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.
Tag Archives: Christmas
Apparently, America has set an official date for the advent of the Christmas season and made sure to inform all relevant parties, including the weather. I woke up this morning to find my dear husband trundling back and forth carrying large boxes and trailing tinsel, while snowflakes flurried from his beard and festive songs blared from the television. Apparently, it is now Yule.
In England, we’re not really sure when Christmas begins. If you ask the supermarkets, they’ll tell you it’s somewhere around May, when there’s empty space on the shelves where the Easter eggs used to be. If you ask the tellybox advertisers, it’s approximately September, when the first twig of holly sneaks into an ad break. If you ask my family, it’s a vague date in mid-December when the panic shopping begins and someone remembers the tree. If you ask me, it’s about December 19, when I suddenly discover I have once again missed the last day of post and won’t be sending any cards. Again.
Consequently, I’ve always found it quite a challenge to get into the Christmas spirit. There’s a tipping point between ‘far too early’ and ‘too late to do things properly’, a single moment when it feels right to have festive feelings. The rest of the time, I’m not entirely sure if it’s Christmas or not – although I do suffer a vague knot of worry throughout December regarding wrapping paper.
In America, on the other hand, Christmas begins as Thanksgiving ends, making the latter holiday a handy indicator for the former. As soon as you’re done shovelling turkey into your mouth, it’s time to send someone out to the garage to fetch the tree and start checking Amazon for gift-giving bargains, while the snow begins to dutifully fall.
This is a regimen I wholeheartedly approve of: I can now schedule my season, confident in the knowledge I haven’t got it wrong. Although I will inevitably still fail to send out Christmas cards in time.
It also gives the cat a full month to steal all the baubles, a challenge she accepted less than a minute after the tree was finished.
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.