Despite being the 10th December, there remains a paucity of Christmas spirit within yours truly’s capricious psyche. Apart from ordering a few presents online, thus far little has changed from my usual day-to-day pre-festive season existence.

This afternoon, though, I’m hoping decorating a Christmas tree at my East Ardsley abode will be a catalyst to negating this scrooge-esque behaviour. This relatively simple task hopefully manifesting conscious awareness of what the Italians label “Gioia natalizia!”

When my kids (who are in their 20’s now) were young children it was all very different. As soon as the 1st December advent calendar door was unlocked by my offspring, the ‘Disney Christmas Songs’ video came out and was played on an almost constant loop until santa had been twenty four days later.

Footnote – When I say the ‘Disney Christmas Songs’ video came out on the inaugural day of December, I meant the cassette emerged from the video box, not it’d announced to the world it was gay! …….. Like most video cassettes, it kept it’s sexual orientation to itself…… When I say most, I of course mean all!

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When the kids were little, the tree was decorated significantly earlier in December. One year, when Jonny was five years old and his sister Rachel three, I put the tree up on the 4th December….. And the 5th December!……. And the 6th December!……. And the 7th December!

This recurring tree erection and decoration not undertaken from any deep love of decorating the evergreen shrub. Moreover, a consequence of my offspring’s habitual trait of inadvertently toppling the tree while stretching for chocolate ornaments perched upon its higher branches.

There were some positives my wife Karen and I took from the experience. Notably, vowing never to put chocolate ornaments on the tree again.…… Or, if we did, place them a bit lower!

During that year when the tree was toppled over four days in a row, I recall returning home from work on the 7th December and on walking into the living room relaying what a relief it was to come home to a tree still standing.

However, on closer scrutiny while drinking a cuppa it became clear it’d been pulled over and presumably Karen had redecorated it. I didn’t ask her why, just assumed it was to stop me going mad when I got home fatigued after a day at work and a tiring commute from London.

When I eventually pointed out my suspicions to the missus, she enquired how the heck I’d noticed what she though had been a success clandestine redecoration. I pointed out that, although neatly undertake, her re-decoration lacked the obsessive symmetry I’d ordinarily employ when dressing a tree…… That, along with the fact Jonny had a bauble hanging from his right ear!

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When the kids were that age, I’d behave with similar giddiness to my offspring. This morning, on hearing the song ‘Deck the Halls’ on TV, memories were evoked of early 1990’s adaptations I made to festive refrains in an attempt to entertain my young children. A snippet of this defiling of classic Christmas songs went as follows:-

Deck the Halls with bows of Holly

Fa la la la la la la

Auntie Sue’s dog is called Molly

Fa la la la la la la

On reading those whimsical (but silly) lyrics you’ll not be surprised to hear Jonny and Rachel were never invited to partake in the school carol choir. However, these adapted Christmas carols never failed to raise a smile within chez Strachan during Jonny and Rach’s childhood yuletides.

When poor Molly the West Highland terrier passed away, Sue (Karen’s sister) unknowingly spoilt our fun by named her next dog Zbigniew. As you’ll notice, the newly adapted song (below) never flowing with the same rhythmical whimsy:-

Deck the Halls with bows of Holly

Fa la la la la la la

Auntie Sue’s dog is called Zbigniew

Fa la la la la la la

Putting up the Christmas tree this morning brought to mind the first tree I decorated after my marriage in 1988. Before we experienced Christmases to the patter of tiny feet (jockey Frankie Detorri did start spending Yuletide with us until 1990) we left dressing a tree very late. In fact the tree and ornaments weren’t purchased until the 23rd December.

Due to my wife and my tardiness, we’d to settle for the last real tree (which was a bit scraggy) in B&Q; along with remnants of unaesthetically pleasing baubles and lights left on the barren shelves.

When we got home and decorated it, though, it transformed the home from a cosy little semi in Bedfordshire to a cosy festive little semi in Bedfordshire. The experience of witnessing our first tree together as a married couple was a surprisingly moving event.

As we stood back admiring the finished tree, I can recollect Karen’s eyes welling up with tears! ……… I knew it was a bad idea to use onions as tree ornaments!