If you were here at this time last year, you'll know that I love Christmas. Last year Steve and I went back to Lowestoft to see everyone for Christmas, which was nice, but this year we're staying at home instead. I'm really looking forward to it.
Of course it did mean that I needed something I haven't had for several years: a Christmas tree. Last year, well, there was going to be a tree at mum's house, and given that I had quite enough on my plate with getting suitcases packed, and gifts bought and wrapped, not to mention still settling in to living here and having just started a new job, getting a tree didn't seem like any kind of priority. In the years before that, I lived in my tiny little flat, so all there was room for was a tree-shaped ornament. But now... this is my home, I will be here all Christmas, I have room for a tree, and by the gods, a tree I shall have.
My quest for a tree didn't go according to plan (go ahead, look surprised). I'd figured on getting one from those esteemed purveyors of seasonal tat, Woolworths. No sooner had I vocalised this plan than Woolworths went under and the Final Clearance Sale started. By the time I'd got round to my day off, and gone into the local branch in search of a tree, the "Christmas" section consisted of a few folorn packs of baubles scattered on the otherwise barren shelves.
Time to formulate Plan B. I started by considering my specification. I definitely wanted an artificial tree rather than a real one. I wanted it to be bigger than a shelf-ornament (so I could hang decorations on it), but preferably no taller than me (so I could hang decorations on it). I wanted it green, without fake snow or glitter. I did not want a fibreoptic tree and, although I hadn't realised it was an option, I prefer my tree to be the conventional way up.
This is a taller order than you might first think...
I trundled along the rest of the high street but couldn't find any trees that fit my spec. We tried local supermarkets without success. On Saturday we went to Solihull and looked in John Lewis. They had a lovely Christmas section, but all the trees were far too big. There was one pre-lit tree which was just so pretty I could have forgiven it for being too big, but it was something like £175 and my budget was more in the £30 region.
But then, the skies parted and I was advised to look in Homebase or Focus (I'm unsure to what extent they are one and the same thing). So on Monday morning, Steve dropped me off at the retail park on his way to work, and I went into Focus, and I found their last 4ft artificial green right-way-up unlit unsnowy unglittery tree! And I was happy! So happy! The tree plus a dozen or so decorations remained well under my £30 budget, and I went home exuding joy from every pore.
Things have been a little hectic since then - work on Monday afternoon, work Christmas do on Monday evening, recovering on Tuesday morning, work on Tuesday afternoon, last knitting group of the year on Tuesday evening... however Wednesday is my day off, so I assembled and decorated my tree late on Tuesday night, after knitting. Here it is in all its glory:
I am so happy. There's presents underneath it now and everything.
Oh, and while we're at it with the Christmassy goodness, remember, just like last year, the final UK posting date for Christmas cards is Saturday 20th December. It'll take you ten minutes. Make someone happy.