Hanging history on the tree

It’s Christmas!!!  It’s official! I have decorated my first tree (only 7 more to go!) and it’s all systems go.

I do Christmas like TOWIE does vajazzles. I stick glitter in every conceivable place.

Christmas is never just one year… it is always a nostalgic mish mash of past and present.  From my earliest memories, Christmas has been a glittering, comforting smorgasbord of frenzied family festive fun.

My Dad would bring down the box of decorations from the attic and Mum, delving into her own nostalgia, would take out each one and tell me it’s story. Most came from her own childhood Christmases, and then each year we would add new ones. Every single decoration had a memory attached and as we hung history on the tree, every year added new memory and nostalgia to each piece.  Decorating the tree was as much a part of the Christmas experience as cooking the turkey and opening the presents. Mum would put on her CD of King’s College Choir singing carols, we would open up her Tupperware of home-made Caramel Squares, and we would hang and argue about covering gaps, stopping every so often to stand back and admire our work in progress and sip from our mugs of tea.

I always decorated the tree with my Mum, and then as soon as I was able to, I decorated my own trees with the same sense of occasion.  She had many years then when she decorated the tree alone. When I had children, Christmas became my most exciting, happy time of year.  All those sleepless nights, all those lurid green poo swamped nappies, all those rejected meals that ended up on the floor were forgiven as I got to indulge my childish obsession with Christmas under the guise of parenting.

Once again, putting up the christmas Tree has become as important as the turkey, and now, when I bring down the boxes, the girls take out each piece and we tell their stories, and they know exactly where all the decorations go.

But when Mum had her stroke five years ago, she could no longer put up her tree. So it became my job. I would put on the King’s College Choir CD of carols, and once again, I would do it with her, me placing the pieces, her watching, sometimes pointing, but I told the stories back to her because she has now forgotten. Dad brought down the box of decorations from the attic, and I unpacked them, some of which were so old, she had put them on her Christmas tree as a child. And now, because my Mum can’t do it, I hung history on the tree for her.

IMG_0050And this year, my children did it for her. This year, we all hung history on the tree together, Christmas a mish-mash of past and present, a glittering, comforting, smorgasbord or frenzied, family, festive fun.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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One Response to Hanging history on the tree

  1. melissajanisin says:

    I got chills reading this. And those happy faces in the photo. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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