December 7, 2010
We put up our Christmas tree last weekend. Yet again, I lamented the lack of a real tree as we hauled the plastic tree out from the loft, which is apparently a very English place to store one's fake Christmas tree. (Where else would you store it?) Every year I buy a few more ornaments, so our collection of mainly red and lovely decorations is now as old as our relationship and I still remember the very first Christmas tree we had together in London. It was (of course) real, and lasted long enough to make our house smell and feel... like Christmas! But this year I didn't buy any ornaments. Instead I'm hoping to make salt dough ornaments with Ollie - or at least make the ornaments and let Ollie decorate them (I don't know how much he'll understand they aren't for eating if he sees the cooking process). I think it will be a sweet addition to our decorations and we'll make a few extra to give to grandparents and aunties and uncles.
Ollie got a little bossy and obsessive about putting baubles on the tree without any help (and we only broke one - not bad), but it was the first year that we were able to get him involved and excited about adorning the tree with hundreds of lights and ornaments. Max slept through the whole thing and woke to find Christmas in his home.
It's December but it doesn't feel Christmassy, not even with the tree twinkling as I write this. It's not cold, frosty, dark... atmospheric. I pine (no pun intended) for home, friends, family, winter and mulled wine at this time of year more than any other, and I will never feel the spirit of the holiday season while it's hot, sunny and humid. This is my 7th Christmas here in Australia and every year I think it might be the last as we think about our future and whether it will be here or back in Europe. Every year I think I miss out on really truly enjoying an antipodean Christmas by thinking too much about the experience I could be having back home which perhaps isn't as special as I remember it to be. Maybe this year will be different.