tomorrow we are planning on putting up our Christmas tree. Not the huge big one we have had for several years, this time a smaller tree, just right for our little house will be decked with a hundred memories.
Our tree has very few shiny baubles and it is never, ever going to be themed or classy. Instead it is a cacophony of colour, of home made wonderful things, of tiny angels and beautiful bits and pieces from a lifetime of Christmas joy.
The precious pieces will be lifted from boxes and placed with care. Each one an old friend, each one a memory. The crooked smile of the angel, the last piece to be placed, high at the top, where she has sat in all of my living rooms for almost thirty years. Where she has watched the children grow, the family change shape and now the next generation will be under her spell. As will the tiny robin who has his own place on a branch every year.
There are decorations made by my children at play school and in the kitchen, there are those gifted by friends from far and wide. The angel from Latvia will dangle delicately, while close by the Disney mouse will remind us of happy times in France.
My tree will never win an award, it is not one the neighbours would covet but to me it is perfect. An annual reminder of all that has been good. The trinkets are worthless and at once priceless, and somehow it says clearly and loudly, there is a family here. There are people who love each other and who believe. It is never quite as polished as it could be, and yet it is full of memories and hope, brighter than any of the lights that adorn it.
Tradition and family, the Christmas season repeats patterns and somehow roots us in the now. This year things will be very different, but the tree will be there, with the angel keeping watch over all of us as she has done so many times before.