My tree is perfect. No gaps in the middle, no interminable, offending spindle on the top, just loads of evenly spaced branches, growing at the perfect angle to hold decorations. The downside is that to get one in such perfect shape we had to buy it on the 8th of December and it is now very, very dry. We got an early one a few years ago too and I remember my husband burning it in the garden after Christmas. There were no orange flames at all, just one big, blue flash.
Anyway, this morning it contributed nicely to the perfect Christmas scene. Nat King Cole singing in the background, mince pies warming in the oven, kids peacefully examining the contents of selection boxes just delivered by their Godmother, extremely dry but beautiful tree lit up in the corner.
“Would you mind if I just put that new dress under the tree for you?” said my husband.
What new dress? Oh. The one I chose from bananarepublic.co.uk aeons ago, then waited until it went on sale, and then waited again until there was a special offer of free shipping. That dress? As a present from you to me?
You see, I want it every way. I want the shiny clementines and holly and all that Dickensian Christmas stuff, plus the joy and home made-ness(often resulting in home mad-ness) of spray painting our own wrapping paper, baking sausage rolls and icing a Christmas chocolate log. Plus the twenty first century comforts of nice movies, luxurious gifts as recommended in Sunday supplement magazines and champagne.
But if ones husband is out trawling the shops for the perfect gift for a demanding and martyred wife, then one is home alone all day with the kids, realising that spending family time watching Christmas movies and eating Cadburys roses is nicer with him there too. And now the inevitable guilt has set in as I wait to see if he arrives back grim faced - no present buying success, irritating cosmetic salespeople who are baffled by his surprise at their exorbitant prices and heavy traffic or rosy cheeked - present buying success followed by festive pint and sambo in Nearys.