A couple of days ago, I decided that my lodger, my boyfriend and myself would spend an evening decorating our Christmas tree. I had a vague scene playing in my head with the three of us sipping Gluhwein/Baileys, nibbling on mince pies with festive music playing softly in the background and regaling heart warming & amusing Christmas related stories from our pasts whilst placing the decorations on the tree in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Well, the Christmas music was located on my iPod and the Baileys & mince pies were duly bought so all that remained was to get the Christmas tree. My living room's not very big so I needed a Christmas tree that could sit on the table and allow us to use the table at the same time. A tree that was no more than 2 foot high. Last year we managed to get one without any problem.
We started off at the smaller branch of Sainsburys near the flat - only big trees. Waitrose - again the trees were too big. Lidl - nothing. We looked in the markets/florists/street sellers nearby - all their trees were enormous.
I was still confident at this point that we'd find one pretty quickly. It's about a mile's walk to the next tube station with lots of shops along the way and I was positive that we'd find one somewhere along that road. Rapidly it became clear that we weren't to have any luck and I started to panic silently. My lodger was relying to us to find a tree to decorate! Of course she wouldn't have minded at all if we'd gone home and told her we'd have to do it another day because we couldn't find a tree but I'd succumbed to the traditional pressure to Have a Perfect Christmas.
Mentally I started to consider alternatives.
A plastic palm tree! Why not, Jesus was from the Middle East after all so it'd be more ya' know, authentic! I'm sure my Christmas decorations would look fine on it.
A vaguely Islamic looking sculpture! Yay for multiculturism!
A yucca plant! Hey, I'm an alternative kinda gal!
Buy a huge Christmas tree, re-arrange the living room and store the furniture in the bedroom! Sounds fine! Gotta have Christmas spirit!
Tape a Magic Tree air freshener to a stick! At least the living room'd smell nice!
By the time we reached the big Sainsburys near the next tube station, I was ready to try anything. They were selling fir branches & my boyfriend suggested taping two branches together to create a kind of cloven hooved, two trunk tree, then putting it in a flower pot with loads of soil. I wasn't quite desperate enough yet to have a dual trunk tree but I certainly put it on the short list. Then I found a little 6 inch high tree. It was the sort of thing that office workers would put on their computers but frankly, as far as I was concerned it was The Answer. Slightly short but it was a Christmas tree nonetheless! Luckily my boyfriend convinced me that my 2 inch high Christmas angel would just crush it. He was right of course.
But we still had no tree.
We started off back home and I must admit I was staring wild eyed down all the side streets hoping to see a hitherto undiscovered market stall specialising in small Christmas trees.
You've guessed it. There was nothing. What was it about south London and their enormous living rooms with gigantic Christmas trees?
We were nearly home when I spotted a newsagents selling small plastic Christmas trees and I nearly cried with relief. So I bought myself a slightly rusted tree-like structure covered in green plastic 'leaves'. Christmas was saved!
Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, here it is... our bent, rusty, plastic Christmas tree! It's not perfect but it's ours and we had a great time decorating it in spite of everything.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't stress too much over the details. Just relax and enjoy the time with your loved ones. That's far more important than perfection.
Happy Christmas everyone! xxx