Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Tree, a Tradition and the Test Of Time

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas, would it, without a tree?


Which is why the Son in Law (known to you all as Dunk’em Dave on account of his exploits on Family Beach Days) plus Hazel Bagel’s Boyfriend, Zach, and I set off on Saturday afternoon in search of the Perfect Tree.


The Son in Law wasn’t too sure that he could fit all three of us plus a six foot plus tree in the car but (under duress from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters) agreed I could come along but threatened to make me walk home if his worst fears were realised. I think he was joking...


We travelled the short distance to the village of Hartley Wintney where members of the local Scout Group were selling trees to raise funds. It was all extremely well arranged and I, for one, applauded their efforts. Having selected a tree (Dunk’em Dave over-ruled my first choice but, as he was making with the readies, I didn’t feel qualified to argue) it was fed through a kind of funnel which enabled it to be parcelled up in protective netting. A young Girl Scout who was on Parcelling Duty had pulled some netting over her head, shoulders and body so that she resembled a human Christmas tree, albeit one slightly shorter than the one we were purchasing. This garb, she assured me, would soon be recognised as the latest fashion. I, in turn, assured her that I would be heading home to knit my own version. I hope she knew I was joking...


When we returned home from the Twinkles’ party on Sunday afternoon (see yesterday’s blog) it was to find that Dunk’em Dave, despite still suffering from a horrible cold, had erected the tree in the living room and festooned it with bright lights which changed colour so gradually that you had to really concentrate on each individual light to see its transformation from yellow to green to blue to red. I might have got those colours in the wrong order but I’m sure you can picture the scene. 


Now for a bit of background. Every year I buy each of my grandchildren a decoration to hang on their family Christmas tree. Obviously when I started this tradition, I wasn’t expecting that I would end up buying for ten of them. The idea, as dreamt up by Yours Truly, was that when each grandchild set up in their own home, they would take with them all the decorations they had accumulated over the years to adorn their first Christmas tree. It did occur to me, a year or so back, that one or more grandchild might set up home with a partner who would not appreciate the slightly eclectic mix of decorations gathered over the years. Especially if they were aiming for a smart, modern, minimalist home. 


I also had to make a difficult decision as to when to stop buying an annual decoration. After much soul searching I decided it should be after each grandchild’s 21st Christmas. I did wonder if I should just carry on regardless, until last year when My Boy sent me a photo of my three (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys who had lined up all their decorations. Sam (13th Christmas) had quite a long line while James’s (11th Christmas) was not much shorter. Young Morgan’s however (7th Christmas) looked so much shorter. It made me realise how important it was that the youngest had a chance to catch up with the oldest. However long it took.


Jack and Hazel, who are among the oldest of the Tremendous Ten, decided on Sunday that they would affix all their (many) decorations on the newly erected tree. This year’s decoration will be the last for Hazel, while Jack has already had his Final One. This meant there were over forty ornaments to be hung from the branches. Or, actually, not quite forty as a few of Hazel’s have broken over the years. She still keeps the shattered pieces in the boxes they came in as a Sad Reminder to me that it is Far, Far Better to buy unbreakable baubles...


I thought I would simply be able to sit back and bask in the appreciation for my thoughtfulness over the years as the two of them decorated the tree - but Jack thought a Christmas Quiz was in order. For every bauble he unpacked, I had to try to guess the Christmas I had bought it and describe, if appropriate, why I had selected that particular decoration and where I had bought it. 


I failed dismally. The only Christmas I was sure of was Jack’s very first - because I remembered so well rushing out to buy a teddy bear bauble when he was born unexpectedly three weeks early. I did remember the decorations bought on holidays in Canada and in Amsterdam and those which I have made myself over the last few years but my success rate was low. I would have liked to post a photo of the two of them with the decorated tree but I have been sternly warned “no social media” so you will have to make do with a photo of the tree. Which is, of course, splendid nevertheless.


The tradition is about to face another Test of Time. Katie, Eldest of the Tremendous Ten, will be moving into her beautiful new house early next year. The question was: would her twenty-one tree decorations go with her? “Of course they will!” said Katie, loyally, “It’s tradition!”


Indeed it is...

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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