OH, HANG IT

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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