It's the 15th of November and in my family (okay it's really just me), this is the sacred date for the big Christmas ritual of putting up the tree.
The Nov 15 ritual started back in 1995 when I moved out on my own and had a four-room flat all to myself. I bought the biggest tree I could find - a seven-footer and decorated it - make that over-decorated it. I had always wanted my own tree and trimming it my way. So that was fun.
Since then, Nov 15 was has been decreed as Tree Day. I remember growing up with had this white tree. It was so old, many of the tinsel "leaves" had fallen, the decorations were positively ancient and we had to spread "angel hair" white fiberglass-like cotton-wool like veil over the tree to give it a look of snow. You don't see that anymore (I'm the one being carried at the back in this 1964 picture).
In later years, the magic of the tree still remains even though it's now a source of tension. Blame that on the cats.
We have 15 of these little buggers. For all of them, the tree with its twinkling lights is like a new toy. Many will just sit and stare, some will sniff and ignore... then there's the rabble Boys from the Hood who will try and claim the tree as their very own turf.
They will climb up the branches, bite bulbs, remove ornaments and hide them under sofas where they are discovered in July ... the list of misdeeds goes on ... (I can certainly relate to this video)
A few years back the tree nearly toppled over on one of their Everest conquests. Since then, I had to take the additional precaution of tying it to the wall with fishline. It helps the tree last the required time until January 6 when it all comes back down.
Ahh the joys of Christmas ... I'm sure the boys are waiting for me to get started ...