There are 16 sleeps until Christmas and finally I have found the Christmas feeling, and all it took was a change in the weather. We are on our second consecutive day of clear blue skies, hot sunny days and the birds are singing and all is right will the world. Now we have captured the Christmas spirit, all we need to do is keep it. We will have to act quickly to get everything done, as we really don’t know how long this gorgeous weather will last.
Our first act of grabbing a slice of Christmas was to get a tree. We went of one of the numerous corner stands that have popped up everywhere and handed over our money, which seems significantly more than in years gone by. But not only has the price changed, but the trees themselves have changed – They come from Christmas tree farms and they are much shorter and more plump, fuller and perfect (except the one with cow poop on it – which I considered as an option so I could transfer the poop to the compost!) Although this didn’t stop me choosing three, one of which made it to the roof of the car -and then changing my mind before I settled on a less than perfect one in an attempt to recapture my childhood.
When I was a child the local Lions club would organise cattle trucks filled with forestry trimmings and bring them down from the hills to a local park on two weekends in December. So everyone was there, trying to pick through the best branches for one that looked most like a tree. If you were lucky you even managed to get a small tree. The smell of the pine was and still is amazing. (We have pinus radiata here and the only alternative is plastic).
Mum and Dad would spend ages picking through the trees, arguing – “no that’s too fat, too curved, too short, too tall, has no branches….” Then the lucky tree would get taken home, only to discover that it was indeed too tall and Dad would have to cut a considerable chunk off the bottom, and then it would be positioned in prime position in the living room, held upright with a load of string and drawing pins in the wall. Then in would be decorated with great excitement and over time presents would appear within its open branches and Mum would end up overcome with hayfever. Such a grand memory.
Our less than perfect, perfect tree just isn’t the same as those trees of old, but it holds our memories and so that makes it special in its own little way. Each year we buy or make one new ornament and so decorating the tree becomes a trip down memory lane, although I’d like to say because the trees seem smaller, but we have so many ornaments there is hardly room for the tinsel.
After collecting the tree and wedging in a bucket in the corner of the living room, we headed back into town for the local Christmas parade. Gosh I’m such a big kid – with the first float I got an excited feeling in my tummy. There was the traditional bagpipe band, police on horseback, the fire brigade, a brass band and Santa. But what makes it special is the whole community comes together to make floats to represent their groups – school, commercial and social and they complete for a chance to win best in parade, where they receive kudos and a cup. The theme this year was a story book theme, and I think the Lions should really have received a prize for their interpretation of the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe!
Our school is a very small country school and so it is a huge effort to make ourselves stand out over the larger schools, but this year, with almost every student on the float, we pulled off an amazing representation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that we won first prize for Schools! Such a proud moment!
So we came home and celebrated with one of those amazing summer BBQs where we sat outside all evening as the kids ran through the garden well into the night and played underneath a clear sky heavy with stars, well beyond the time that any of them would normally be in bed.
All is restored – Christmas and summer are back on track!
Come again soon – normal gardening chit chat will resume shortly.
Sarah the Gardener : o )