Dogwood by Jim Dunbar (www.jimdunbar.co.uk)
Oh the responsibility of decorating the Christmas tree. It’s like the smell of coffee – promises so much but doesn’t quite deliver when the aromatic beans turn into a bitter beverage.
Anyone passing my living room window when my three daughters were growing up would have seen a living Christmas card as the little cherubs decorated a real tree with the sound of carols and the scent of cloves in the background.
The truth is that what should have been a family bonding session usually turned into a seasonal punch up. I recall one Christmas when my angelic looking five-year-old decked her wee sister over a spat about who was putting the fairy on top.
It didn’t help that the tree was always off balance and had to be tethered to a radiator. Then there was the year that I found a mummified bluetit in the garage and decided it was too perfect to be discarded, sprinkled it with glitter and stuck on the tree.
At least we had proper fairy lights. As a child in the mid-Fifties, I recall my mother decorating the tree Victorian style with real candles burning from metal clips. We were in a top floor flat for goodness sake.
My advice is to put aside any great expectations that decorating the tree is going to be like scene from Kristie’s Homemade Christmas with every bauble hand-blown. It doesn’t even matter if your tree ends up like Miss Havisham because your children were a bit heavy on the tinsel and angel hair.
Accept a little chaos and all will be calm and bright when the fairy dust settles.