It’s December 8, you all know what to do (or, possibly, just the Irish folk). This is traditionally the day where Irish country people (of which I am one) beat a path to Dublin to get all provisions for Christmas. In our house today is Christmas tree putting up day. Always fake—so I don’t know what I’m missing by not having a real tree—and always a mish mash of ancient, beloved and sparkly new ornaments; not for us the carefully themed and colour coordinated tree…although if that’s what you like, go for it. Each to their own. Mam did go through a phase of trying to classy us up by buying porcelain ornaments, dainty bells and demure figurines. Somehow they always made their way to the back of the tree…by the way, I still don’t see why one should decorate the back, no one sees it! (Years of bitterness in that last one, every year my sib and I would get up at the crack, slam on the Christmas tunes (the realisation that George Michael is a man came as quite the shock, I never really got that from “Last Christmas”) and decorate hell for leather…only for mam to come in, shuggle the tree around and give out to us for forgetting the back (“just because it won’t be seen doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look as good as the rest”—some pre-pubescent grooming brainwashing there from Mother D).
My favourite ornaments were a felted (although obviously now balding), cute-faced Rudolph and a flat Santa slipper that adorned my mam’s Christmas tree when she was a kid. The jewel on the crown, the best thing about the sodding tree, was One Eyed Mary. I really wish I had a photo of her*, but I don’t because Mother D THREW HER AWAY. Like a thief in the night, a sneaking, conniving wench who takes her daughter’s favourite things and stomps on them. SECRETLY.
One Eyed Mary was the angel placed on top of the tree (every second year, my bro preferred the star. Meh). She had a silver, shiny dress, black hair, a wonky halo and, obviously, one eye (she did have two, but crappy bits of felt do have a tendency to fall off). I loved her without reason or reservation. Her inelegant demise was enacted after I returned to uni in January (shut it, am not ashamed) and the treachery not discovered until the following December. I don’t care who knows it, I howled. And, obviously, have not forgiven her. Nor shall I. Ever.
Anyway, where was I? Yeah, the last few Christmases have been different, with both of us living away from Ireland we always arrive home just before to a fully decorated house, which is nice in its own way. This year will be the most different of all, it’s been a strange year, stuff went down, there won’t be much decoration…but the tree will be up. So it can’t be too bad, right?
*See, however, the extremely accurate and also excellent drawing.