Christmas is coming by Angela Caldin

It’s the second of December as I write and I’m thinking about putting up my Christmas tree this weekend. Nothing unusual in that you might think since decorated trees have been appearing and Jingle Bells has been playing in the shops since about the end of October. But I have to admit that it’s unusual for me because for many years I was a Christmas curmudgeon.

Everyone else in our street would have their tree twinkling in their front window from early December, but I would make my family wait until two or three days before the actual day before purchasing a modest tree. They would look with envy at our neighbour’s which reached up to the ceiling, luxuriantly adorned with stylishly glittering baubles.

Then as the tree began to wilt and others were boldly dispensing with theirs, I would insist that we kept the tree until Epiphany on 6 January regardless of its bare branches and the carpet of needles on the floor. Our decorations were similarly meagre: I remember my husband complained one year that all our adornments were made out of toilet rolls and could we please have some shop bought matching baubles.

It was the same story with the children’s stockings. I was determined that they shouldn’t have their stockings filled with junky toys and useless frippery, so I used to wrap up useful things like selotape, scissors, erasers and rulers.

When I think now about their disappointment and frustration, I am truly sorry and I want to apologise to them through this blog most sincerely. The cruel custom derived from an obsession with a narrow idea of education which didn’t see the point of having fun and doing things to make life cheerful and colourful.

But I’m a reformed character these days and tomorrow I’ll be putting up our tree and lovingly adorning it with gold and silver sparkling baubles. I’ll probably keep it up till 6 January but that doesn’t matter because I have to admit it’s artificial. Even though it’s a bit late in life, I’ve learnt my lesson and I’m looking forward to a holly, jolly Christmas with loads of sparkle and silliness.

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