one bright christmas tree
It just doesn't feel completely seasonally appropriate until I've spent a twelve hour day up at Ma's place putting together the Christmas tree and wrapping whatever presents Ma has organised.
And this year definitely involved a lot of getting organised.
I was up, and out the door but just after 7:30 this morning, stopped off briefly at the bakery in North Adelaide to pick up some stuff for lunch and I would have been down at Ma's not long after 8. And once we'd had some breakfast we got started on the yuletide decorating.
First off, we had the new white tree for the first time... and, you know what, it works... it's fucking perfect for Ma's place. And with the coloured lights, the whole tree glows. In fact, when I took a couple of photos of it on my iPhone before we'd even put the lights or the baubles on, it looked like it was glowing from the inside because the light from the window was falling on the back of the tree and shining through the gaps.
This time around we just went with the usual scatter approach with the baubles but I did mention to Ma that at some point I may turn the tree into a big gay rainbow tree... and she actually liked that as a plan, so we might try that next year.
It is a much cheaper tree than the one we previously had and that shows up in the quality of the branches and the components in general, but once it's up it looks pretty good.
The only thing that I really don't like about it is the fact that the top almost looks like it's been chopped off about three inches before it should have been. It may partly be the way we styled the branches, but yeah, the top is a little stubby.
Beyond those small complaints though, it's excellent. And the combination of the white branches and the lights means that it basically lights up the whole room at night.
Because it's a new tree though, I'm not into the groove of where to put all of the baubles and how many is too many and whatnot... but that'll come... unless we decide to look for a more expensive white tree now that we know it works as a concept... but I get the feeling we'll be rocking this tree for a while.
Ma worked out that if the silver hangers we were using came in the same size of pack as another pack she had, then the tree has 102 baubles on it. No, I tell a lie, 103, she put the Merry Christmas bauble I bought her in 2011 on after I took the photos.
Which is pretty much me wandering around the tree 103 times trying to work out where to put a bauble so that isn't too close to others of the same colour (and I know there are a ton of times that didn't quite work out this time around).
Once we were finished with trimming the tree, we tidied up the boxes and dithered about a little putting up the Nativity and messing around with part of Ma's snowman collection.
By that point it was around noon, so we stopped for some lunch before moving on to the wrapping portion of the day.
Before we wrapped anything though, Ma wanted to cull her collection of wrapping, boxes, bags and associated fru-fru, so I channelled my inner "clutter/organisational coach" and we powered through the not inconsiderable collection and dumped all the stuff we no longer had a use for into one gigantic bag... seriously, by the time we were finished, it looked like the world's most uncomfortable beanbag.
Once everything had been sorted and we'd found some new boxes for some of the ribbons and gift tags and whatnot, we dragged all of the presents out of Ma's spare room.
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Ma is one of those people who will often buy things and then put them away with the idea that they could work for a Christmas present for someone without having a clear recipient in mind. So the amount of stuff we dragged out of the spare room exceeded her actual list of presents by about 50%.
And I was still channelling my organisational coach (plus I wanted to avoid as much dithering and indecisiveness once we actually started wrapping things), so I suggested that we group all the presents she had for people into whatever spare bags she had lying around. Turned out to be a good idea... it was much easier to make all the decisions before anything got wrapped. That's definitely an idea that will see a return next year I think.
As I mentioned last year, I'd much rather wrap something based on either who the person is that's getting it or else what the gift itself is, so when we finally got down to the wrapping we did hit some untraditional wrapping, specifically black paper with white and pink ribbon for La Cousina... we may have wrapped it differently, but Ma was also giving her once of those little wooden Japanese dolls (Kokeshi) that I'm pretty sure used to be mine. And that was black and white and pink... hence where we got the colours from.
That was probably the most interesting of all the parcels we wrapped, a lot of them were little kids parcels, so we don't tend to go crazy on those ones as there isn't a lot of point.
I fell into my usual routine of suggesting paper choices, selecting ribbon colours and gift tags, cutting sticky tape and generally putting my finger on parcels as required.
Sadly Ma's new dining chairs aren't any more comfortable then her old chairs, so after a while I ended up standing up, which was somewhat better although I am pretty sure I'm going to be all kinds of sore in the morning.
When we finally finished up wrapping everything, it was about 6pm, so we tried to tidy up as much of the Christmas related mess as we could before making some dinner. Well, not so much "make" as "put items from the fridge into small bowls and browse accordingly".
By the time we'd eaten, washed the dishes, sorted the giant beanbag of unwanted Christmas products into smaller, manageable bags and put them into the boot of Ma's car so she can donate them to charity, we were both fairly shattered, so after watching a little bit of Kung Fu Panda 2, I called it a day. A very long, twelve hour day.
But like I said at the start of this, at least now the "Christmas" switch has been flipped in my brain properly, and the new tree looks excellent.So definitely twelve hours well spent.