The Christmas tree arrived this afternoon and is now up and awaiting its decorations. There must be a million suitable trees up here in Scotland but we had ours delivered from Kent! Don't even mention tree miles.
For years I carried on my father's tradition of putting up the tree and decorations late on Christmas Eve so that it was a surprise on Christmas morning. In fact, as a child we weren't allowed into the sitting-room until we got back from mass. Then we filed into the darkened room where the only light came from the candles on the tree. Yes, candles! I kid you not. How the house didn't burn down I don't know.
The cut-down strawberry tub holding the tree was decorated by my father with a different theme every year. The one I remember had broken mirror as a lake, with toy swans on it. How my dad had the time (or the energy) to do all this I don't know, what with seven children and a working day that lasted at least 12 hours.
I've given in to requests from the family to start things earlier and I'm glad I have. Christmas eve is now stress-free. This year we've got a house full for the first time in years and I'm really looking forward to it. We don't go mad and buy tons of extra food. We never buy prepared food anyway, cooking almost everything from scratch so if we need extra bread, mince pies, trifle or whatever we'll just make it! I've ordered the booze from Majestics but I notice the email says
'delivery guaranteed in 14 days'
I think a phone call is in order tomorrow morning :)