I was a Christmas snob. I hold my hands up and admit it.
When I decorate the Christmas tree in my home, I want a finely tuned display of pure blanched shades of champagne baubles, polished glass ornaments and stark white lights accompanied by rows of fine gold beads. Some may see a cheerless bland tree, a lack of personality, perhaps it’s too staged? Not me.
Or so I thought.
My cousin Sally has always been my polar opposite. She loves colour and boy doesn’t her Christmas tree just scream flamboyance. I always recoiled when I walked into her lounge in December, the multi-coloured ornaments, tinsel and flashing lights can give you a migraine within minutes. However, this year when I called into Sally’s to drop off Christmas gifts for the girls, she invited me to stay for a drink. I think she’s under the impression I’m lonely.
Once small talk was over, I was struggling so I started admiring her Christmas tree, gently twirling an ornament between my fingers. “That belonged to Grandma Flo,” she informed me, adding “I inherited a lot of her ornaments.”
“Really?” I turned and took in her glowing pretty face as she spoke.
“Yep, and the silver bells belonged to Great Grandma Louise, Gran knew I loved them,” She joined me next to the tree “And I kept all the stuff the kids made at school.”
“There’s a lot of nostalgia on that tree,” She held up a red and gold glittering Eiffel Tower “Colin bought me this on our honeymoon, oh and this tiny pink angel he bought me this from the hospital gift shop when Bethany was born.”
“Don’t you mind not co-ordinating?” I asked.
“Nah, not at all. Everything reminds us of something, we love getting the Christmas boxes out. A Mickey Mouse from Disney, a peg fairy from a craft fair in Haworth, an angel I made at a craft workshop,” Sally explained giving me a beaming smile “I know it doesn’t match, I’ll never be in Ideal Homes magazine,” She laughed “But I love it.”
“It is lovely.” I stood back and looked at Sally’s tree with a new perspective. It was a mishmash of styles and colours but it had uniqueness and brought happiness to Sally and her family. It hasn’t changed my decorating style but when I visit now, I love to find out what they’ve added and enjoy reminiscing with them, and every year it’s guaranteed I learn something new about their adventures.