I don’t suppose I’ll be the only person clambering up a rickety step ladder this weekend to rescue Christmas decorations from their 11-month hibernation in the loft.
Each December, I pass down box after box of accumulated festive tat, only for most of it to be returned, unwanted, a few hours later.
The Christmas tree will be purchased today or tomorrow and the decorating will take place that evening. Most years the children volunteer and begin the task, but it usually ends up with me, my wife, or the pair of us finishing the job – hanging baubles can quickly lose its allure once you’ve been pricked a few times by sharp pine needles.
Invariably, we start off with a colour scheme in mind, but this gradually dissolves into a free for all as it’s decided that various items made, or chosen, by the children can’t be left off – bells made from an egg box, cardboard stars, glittery ‘things’, plus one or two indeterminate objects made of clay which weigh down the branches so they almost touch the floor.
We’ve not always had the best of luck with Christmas trees. Our first Christmas as a married couple was spent at my wife’s parents. We travelled by train from Cornwall to London, complete with a kitten.
Unfortunately, our new pet thought my mother-in-law’s carefully decorated artificial tree was its own personal toy and spent Christmas eve and the big day itself clambering up and down the branches playing peek-a-boo and sending baubles flying everywhere (that’s when she wasn’t climbing up the curtains).
The weather was not the only thing frosty that Christmas and the tree was down and packed away by the end of Boxing Day morning.
You’d think that would have been a lesson - pets and Christmas trees don’t mix. But not for us! A couple of years later, the same kitten (but now a bit bigger and heavier) pulled over our tree and broke the base. This time it was us packing things away early.
Then there was the year we caught my sister-in-law’s Dalmatian plucking the last of the chocolate treats off the tree. Somehow it had managed to scoff the lot, while still managing to leave the foil wrappers on the branches. Naughty, greedy, but dangerous too. Luckily she didn’t suffer any ill-effects (other than a real ticking off!).
Any volunteers to look after a cat and dog for a couple of weeks?