God the price of Christmas trees! Un–fircone–believable!
We bought our Christmas tree at the weekend, a six-footer, a traditional Norway spruce, a nice bushy one. Twenty-two pounds and fifty pence seems a lot to spend, but considering that a Nordman fir (which I insist on calling
Every year I talk about buying artificial; a really good one, none of these supermarket nine ninety-nine jobbies. I’ve seen some constructed (as they advertise them) trees at our local garden centre that are so real that they make the real trees look like plastic, but then at a hundred quid plus a time so they should. Mind you if I put my sensible head on an artificial tree would have paid for itself within four years.
Thing is, no matter how it looks it would still be artificial, and there’s the storage to consider. No pine needles to vacuum up though; but nothing to burn on the fire after Christmas is over, and of course no beautiful, sharp pine smell to fill the room. I love the smell of Christmas – but that’s for another post.
We always had a real tree when I was a kid. Sometimes it wasn’t very big, bought from the greengrocer on
“Don’t break that one. I’ve had it for years.” She’d warn. And then one day someone did, me probably - the pink, blue, and cream of the carefully painted sphere of glass in shatters on the carpet. I think she cried, my dad shouted. It was a special thing I guess.
Every year my mum would tell me about the pine branch my dad had cut for her and how she had decorated it lovingly with paper wrapped matchboxes and cotton reels. When they were first married they lived in a caravan and had no money, it was the best they could do, and it was freezing in that caravan. But they still had a tree. It’s the most romantic story I have ever heard, trying to keep warm in a caravan with a Christmas branch. Hard to believe that it happened now. Perhaps her special ball had something to do with that time, I don’t know.
Later, when I’d left home and flown, the first Christmas tree of my ‘adult’ life was bought from Ironbridge market one cold, frosty, Saturday morning for three quid. We spent ages choosing it, Titiania and me. It needed to be small enough to fit in the back of her Fiat 500. We drove it with us that first (and as it turned out our last) college Christmas back to Oxfordshire fully decorated to spend the holidays at home. What a drive that was, the tree, the ice, the getting lost - then home for Christmas, us pair, for the first and last time.
Still later I bought an artificial tree in a
The first Christmas tree we bought in
I dream of going out into the wilds and finding my own tree. I don’t mean buying one from a forest, choosing it and then having it cut down by some forestry lad with a chainsaw. I mean going out into the wilds with my own saw and cutting it myself.
Stealing it if you will.
In my imagined tree stealing expedition I walk into a moonlit glade surrounded by tall pines and there in the very centre, lit by moonlight, is my tree all glistening with frost and sparkling with winter magic. On the top of my tree, where we would place our special star once I’d dragged it home, sits a robin singing his heart out in the moonlight – and then it begins to snow.
Every year I plan to make this dream come true, but instead I buy a tree; complaining about the price, and bring it home to stand in our green tree-holder pot, filling it with a gallon of water so that the tree will last and not drop too early. Each year is different and I like a different tree each year, a real one, those artificial years didn't quite feel right. I like to have a small part of nature in the house - some greenery from the forest, the spirit of Christmas maybe inside our Christmas tree.
So, we have our tree bought and ready for this Christmas. All that remains is to dress it with our own special baubles, bows, and birds, as we do each year… and that’s yet another post I think.