Rule number one. You can never have enough tinsel. When it comes to Christmas trees, bare is bad.
I have a new tree this year. First time I can remember actually buying one.
The girls suggested I wade into a nearby pine forest, and cut one down. Strap it to the roof of the Honda. Show it off to the neighbours. Yes, they watch too many movies.
Instead, my new symbol of the festive season came in a box, from a busy department store. There were so many to pick from. Different heights, bases, and thickness. Who knew?
I can’t recall buying our last one. And I have no idea where mum and dad found theirs, all those years ago. Pretty sure it didn’t come in a box.
In fact, I have no memory of our Christmas tree as a kid. We had one, of course. I just can’t picture it. Maybe too focused on the goodies underneath.
Those who sell these trees are very clever. Next to the stacks of boxes, are decorations. Every single festive item you could imagine.
They assume, quite rightly, that those of us in need of a new tree, are likely to purchase stuff to cover it.
I started with the tinsel. Three bucks a strand. The more you buy the more you save. All the colours of the rainbow. I bought a few extra, just in case.
There were boxes of baubles. Bargains on every shelf. How many coloured balls does one need? Of course, men have no idea. So we buy lots.
Two dollars for little hanging Santas. Sparkling signs, that say WISH and JOY. Gold coins for each.
The girls and their mother sped past, with their bulging trolleys. They were in a Christmas frenzy of their own. The Teenager nodded approval at my purchases. Daughter Two pointed out a wonderful gold star, to sit on top. Sold.
I turned left, and found an entire section for the Christmas feast. Plates and mugs and tablecloths and hats and oven mitts and trays. All featuring Santa. I showed restraint, and passed on the oven mitts.
Those special items are now tucked away in a cupboard, waiting for the big day. But the tree is there for all to see.
The Teenager played Lead Hand in the assembly process. She’s extremely patient with such things. Daughter Two, struggling with a head cold from Canberra, gave advice from the sideline.
My instructions were clear. Everything I’d purchased had to find a place. The less order the better. This was the shotgun approach to tree decorating.
I’m happy to say that in the end, every member of the family had a hand in the process. The tree now lights up my room.
The girls have two Christmas trees this year. Both adorned with love. That’s the festive spirit.