I blame the shops for having decorations up from beginning of November. By the end of November my children are dragging the decorations from beneath the stairs in readiness for the 1st December. The first day of our Kiwi summer now coincides with ‘tree up’ day in our house. With the 1st December falling on a Saturday this year our whole weekend revolved around tinsel and baubles (and some heavy family discussions about the pros and cons of a real tree).
The ‘real tree’ isn’t something we’ve ever gone for here in New Zealand, but this year, as Miss 6 and I were driving past a place selling trees, we found ourselves drawn in. They were advertised as ‘bushy’ and, contrary to my first impressions of Christmas trees in New Zealand – rather lanky without much width – these trees were indeed ‘bushy’.
One of the reasons we’ve never bought a real tree is because we have two hay-fever sufferers in the house (hubbie and Miss 9). Whether or not the pine trees aggravate hay-fever is beside the point – there is certainly enough of a perceived threat to Miss 9 that we’ve never bothered to get a real tree. But this year, Miss 6 and I couldn’t resist and agreed we’d put it up outside – a real ‘Kiwi Summer Christmas tree’ so there shouldn’t be much opposition – wrong!
Perhaps it was because we bought the tree on impulse, without even mentioning to Miss 9 our intention – or even texting ahead to forewarn her – but the ‘surprise’ wasn’t a happy one for her. Maybe it was because she’d been at a school disco the night before and not gone to sleep till 10.30pm (and woke at 6.30am) that she was less than receptive to the real tree. Maybe it was hormones (after all they are arguably ‘kicking in’ earlier in girls these days… and talking to the parents of other girls in her class, we are not alone in experiencing periodic rages).
Anyway, she wasn’t pleased and started Googling ‘tree removal services’ and where she could get a chain saw from at short notice. She also tried to poison the tree with window cleaning fluid. She wasn’t happy and her Christmas was going to be ‘ruined’ because of it! There were tears and some loud vocal protests made. There were quieter discussions too.
Dan took Charlotte out to help cool her down, whilst Sophie, Alice and I decorated the outdoor summer tree – which then resulted in the windiest, wettest night of weather we’ve had since winter!
Eventually…. Charlotte realised she was out-voted and the tree was staying put (and amazingly it was still standing after the wild night of weather!).
She even got up close to it the next day…
And, as a reward for calming down, she got to choose her own style of tree for in the living room… a white one! It’s now adorned in a blend of red, silver and glass decorations, with a lovely touch of family photographs pegged randomly from the branches. I love the ‘shooting star’ red rocket she decided to place on the top.
It was a relief to have peace restored! I have to admire Charlotte’s fighting spirit though. Interestingly, I read that children who feel able to stand up for what they are not happy about, and confident to argue their point reasonably, are better at resisting peer pressure to drink and do drugs. Well, she can definitely argue a point – though we have a little way to go in teaching her the art of ‘reasonable’ arguing! We mostly refuse to respond to a raised voice, and we insisted she calmed down away from the rest of the household, before we could ‘discuss’ the matter reasonably.
This was the scene late Saturday afternoon in the living room… a peaceful one indeed.
We went to sleep with the landing lights for Santa’s sleigh twinkling outside (that’s what Alice has decided they are)…
Climbing the sleepy ladder adorned with decorations…
Counting down the days till Christmas Day…