Smile in a box

          The usual winter blues have set in, but they’ve been bluer, and “I’ve got this” as some people look forward to December 25th, my target is 21st December when the daylight hours turn around and I can start looking for longer days.

          I arrived home from work one day last week to one of those postcards through the door, you know the ones, “we tried to deliver your parcel but you were out”. I tend to reschedule my parcels for one day a week, it means I get them later than arranged, but it means just one day waiting in for the postman, so when this card said “delivered next door”, I went and knocked, racking my brain to think what else I had ordered.

          The neighbour smiled as she handed me the box. It’s shape made me smile too, I had received one of these before, and as if more hints of what was inside were needed… It was addressed to “Mum” ….

          A card in the box read “A smile in a box for you”, from Youngest Daughter.

          I don’t remember having a real Christmas tree before. Of course, there’s every chance we did, but if so, it must have been when the girls were very small, and well forgotten about because Eldest Daughter used to walk back and for to the Laundrette during Uni time, and came out in a nasty rash from walking through a pavement of dropped pine needles. I’m guessing we would have noticed the allergy if it had appeared at home over the Christmas period.

          The first christmas tree of our own that I can remember was a little tinsel one of the very inexpensive type. I don’t remember it as new, but I remember it the first year Eldest Daughter was fully mobile. We got out our little Christmas tree and tried to decide where to put it. It looked quite sad as the surviving tinsel branches were few and far between, so killing two birds with one stone I spread the branches around just half of the tree… And hung it on the wall out of Eldest Daughter’s reach.

          Christmas trees of later years were bigger with many little shiny decorations. . Hubby used to worry about the number of house fires caused by Christmas lights so we didn’t have lights on our trees. Instead the decorations I chose were reflective, when the light was turned off, the room would be in darkness, as would the tree, but only the slightest glimmer of light would be needed to bring it to life.

          We had gold and red decorations, added to a little at a time over the years. There were literally hundreds, and putting the tree up would take a whole day. The girls used to help sometimes, but the majority of tree decorating was down to me… That is until I discovered how much Mum-in-law enjoyed decorating a tree and then the “Christmas tree fairy” would visit each year and put it up (often when I was in bed all day after working the night before).

          Each year a different colour of round baubles would be added to the tree, blue was my favourite, but we also had purple. Just before we moved to our seaside, in an attempt to de-clutter and down-size, I gathered up all my purple decorations and gave them to a friend who was very much a “purple type person”.

          As the girls grew up and moved out, I abandoned the big tree in favour of less, and smaller decorations, and the big tree did the rounds, spending Christmases at various houses until it finally fell apart. Our first christmas in this house was taken up with a very different sort of “Christmas decorating“, but I eventually bought a little three foot artificial tree, which I believe I decorated with the blue baubles in the kitchen last year.

          In theory, this year’s tree will be potted into an outdoor pot and live in the garden all year to be brought back inside for Christmas next year. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I’ll see what I can do without promising anything.

          More from before : simply “In search of smiles“.

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