The tree is up in the House of Norrington!
It is an event I absolutely treasure, and get ridiculously sentimental about, but every year we are faced with the same dilemma. The living room is triple height and could, in theory take a 9 foot tree, (and that is in a sensible position, the kids are all for moving out the sofas and having the tree in the centre of the room which could go to about 20 ft - eek!). We have on several years gone for the 9 footer, but it is a major deal. It gets chosen, as annual tradition dictates, at the local town Saturday market from a family that sell them there every year. It gets delivered later the same afternoon, by which time the decorations have been retrieved from the attic, the Christmas carol cd has gone on and a celebratory ginger wine poured for the grownups.
So far so festive and jolly, but that is the easy bit. Richard then spends about an hour outside in the freezing cold, often lashing rain, denuding the tree of its lowest branches and whittling down the hefty trunk which we have realised does not fit in the stand. And he is not, umm, a natural lumberjack. Numb hands, red nose, a couple of minor lacerations later, he arrives in the house, triumphant but with the set jaw that is the tension give-away with my beloved!!
Then, swiping furniture and dropping needles, the tree makes the lumbering journey across the living room, ("watch the lamp!" etc), and into its stand. The whole 'getting it straight in the stand' is a good 15 minute team effort involving poked eyes, squealing children and increasingly terse dad. Only it still leans. Crank up the cd and pour another gingerwine. Cue more heaving and swaying and the the lingering possiblity of a major crash/crushed limb plus an unseasonal swallowed expletive or two. I know you can imagine the scene. Still deemed a health risk so out comes ladder and steel wires. I am not making this up. Another half an hour later a spagetti-junction of wires attached to beams holds the tree in place and, oh joy, the decorating can begin. Except the kids have long since wandered off and it is possible that mum is getting a just a tiny bit tiddley on the ginger wine as the cd hits its third loop of fa la blinking laaas.
So you see, a cute 4 footer seems so beautiful to us! Comes from the same sellers, but still with roots in a pot so no stand stand-off, far less needle drop and can be replanted outside later. Win-winnity-win all round, (except for the tree sellers who get very cross with us for wimping out of the giant tree purchase)! Up it goes on the sideboard, easy as you like, cd playing etc, everyone happy and cheery and ignoring the 16 year old who says he prefers the big tree. This year we went for mainly blues, whites and silvers, but we rotate our collection, only buying or making a couple of tree decorations each year (this time it was the glittery pine-cones left over from the wreath-making). And every year the magic moment comes, again dictated by the traditions of the House of Norrington, when all lights are turned off and after a noisy count-down, the tree-lights are switched on. Genuinely, a rather lovely moment. I always take a peak at the kids' faces.
We have put up a few other decorations, but I don't go completely mad - just a few things we love or have collected from outside. Christmas cards go up on our dining room bookcase, the wreath has made it to the front door with another on the inside of the garden door,
and a last one on a windowsill.
Our most treasured Christmas item is a tiny fold-out book, made for us by hand by my lovely sister. She designed and made the whole thing, and I really think it is a work of art. It reminds us of aspects of the Christmas story with each letter of the alphabet. Amazing and will be a little family heirloom,
There are white pin lights up at some windows, and foraged loveliness, hogweed seedheads that I sprayed silver,
and, in little vintage glass vases, other seedheads that I sprayed with silver glitter, (love spray glitter but the photos don't pick up on the effect unfortunately, its not quite as subtle as it looks!). It is not really overtly Christmas-y, but seasonal in an understated sort of way that I love,
So if it all looks a little understated and plain for your tastes, fear not - the kids are off school next week and that is when the home-made technicolor paperchains and baubles get made! Bring it on!
***Heaps of Christmas decorating inspiration at Southern in my Heart on Friday***