making with the yuletide treeness

the completed christmas tree 2012little traveller helping with the decorations

I'm not sure why, but even though I was using a tripod for the full photo of the tree, it still turned out a little soft, focus-wise... weird.

Anyway...

You know, the drive back from Ma's place is something of a cavalcade of old memories... there's the "hotel" that we used to go to on special occasions for dinner... over there is the park where Pete and I used to fool around... up that way is the place I lived briefly before I moved in here... we visited that gym at some point in high school and a bunch of us sat in the sauna fully clothed... I worked very briefly at a place down there that made windows and doors... my nanna was the president of the pensioner's club that's one street back that way... that's where I photographed Matt in the abandoned house and the security guard busted us... this dip in the road used to have train tracks and when I broke my arm the ambulance went over them really slowly... that car yard is where I bought my Kermit green BMW... Ma used to work there before I was born and told me about it just about every time we went past... there's the supermarket we shop in every Saturday...

Beyond that it's pretty much covered with a layer of more recent memories... but it's a highly nostalgic highway...

But the reason that I was up at Ma's place today was for the first of pretty much the three annual visits I make to Ma's each December... first for the tree, then for making the goodies, then for Christmas.

This year did seem much cruiser than perhaps my memory of last year would lead me to believe.

I left here fairly early and got down to Ma's at just before 8, then we had breakfast, did all the catching up we would usually do in the car on the way to the supermarket on Saturday, and then we started on the tree.

As much as I like the finished tree, it really is just too dark for Ma's living room. It doesn't look it in the photo, but it often ends up looking black when the fairy lights are on, and it's a dark room anyway once the morning sun has disappeared. Generally I don't like the white trees, but I'm starting to come around to the idea of having a white tree at Ma's... it would probably just lighten up the whole room.

We are going to try putting both shiny and matt balls on next year though (if we haven't sourced a white tree by then) since that may help to add a little extra light to the tree. More often than not the shiny baubles just reflect the dark branches of the tree as much as they reflect the lights, so it ends up even darker.

We'll see.

I was fairly careful with putting the tree together given the fact that my back is still an issue... but I think that sitting on Ma's kitchen chairs actually gave me more of an problem than anything I did with the tree.

And it was also one of those years where essentially everything came together with the tree in very short order. Putting the lights on could not have been easier... and I think that's generally the step that is a good indicator of how the rest of the process is going to go (or else it just means that if putting the lights on fucks me off, I tend to get easily annoyed for the rest of the process).

While the baubles also seemed to go on pretty well, I did manage to break one for the first time in... years and years and years I think... and I may have done a little too good a job on opening up the branches, so it made actually placing some of the baubles in the later stages more challenging.

Then were I might have spent a bunch of time either photographing individual baubles or the tree as a whole or whathaveyou, this time I ended up playing around with Little Traveller in the tree, which turned out pretty damn good actually. Although when I wired him into the tree at one point it did make me really badly want a tree covered in Lego minifigures.

The more disturbing part of that is that given that I have 128 of them, plus a bunch of ones from "the old days" I could probably do that really effectively on a small tree.

Scary.

As usual we were finished with the tree just short of lunchtime, so we tidied up, had some food and then got down to the equally time consuming task of wrapping whatever presents were ready to go.

And although we're both essentially finished Christmas shopping, I only ever do my "wrapping" a couple of days before Christmas and it didn't seem that Ma really had that much stuff to wrap.

Or possibly the stuff she did have to wrap didn't take up as much room as it has done on previous years... which may be more to the point now that I think about it.

We did a quality job on most things as usual... but I think my favourite finished parcel was the one we did for one of Ma's workmates who is heavily into Batman (the lesbian from last year's Batman Christmas Shopping post)... black wrapping paper and gold ribbon... I know black isn't a "Christmas colour", but I'd much rather wrap something based on either who the person is that's getting it or else what the gift itself is (usually the former rather than the latter).

It did look classy though.

We managed to take up the majority of the afternoon wrapping things... then while Ma tidied things away in the living room I put dinner together. Being in sole control of somebody else's kitchen isn't a whole lot of fun if we're being honest. Yes, it did used to be my kitchen too, but that was a lot of years ago. And when you're not even sure which knife you should use to cut things with... that's a little bit of a problem.

I managed.

After dinner we watched a couple of Christmas movies while Ma did some ironing and I waited with the hopes that the neighbourhood Christmas party that usually coincides with our tree trimming day would wrap up early.

I'm not sure how early it did wrap up, but when I got home just after 9, it was all done and dusted.

So all in all a day well spent. Although this does signify the start of The Slide of Increasing Speed Towards Christmas has officially begun. Next weekend Fringe tickets go on sale, the following weekend is making goodies, then it's the pre-Christmas weekend.

Just thinking about it makes me tired...

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