or completely the wrong species, and was given the go ahead. Never have you seen a more inept display of lumberjacking: I flung that axe about with all the innate skill of a seahorse.

I’m not clear as to whether father-in-law told me it was time to swap to the saw because it was, or because he took pity on (what was left of) the tree. Or possibly on me: have you any idea how hard it is to chop down a tree? I have new respect for lumberjacks.

Still, eventually, down it came: one juniper, struck down in the prime of its life by my own fair hands. Cue proper lumberjack pose of victory: this is definitely more fun than buying a tree from a bloke at the side of the road.