Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Christmas Story: The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

By Danielle Chinnon

IT IS that time of year, again, when I come out of hibernation, so to speak. Each one seems to come round more quickly than the last. I’m sure that only months ago I was manhandled out of my box. And that’s another thing. Even though I’m the centre of attention, you’d think they’d treat me with a little bit of respect, I mean, I am one of the family. But no, they plonk my base on the floor, and then shove my parts together. How uncivilized!

And while they’re giggling about it, I have to suffer in silence. It’s been like this now for; let’s see, the last five years? “Tom, don’t wave it about like that, it’s not a sword!” “Amy, hang on to the base so I can ease it in.” Once I’m upright, I don’t mind the rest: having my fir arms stretched and spread evenly. It’s quite therapeutic actually. Ah, now, let’s see, oh good same position as last year: great view out of the living room window? Check. Mantel piece to my left? Check. I see the settee is facing me, I can’t see the TV, though. Ah, there it is, they have a new one, screwed to the wall above the mantelpiece. I do recall Dad opening a large flat box last year. That’s must have been it. He was pleased. “It’s a beautiful green, isn’t it, Tom” “Yes, just like the real one we saw when Mum and Dad took us skiing” “Come on then, let’s put the decorations on and give them a big surprise when they come back inside.” And so, I stand with dignity, branches outstretched while Tom and Amy, er… dress me, shall we say. I take the opportunity to examine the rest of the room.

I say, it all looks very jolly from where I’m standing: I love the shiny, coloured balloons hanging from the ceiling and the crisscrossing rainbow paper chains. The children must have had such fun making those. Mum and Dad are outside putting up the outdoor lights. Along with all the other houses that I can see from here, it makes for a great show: static but cool blue icicles; shimmering star curtains; flashing bulbs. Which one shall we put on first, Amy? The red one, the gold one, the blue, or the silver?” “Mmm… let’s start with the gold and work our way down.” Ah, I love the feel of that thick, long tinsel hanging on my branches; I don’t feel so bare then. Now where was I? Ah yes: what artistic genius have they created with their abundance of Christmas cards, this year? Wow! I would never have thought to use them to create a scene… Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem; the shepherds kneeling and looking on in wonder at the manger; even the three Kings can be seen following a big star. Very clever! I like the way that the rest have been used to decorate the staircase.

Oh, I can hear the front door. “Tom! Amy! We’re back!” “Mum, Dad! We’re in here! We’ve got a surprise for you! Come and look!” “Oh, Mark look at the tree. You two have been busy, haven’t you? Well done!” “Daddy can you do the lights, please?” Oh, I’m getting dizzy now, and I’m not even the one going round and round. The lights really are a fine finishing touch. I positively glow when they’re switched on. I don’t even mind when they flash. Makes me want to dance and wave my arms about. My sense of smell is non-existent but Mum’s constant inhaling, each time she passes through the room tells me that the scent of this year’s Christmas candle is divine. I can just make out the wording from here: Yan-kee Candle… orange, apple and cin-na-mon. An interesting combination, I’m sure. “Darling, can you come and help me do the windows, please.” “Coming. We’ll do the whole lot, use all the templates”

I know it sounds silly, but I’m so glad we decided on Georgian style windows. The panes really frame each design so well.” She’s absolutely right! I have my own picture gallery. Mum has done a good job – she is the artistic one after all: ‘Merry Christmas sprayed in an arch at the top, giant snowflakes here and there, a couple of Christmas trees, angels and santas. Hello, what’s this? The people across the road are setting up a huge fake snowman in their garden; they’ve just about managed to squeeze it in with the nodding reindeer pulling the hand-waving Father Christmas and his sleigh. People are stopping to watch the display. They’re smiling; the little children are even waving back at him. How lovely! “Come into the kitchen kids, tea’s ready.” “Coming Dad!” Only I know who is getting what for Christmas. Why? Because, each family member waits until the others are out of the way before they rush to grab the shiny wrapping paper, colourful ribbons, gaudy bows, then run around desperately opening drawers in the hunt for cellotape and scissors. They then wrap their presents carefully, well, at least Mum does with her neat packages; Dad makes a heroic attempt, then, can’t remember which is the right way up. Then, places his gifts in strategic positions around my base.

Amy and Tom are so messy: paper, tags and bows everywhere and, glue and glitter? Is that really necessary? Oh gosh, now they’re shoving the presents through my branches. Mind my baubles! “Kids, make sure you tidy up your mess, we’re having mince pies and hot chocolate in the living room, instead!” “OK Dad!” Now they’re jostling for space on the settee. I wonder what they’re going to watch? “Sweetheart, turn on the Christmas tree lights, please” Ooh I feel all aglow. What a lovely picture they make! But no TV? Oh they’re just gazing at… me. “The tree looks wonderful. It’s perfect kids!” And a Merry Christmas to you too!

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