After a minor inconvenience or two yesterday afternoon, the 2020 Christmas tree stands proudly in the Strachan lounge. Although, staring in it’s direction from this angle I’ve just noticed the star atop the Scandinavian Fir is tilting slightly to the right. Excuse me a moment, I’ve got to remedy that or my OCD will wreak havoc.

There, that’s better….. Be still my fretting soul.

The minor inconveniences when decorating, of which one was having to nip out to replace the Christmas tree lights. These taunting me by working on initial plug in, yet mysteriously becoming no longer fit for purpose when I was just about loaded around the 6ft fir.

Me testing for loose lights, replacing the fuse bulb and frustratedly exclaiming “For f***ks sake, why won’t you work anymore?” didn’t resolve their reticence to illuminate. Consequently, I nipped up to Colton Retail Outlet to procure a contingency set.

Locating the set of electricity powered illuminations bearing a solely white lighting configuration I sought was quite a challenge. There was a large choice of lights, however the vast majority I located were either coloured, requiring solar power or contained such huge numbers of LED bulbs that, throughout the festive period, it’d been necessary to adorn sunglasses indoors.

Eventually, I found a box containing 200 electric powered white lights. Which may seem a lot, but due to their small bulb fittings have proved more or less spot on for the tree coverage required. I’ve got to say, though, if I’d have bought the 450 light set there’s a chance any prolonged time lounge in situ may’ve rendered me with third degree burns.

Also, if I’d have not worked out how to turn off the flashing function of this illuminated set, which as the box was bereft of accompanying instructions took a while to fathom, at some point in the next three weeks I’d have likely succumbed to an epileptic fit.

Once illuminated and enveloping the tree, I set about the task of augmenting the firs aesthetics further. This achieved by adding baubles and ornaments; a role I undertake with symmetric pedantry. This act playing out to a soundscape of Christmas hits sourced by my amiable buddy Alexa.

As Perry Como crooned the refrain ‘It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas’, with my tree decorating near conclusion, I couldn’t help but brandish a smile and utter “It certainly does Perry, t’old lad.”

Yesterday, GJ Strachan spent his evening imbibing merlot, troughing on stilton topped sourdough bread and listening to a variety of festive refrains. This episode whizzing me back to the joyous Christmases of my now adult children’s fledgling years….. And further back to my idyllic yuletides of youth.

My boyhood Christmases, a collage of new football kit gifts, kneeling on Subbuteo table football players we’d only owned for an hour or two. Add to that brio the presents of Oor Wullie/Broons annuals and family turkeys so vast my dad could’ve rode them home from the butcher.

This heartwarming brew of memories including owning real trees which shed a fifth of its needles every day, my surreptitious theft of our Ian’s Terry Chocolate Orange, and glueing back together the Subbuteo players my brother and I’d knelt on. Not forgetting the daily maternal cursing of <em>”Bleeding hell, look at all those discard tree needles……I’m gonna have to hoover under that bloody tree again!”

Without wanting to navigate down the avenues of cliche, or working class hero (of which I’m not), we weren’t an affluent family. Despite this, Christmases were majestic through yours truly’s, and latterly my kids, childhoods.

That being said, Karma has ensured my stealing of our kids Terrys Chocolate Orange segments during 1976’s yuletide hasn’t gone unpunished in these last ten years……. Ho hum……. Or as a disconcerted Santa may posit “Ho, Ho, Ho, Hum.”