Deck The Halls

It was time to put up the Christmas tree in our house this weekend, a time for family fun, laughter and jollity. The reality, though, is that here it’s been a more stress filled time than when I stripped naked,

covered myself in chocolate truffles, and ran through a weight watchers convention. Unlike that memorable occasion, as far as the tree goes this year I haven’t got it licked yet.

Here’s the problem. I’m fed up with the real, freshly cut, trees that demand watering each day and then, ungratefully, drop their needles everywhere so they attach themselves to your carpet, curtains, clothes and even feet. I’ve lost count of the number of times in past years that Debbie’s asked me to cut my toe nails only to find I have half a Norwegian Spruce sticking to my bedsheets.

So this year I made an executive decision. No more cheating the environment of oxygen by cutting down a tree that was once used as an emergency toilet on a ski slope in the Alps. No more getting ripped off by someone who sets up for two weeks in our local car park and then is gone when the branches droop like the shoulders of someone who misses out in the January sales. No more watering and sweeping, no more finding needles in the carpet for months after. No more squeezing the thing out of the front door come January only to find the branches pinging back and firing their missiles in my eye. 

This year I decided to get an artificial tree. After all, if God had wanted us to have real foliage in our house Robinson Crusoe would have hosted a makeover series, not written a diary.

But, my God, what a drawn out saga it turned out to be. The problem is that our hallway, where the tree stands, is massive with a high ceiling, and we usually get a ten foot high tree. I tried at least fourteen or fifteen web sites and found that all had sold out, apart from those that wanted over five hundred pounds in payment. Surprisingly they seemed full of unsold stock, despite their very generous offer of free postage. I don’t want a decoration that’s worth more than my house thank you.

Eventually I found a twelve foot high tree in B&Q, paid two hundred and fifty hard earned pounds, lugged it to the car and got it home. Excitedly I unpacked the boxes and started putting it together, taking about an hour to fluff out the branches. I was so proud and it looked magnificent - and then the boss returned home! Debbie decided with one look that it was too big and demanded it was taken down and returned. So I spent Sunday dismantling the scaffolding and packing away the bits of plastic, then trying to squeeze them all back in the boxes. Like all things at Christmas, it seemed to have put on a lot of weight.

And now we’re back to square one.

We have a ten foot high natural tree, bought from the usual dodgy geezer down the road, that demands water like a thirsty liquid fetishist in the desert, and we also have our usual free gift of a new carpet of pine needles all over the hallway. As is usual at Christmas, Debbie’s started asking me to cut my toe nails again, and I’ve booked my appointment with the optometrist for my eye check up in January when I’ll fight to get the dead wood out of our front door and in to the caring hands of the binmen.

Know what? It feels like a traditional Christmas. But next year, to save disappointment, I’m ordering a proper sized fake tree in July.