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'Memory Tree' or Christmas Tree?


If you have read any of my previous blogs you will know I have a certain soft spot for trees. Ok, I admit it, I love trees. This time of year presents an opportunity to consider in particular my Christmas Tree.

When do I take it down? Should it be the traditional 12 days after Christmas? Or should I have removed it as soon as midnight chimed on the 25th of December? First the tree swept down followed quickly by the rest of the decorations. Nope that just isn’t me.

Myself, I’m more of a let’s just leave them up till after Hogmanay at least. Depending on when that is it may stay up a little longer than called for. Truthfully it depends on when the weekend or holidays end and the socialising calms down.

This year of course there wasn’t really much socialising out with the household, so the decorations came down fairly quickly. For those of you who take them down on the 26th of December, I know this doesn’t sound like a quick declutter but the 3rd of January is probably half way between never and immediately.

So to my next dilemma. Decorations, well much as I love them, I could quite happily put them away. My tree on the other hand is a different matter. Would it stop being special if I left it there for the next twelve months? Would it still glitter and glow in quite the same fashion for me after that length of time? Probably not, so down it will have to come.

That is when it gets really difficult and I have to say it takes longer that it should. As I haul the boxes out that I use to hide away the decorations, memoires rush in on a wealth of emotions. This will not be a quick job.

My Christmas Tree like many others is not just a simple decorative addition to the festive season. My tree is more of a ‘Memory Tree’. It is filled not just with the goings on of this season but with all the festivities from previous years. In fact events that took place between one year and the next.

Every decoration represents something. There is the wooden table setting with my name burnt on it from a magical family wedding. Then there is the brown fluffy thing, a cross between a reindeer and a robin I think; although I have never really been able to work out which one it actually is. It was however made with love, by a young child especially for me and in that spirit it finds its way onto the tree each year. Then there is the white fairy, bought in Inveraray when we were on holiday that hangs next to a gross brown star with horrible goggle eyes; once more a gift representing the child within us all. A beautiful red glass heart bought for me by someone special twinkles nearby. The red bobbles surrounding everything are the first thing we ever bought for our tree all these years ago. Then there is and the unicorn, the candy stick and the deer engraved with my children’s names, given to them from their uncle and aunt across the seas. They are all there and so many more.

Each decoration comes with the gift of remembrance of, friends, loved one, and treasured events. Therefore each precious piece is carefully wrapped, lingered over and placed to one side. The task of taking down the tree becomes an afternoon charged with emotions, quirky smiles and a few sniffy nose sessions.

“Are you not finished yet?” Is swiftly followed by “Do you want a cup of tea then?” as a box of hankies are placed within easy reach. The males in the household slowly retreat to another room shaking their heads in wonder at this yearly tradition taking place.

Next year there will be more decorations placed on the tree as echoes of where we were, who we met or lost, as well as things we are not yet aware of. Each year I hear “We’ve no more room for any more tree decorations.” But I know there will always be room for one more on my ‘Memory Tree’.

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