Teenage Son and Daughter are back home for the holidays and it is time for the traditional decorating of the Christmas Tree. This always follows a set format from which any deviation is strictly frowned upon. It normally happens on a Saturday a couple of weeks before Christmas, after an alcohol infused lunch. Husband snoozes infront of the fire while pretending to watch Rugby or football. The rest of us drag in the Christmas Tree which has spent all year waiting in a pot in the garden for this day to come around again. It is the fourth year it has been manhandled through the living room windows and it has grown a lot taller and is much balder than it was when we first got it, (unlike most of us who seem to shrink and become more hirsute).
There is then a heated discussion about which side of the tree should face into the room to hide the particularly bald branches and after much pushing and adjusting, it is deemed fit to be decorated. All members of the household (who are not gently snoring), dive into the enormous cardboard box which holds the decorations and pull out glass baubles, tinsel, Christmas lights and various haphazard decorations including a very rude Father Christmas bought at a street market (guaranteed to shock Granny) and the decorating begins. The baubles are hung first while the cats sit mesmerised, working out the quickest way to scale the tree and cause havoc. Then the tinsel is gently wound through the branches accompanied by the sound of falling pine needles.
At this point in the proceedings, Husband is usually woken and asked to climb to the top of the stepladder and drape the lights around the tree and wedge the Christmas Angel on the top branch. The Angel was made years ago by Teenage Daughter in nursery school out of a loo roll and a polystyrene ball with wisps of tinsel for hair. She has the permanently shocked expression of someone who has a large Christmas tree rudely shoved up their dress every Yuletide. This year, however, Husband was snoring so loudly that it was decided that Teenage Daughter should scale the ladder as she is the second tallest in the family and she was neither semi comatose nor full of Rioja. After much teetering and cries to Teenage Son to get off his phone and steady the ladder, she managed to grab the top branch of the tree and pull it towards her (the cats began to fidget, anticipating the opportunity to chase any baubles that might be dislodged) and ram the Angel unceremoniously onto the top of the tree. The lights were draped around the tree with more needles showering down around us and switched on. And the decoration was complete.
The cats are now attempting to put the finishing touches to the tree by playfully batting the ornaments and chasing each other up and down the trunk. It looks even balder and more haphazard than usual but I wouldn´t have it any other way.