It was a big day for the husband yesterday. Not because he had his first roast lunch of the season, nor because he found a can of forgotten custard in the cupboard. No, this was far more momentous.
For the first time in the ten years we have lived in our current home, the husband pre-ordered the Christmas tree. This may seem a bit weird to some of you, but there have been several Christmases which have been ruined by the 'wrong' tree being picked at the last minute. The tree traditionally stands in the hall, where it has free rein to climb up to the upstairs ceiling, a height of around twenty feet. Over the years, the husband has shown levels of restraint interspersed with complete insanity where the height of the tree is concerned and I would like to share with you some of the problems I have been forced to address, over years.
The tree was 19' tall. What the husband failed to realise was that the taller it is at the top, the wider it is at the bottom. Subsequently, I was unable to walk from the front door to the kitchen, having instead to go through the lounge, over the sofa, through the door into my office and then into the kitchen. I also couldn't carry any basket of clean washing up the stairs, without collecting several thousand pine needles en route as the branches stretched across the staircase...and you don't want pine needles in your knickers ladies.
All children present to help decorate the tree - time taken two hours. This did not include time spent using the fork lift which we needed to get it on the back of the trailer.
Yet again, another whopper - this time, you were unable to actually see the top of the tree as it was so wide. It simply resembled a rather unruly hedge. When the husband cut the net of the tree, the only way out was through the front door, where he waited till I returned home. I found this very funny for some reason, but my laughter was short lived when I realised that it was going to be two weeks of prickly knickers again.
One child and a boyfriend (pinned beneath the tree at one point) present to help decorate the tree - time taken four hours.
This was a disaster as it was too small (the husband's words, not mine) and barely reached the top of the stairs. The husband sulked about this throughout Christmas which explains his determination to pre-order the tree this year.
No children present, but smaller tree meant much quicker decoration time of three hours. However, by the time I had hung almost a thousand decorations, there were only about three square inches of green visible. Might as well have had an artificial one...
And then there is the dissembling. For some reason, almost every year I have done this alone, sawing the branches off one by one and throwing them out onto the drive. 2014's tree had two nests in it, whilst last year's dropped needles by the thousand every time someone walked past, or spoke too loud in the hall.
So this year's 16' tree has been ordered, and I have already booked all four children and partners where available, to do tree decorating. However, there are three words which keep repeating themselves...
There will be no balls hanging low in my house this year, that's for sure...