My friend’s Christmas tree is the tree of trees. It’s absolutely picture perfect. It matches. It has a theme. It is divine. My tree, however, does not follow any of the standard rules for tree decoration. My tree is a bit of an equal opportunity tree.
I told my tree-perfect friend to come and have a look. She said, deadpan, “I’ve seen your tree“. Oh-kay then. Each to their own.
Well none of you have seen my tree and, since I haven’t put it up yet, I can’t show it to you in all it’s glory. However, if you follow these simple steps your tree will be the spitting image of mine. Adopting a minimal care attitude involves much less angst and heartache than striving for catalog perfection.
Real tree or artificial? Several years ago during The Great Drought we opted for artificial. It’s bad enough when the needles fall off after two weeks, even worse when they fall off before you buy it.
Under no circumstances opt for the “pine tree in a can” scent. It’s worse than toilet freshener and we used the rest of it up on the cat’s litter box. The cat then refused to use the box and we spent a week on a “treasure hunt” you don’t want to know about.
Colour theme. You can have any theme you like. We find you can’t go wrong with multicoloured. This is also known as “eclectic” by those in the know.
Ornaments. Of course you can buy every manner of matching ornament and decorate with up-to-date modern style and flair.
We choose to keep every ornament ever made by the children and hang them up year after year. Not so much because we adore what the children made, but because they are in the box. And everything in the box goes on the tree. It’s a tradition and traditions are what Christmas is made of.
Isn’t our angel beautiful? Look how happy she is to see you, and see you she can see you boys and girls because she’s just a little bit possessed. Don’t be afraid, unless of course you are naughty, in which case she will fly into your room at night and… well, you don’t need to know the rest.
One year we did buy new plastic balls for the tree because I had some faintly ludicrous idea I’d do a pretty tree and not one that looked like a sparkly rubbish tip. Turns out they looked plastic but were in fact glass. Gave the cat a bit of a shock when he found out.
Lights—how many do I need? You need four thousand. That is my absolute minimum. Our decorations may be a bit on the dodgy side but when those lights click on every evening you can’t see the decorations at all. In fact if it catches you unawares you can’t see anything for a good 15 minutes.
As a final touch you can (after too many margaritas or a mixup in your meds) opt to hang a couple of birds from the roof near the tree and have them hold decorations in their beaks… maybe a bauble, maybe a string of beads. This is very realistic and makes it look like the birds have decorated your tree for you. Under no circumstances use real birds. We are after Disney reality here.
Note: Too many birds may invoke an Alfred Hitchcock reality. Also to be avoided.
If you aren’t going for the birds plummeting in from above the least you can do is run a train around the bottom of the tree. Santa will love you for it. There’s nothing like stepping on a toy train in the middle of the night as you dispense the gifts under the tree.
So now you know how to make a tree every bit as beautiful as mine. Off you go to the garage or the attic to dig the dusty old Christmas bag out of the heap of junk it is under. You know there will be a tarantula hiding in there somewhere. Just when you think “Phew there’s none”, it will leap out at you like a furry ninja. My last tip is to take a can of mace and a taser. Good luck.
Cat and dog ornaments from the Flickr Stream of Patti Haskins
The other images are mine. I’m not even embarrassed to say it. Yep, that’s pretty much what it looks like, year in year out. And if you try hard, or rather not so hard,
yours will too.