So it’s that time of year again and even though it’s getting cold and the days are getting shorter, we have Christmas to look forward to. To be honest the children are waiting anxiously for Santa and their presents, but our bank accounts have already started crying for help. Mine has anyway! If taking into consideration that I have 11 years of Christmas decorations stored in the basement of my house (all of my married life) and that I add to them every year, like most people do, it would have been quite logical for me to just take them out and maybe add one or two more things to an existing branch that fits nothing else on. But no, this year I was struck with another idea, and one which certainly wasn’t economical.

 Two things are responsible for my ‘clever’ idea. My cousin Pavlos whose creativity and passion for arts and crafts is what I love most about him. He is a maker and collector of all fine things that are handmade from natural resources, and his wreath, made out of vine tree branches, is one of my favourites. He has it on his door all year round and decorates it accordingly each season. I saw it, fell in love with it and before I knew it, was given one. Having this beautiful natural art piece outside my house, I so couldn’t bring myself to decorate it with anything other than real festive branches for Christmas and that’s what I did. This is the first thing that triggered off change in our home.

Pavlos wreath out of vine tree branches

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My Christmas wreath

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The second is that I JUST couldn’t be bothered to take out boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement this year. It’s nightmarish to even think about it, let alone do it. I don’t know whether my hectic lifestyle is to blame or that I am moving into minimal mode entirely, but one thing is for sure, those boxes were not going to see the light of Christmas day! Three days of unpacking, colour coding and generally organizing was a no- go area. It sounds selfish because I ‘ve got a house full of children but they don’t help anyway. They just hinder! Anyway with my beautiful natural wreath, I decided to go for a real tree with real mini trees for décor around the house. In my mind I had a vision of greenery with white Christmas lights only. Seems simple, easy and quick, doesn’t it? Why then were the forces of nature against me?

It was a Friday morning when my youngest son and I went to choose our Christmas tree and decorations. I have no idea why, but I was fixated on getting a Cypress Leyland instead of the conventional Christmas tree. Delighted that I had found my dream tree, I insisted they delivered it that very day. I loved its height, ignoring my niggling feeling that it might have been too tall for my house. Which of course it was! I carved a bit off the top, actually, quite a bit off the top, so it wouldn’t touch the ceiling. Bingo! Yes! I was quite happy that it fit, not that it looked particularly good, but my mission was accomplished. Balancing a tree, that refused to balance, trying to put lights on it, that refused to stay put and scratching my arms in the process, I wasted my whole Friday afternoon/evening to figure out that this tree was actually a complete and utter disaster. Both aesthetically and practically. I have to admit that my miniature Christmas trees and greenery that I decorated my house with, were exactly as I imagined, that is why I was still set on the idea of a real Christmas tree and not my plastic one. Although at this point plastic would have just solved the problem.

The disastrous tree

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My mini trees

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 Out went the tree on Saturday and in came a traditional Christmas tree on Monday morning. I came home from work to find that one of the branches was broken but at this point I didn’t care- I liked it. It was exactly what I wanted. Twisting it round so it wouldn’t show, I decided to make the most of this tree. Admittedly, it did smell good and it did remind me of my childhood. Being a freshly cut tree it had to balance on a stand, a really ugly stand which I couldn’t bare looking at. I think I asked for more trouble than this tree was worth but I was determined to find a solution to cover it. 20.00 hours found me at my local supermarket hunting for a basket that I hoped would cover the stand! I brought it home to find that it was too small (too high, too low, too big, too small, the story of my life) I insisted on figuring out a way that would make it sort of fit. It took a while but I ended up scratching the parquet and my arms yet again, but, I found a way! And all of this, because I couldn’t face taking out my plastic tree and decorations.

My plastic fantastic tree  and my choice for this year

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With the lights on and a handful of baubles hanging from the branches, I smiled, contented that my vision of what I wanted this year had become reality. My real tree, with its ugly base now hidden and the broken branch facing the wall, was perfect. It felt like Christmas. I think I would have saved time and effort by taking out my beautiful plastic tree and over cluttered Christmas decorations but looking round my freshly decorated house I knew I had got it right and it had been time for a change. My beautiful wreath made with love and care rocks and my tree well … it has never looked so simple, understated and so me. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! For me, this year, plastic is not fantastic.

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