OUR tree is up. Each year I give the children a decoration that, in theory, they’ll take with them when they leave home, hang on their tree...

OUR tree is up. Each year I give the children a decoration that, in theory, they’ll take with them when they leave home, hang on their tree and carry the tradition on. The thing is, of the three we have raised to adulthood, only one has left home and the eldest of the remaining two has taken it upon herself to dictate how the tree should be decorated. She pretty much ditched, or bitched, about the old decorations – favouring a shopping mall-style themed tree. Some of the old decorations have appeared on the tree at others insistence, but it’s left me feeling a bit, well weird.

On one hand I feel the tree my partner and I have dragged out year after year, put up and put down and slaved to put gifts under should carry the old decorations. Each decoration has a story – even the boxes that housed the decorations have stories. One box is recycled from the kettle I bought my partner when we were poor, poor, poor and struggling to exist as a new couple with all these broken hearts and a broken family. A kettle, for a cuppa, was where we put pennies that probably should have been spent on a bill, or food.

On the other hand, the children bring their respective boyfriends and girlfriend to the tree decorating and even though they will all eventually have trees of their own, and one already does, this family ritual is clearly important to them. So that’s good. Right?

Hmmm, I’ll have to muse on this some more. Maybe it was the effort my partner and I put into the tree-dressing extravaganza early on Saturday while the children – 15, 18 and 20 – slept. Hmmm. They did say thank you. (But that was after our eldest said thanks, offered to help and took a turn in the kitchen, and after their clearly more polite partners said thank you. Does it count if you’re shamed into it?) Hmmm.

PS: The painted soldiers were this year’s decoration. One for each of our mob and their plus-ones.

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  1. for a few years there I wanted a themed tree. It was more "vogue", but now I have been reading about advent and festivals and family celebrations, I realize its about bringing out the same decorations from the year before and adding new to them. I am now a lot more soulful about my tree, and it is a messy jumble of homemade and mismatched with memory. Ahhhh so much MORE than something Vogue would want to come photograph. I love love love those soldiers!

  2. I love that each one of your decorations have a story behind it...makes it all the more meaningful, doesn't it?

  3. You are so LUCKY that your kids are well past the age of wrecking the tree!! We put ours up on Sunday and the 2 littler ones have stripped it bare over and over and are having a ball chucking the decorations at each other and all over the room, every time I go off to do dishes or washing I come back to the same massacre, they think it's hilarious!! I bought each of them an engraved "Baby's 1st Christmas" decoration for with their name for them to take on to their trees hopefully one day :-)

  4. each year we are reminded of all the familiar decorations from years gone by. Sure there are some gaudy or kitschy ones amongst our pile, but they've been part of the christmas tree dress up for many years now.
    Sometimes young adults can't really appreciate the rituals, tribulations and traditions we have collected eh? I bet there will come a day when they realise....and then they'll be grateful for the effort.

  5. I've been wanting to start the tradition of hanging a special decoration on the tree, but haven't gotten round to it. But first, we have to get a tree ...

    I love your painted soldier ornaments!

  6. oh your teenagers sound really hard work, am terrified of hitting hat stage one day in the distant future. i think my sentimental heart will really suffer in their nonchalant hands. i'm sure that your caring, thoughtful approach will be rewarded one day when they surprise you and turn into lovey adults who will be fab company. leading by example is surely all we can do? hope you are feeling a bit better - its such a crazy time of year, i traditionally don't cope well either xx