So all the christmas decorations are up in the house and this year we have two trees, a white one and a black one, its like witchcraft, you go sit in the room that most suits your mood, white or black.
Everything in the white room is white, even down to the christmas tree lights, we had to pay extra to get the very white LED lights for it, you have to wear sunglasses in that room.
The black room is very subdued, a black tree with deep purple decorations and some very low lighting, purple decorations around the rest of the room, its like a Goth paradise, but very soothing, helps rid the migraine caused by the white room.
Outside everything is white, ten days on and we still have substantial amounts of snow, the temperature rises above freezing for one or two minutes everyday, a tiny little bit of snow melts and then ten minutes later its ice again, the forecast is for sub zero temperatures to continue into next week too, anyone would think it was winter.
The christmas trees of my youth were different for in my youth I cared not of christmas trees and neither did Ned and neither did our dad, only our mother bothered to decorate the house and that was with stuff that had seen better days decades before.
She lived in a house full of males who’s only interest in christmas was that they got time off work and the pubs were open, when she put the decorations up we didn’t even notice until she asked one of us to test the christmas tree lights. In those days long gone christmas tree lights had individual mains operated bulbs and if one failed the whole lot failed, finding the duff bulb could take days and involved significant risk to life in the elderly string of lights that adorned our tree every year for instead of buying a new bulb every time one failed our dad would search for days to find it and then snip the bulb holder out of the cable and tape the wires back together (he was always so careful with his money) so year on year our christmas tree lights would grow shorter and shorter and the chance that you’d touch a frayed bit of cable grew greater and greater.
The tree was no great shakes either, in fact if you shook it there would be just wire left, its skinny artificial branches would fold out of the box and sit there looking bedraggled and forlorn, tinsel growing duller by the year, a tree waiting to be put out of its misery, to be stuck on the radiator grill of a bin wagon until the joke wore thin in March, it had once been the pride of the Brian Mills catalogue, now its branches resembled toilet brushes – we didn’t notice.
The fairy on the top was even older, I swear that the fairy on top of our tree was probably an antique, even our mother didn’t know where it came from but the sparkly glitter on its wand was by now dull and not glittery at all and its fairy flouncy skirt was grey and torn, she needed to be retired to a nursing home for fairies but no, our mother stuck her on top of the tree year after year.
And then came the year when I had moved to the far North East on a permanent basis and our Ned was on one of his walks-around-the-world and up a mountain in some far distant foreign shores and when our mother asked our dad to get the christmas stuff down out of the loft he told her that he wasn’t going to bother this year, waste of bloody time with just the two of them, and she acquiesced.
But it so happened that Suzanne and I came down to visit them the week before christmas and when she asked our mother why the decorations weren’t up our mother pointed to our dad and proclaimed “He says its not worth bothering with these days” and I laughed and agreed with him for which I got a slap off my new wife and told to get up in the loft and bring down the christmas stuff, so of course I did, I lived in fear of my new wife, still do, even though she’s beyond what anyone would reasonably call “new” these days (don’t worry she won’t read this, not if I shield the screen like this anyway)
Suzanne looked quickly through the stuff I brought down from the loft and declared it all to be beyond salvation and commanded our mother and me into the car and off to Wilkinsons in Headingley where we spent a small fortune of our dads money on a new tree and new everything to make the house christmassy, he nearly cried when we told him how much and we didn’t tell him the whole amount either.
Our mother still stuck the old fairy on top of the tree though, she looked a bit of an old scrubber up there (the fairy I mean) but still…