December 12, 2011

the tree is up, despite hitches!

We have started our Christmas! Richard gets the tree each year, it is his thing. He has been buying them from the same seller at our local town market for about 10 years and they know each other by name now, exchanging an annual chinwag in December, with frosty breath and much stamping of feet and jolly banter. The youngest still waits by our front door for him to return, as the others did when they were younger, and shouts over his shoulder to us, "he's here, he's coming, he's got the TREE!!"

It was a whopper this year, standing in our sitting room by the garden door, all bushy and fresh and wafting that delicious pine-y smell around. That smell is Christmas for me.

Anyway, the yearly decorating of our Christmas tree is usually accompanied by some excitements getting it to stand in a bucket properly and of course the electrical uncertainties that are part of the tradition. I usually drown out any unfortunate discoveries of broken lights/baubles etc with a cd of the King's College choir singing their hearts out, copious mince pies and a little nip of something strongish for the grownups. It is such a lovely time, fire lit, dark outside and is everything you want to be doing and celebrating this time of year. Except this year was notable for its technical hitches. Our eldest was desperate to have the football on which slightly totally threw the 'ambiance.' Since I am probably the only one who really enjoys a blast of festive choral singing I acquiesced. And then I forgot a huge delivery of groceries was due to turn up, which it did bang in the middle of tree-deccing. As I slammed the fridge door shut, I whacked the oven on for a roast later in the evening, forgetting I had earlier sprayed the entire thing with that vile oven cleaning foam which is not supposed to get hot. Cue, 20 minutes later the most acrid and appalling smell emanating from the kitchen, followed by semi-evacuation of vicinity while every window was opened and leaking brown toxic oven-waste cleared from oven and the floor. Honestly, you couldn't make it up if you tried. Not quite the magic moment I was looking for! But we soldiered on, laughed, rolled our eyes and still oohed and arhhed when the fairy lights were switched on! It always seems special that moment, the light in the darkness, the smell of pine, the symbolism. As a kid I always used to squint my eyes at it, so the lights would starburst, secretly I still do, am I the only one? It sort of looks like this.

We have a mixture of decorations, with a special new one each year. This year I bought a hand blown glass bauble from a young woman who is just starting out making a living from her art. I love the swirls and swooshes of blue.

Some decs are rather swanky,

many were made by the kids, when their sweet, pudgy little fingers loved to play with glitter and glue. They are beyond their use-by date really, but they will never be thrown out.

Of course I can't resist bringing in a bit of nature, some pine cones and silver sprayed alliums bringing more of the outdoors in.

And on the front door a berry wreath, faux but I love its simplicity.

So, it is beginning to look like Christmas around here, and for more Christmas-y flowers and trees, hop along to Jane's lovely gaff.  xxx


  1. So do you think this will become 'The Christmas when Mum nuked the oven?'. We have various 'The Christmas whens ...', many too embarrassing to detail. I tell my children that such aides memoire are essential to a successful family Christmas. I'm not sure they're convinced mind you ;D

  2. nothing like a bit of a drama to add to the Christmas memories xox lovely tree!

  3. Ha! Welcome to my world! Putting up the tree is my fave part of Christmas but I ALWAYS get a bit flustered and irritable doing it. Then I try to over-compensate with a bit of carol warbling but I know that my pink cheeks and overly bright eyes give me away. 'Christmas madness', Andrew calls it!

    Sounds like you still had a lovely day; the tree is a beaut and I love your berry wreath.

    Nicki xx

    PS beyond happy with the bracelets and have decided to keep the sparkly one for myself (rude not to). Love the boxes too; they're so chic! So, in short, a happy customer.

  4. I knew you would make it a beautiful holiday, what I didn't expect was the hair raising, cliff hanging adventure.

    Better your house than mine, may I say. You can link to this post in years to come and all your new readers will laugh just as i did.

    Merry, Merry my lovely friend.

    xo Jane

  5. Of course it will be the "Year Mom Nuked the Oven" and will go high on the list of funny family stories! They won't remember the lovely wreath, but they will remember the oven.

    Your tree is lovely - no surprise there! xo

  6. Yikes your oven caper sounds awful.

    Your tree and wreath look very festive and hope that you managed to cook that roast after you aired out your home.

    I think if it were me I'd have gone out for comfort food!

  7. Oh Belinda - Yes I too squint to look at the tree!!! I agree with the pine smell - it's like mown grass in Summer, a mark of the season. This will be our second year without tree :-( Christmas is the only time I really miss being in the UK. I pulled out the box of decorations last weekend - just so I could peek at the homemade bits and bobs made by the boys. Then I put them away carefully, respectful of the treasure they are.

    I hope your Christmas is without further incident - although really this is where the best memories come from - but you knew that!!!!

    Have the most wonderful celebration with your family and a New Year filled with adventure


  8. So pleased to find your blog Belinda, via Jane's fabulous 'gaff' as you call it, and what a brilliant introduction with this story. You would definitely have needed a little of that something stronger after the involuntary oven cleaning incident! There is nothing quite like that Christmas tree smell. It is the fragrance of Christmas, and equally, it is the handmade kids decorations that help to make it. x

  9. I love the silver sprayed alums I'm off to find the dried ones I know are in the garage and I think the studio has a can of silver spray!!! My house will look festive after all!!!!

  10. I love that pine Christmas smell soooo much. In fact, this year is the first year that we've upgraded to a slightly posher tree that doesn't smell quite so nice. I just couldn't bare all those pine needles on the floor from the super-smelly tree.

    I LOVE your story of the oven!! But I truly bet you'll look back on this year as a really lovely family time.


  11. Honestly - what is going on this year? There are critters at work......I swear.

    Your tree does look lovely though and 'yes' I love that tree smell in the house too. Totally Christmas.

    Nina xxx

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