Following yesterday’s efforts by her attention-seeking elder son, Mrs Strachan senior’s Christmas tree now stands imposingly in the front room bay window of her West Yorkshire abode. The artificial evergreen bringing a much needed hint of festive cheer and chromatic hue to the octogenarian’s lounge.

Reading my previous sentence, some may suggest after penning artificial there’s no further requirement to add the word evergreen. Arguing as yours truly’d already made it clear this yuletide focal point was artificial it was pretty darned obvious that it’d be evergreen. After all, having a deciduous tree as your decorative decorative centrepiece would provide the thinnest of aesthetic gruel.

Anyhow, my mum’s tree isn’t needleless. It stands proudly decorated in the bay window. Thoughtfully replacing some of the natural light it’s six foot frame obstructs with a smattering of multi-coloured illuminations. Subtle kaleidoscopic candescence bringing festive warmth; hopefully reminding the old lady that Christmas is coming – Consequently, she’ll sanguinely stop wandering around the place with a face like a slapped ass.

Decorating mater’s tree was an emotional time for yours truly. Particularly when catching sight of the old baubles from my 1960s/70s childhood, which still remain fit for purpose. Ornaments which my late father bought and each December fixed to the real pine branches gracing our family home in 1970’s Gateshead.

From recollection, these trees from my fledgling years weren’t treated with a needle preservative aimed at negating droppage, as they are now. Consequently, every single December day it perched in the room corner, mum would have hundreds of dropped needles on the front room carpet to vacuum. 

This lack of this needle preservative ensuring our vacuum cleaner’s yuletide was nearly as busy as St Nick’s Christmas Eve. This situation a consequence of it’s ‘leaves’ indifference to remaining branch in situ – Meaning any minor vibration resulted in the mass shedding of pines.

This sensitivity extending as far as mass needle droppage if one of the family sneezed too loudly, coughing, or laughing over vigorously at the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Day extravaganza on TV. It wasn’t unheard of that my mum would create herself additional vacuuming work from shouting at our kid and I “Stop kicking a football around the room! Or we’ll end up losing more needles off that bleeding tree!”

Despite witnessing copious numbers of tree needle spillage on the living room carpet during childhood Christmas’, I wasn’t put off buying a real tree in adulthood. In fact, all of thirty plus pines/firs purchased since fleeing the nest in my early 20’s home have been genuine Norwegian shrubs.

Mercifully, since the introduction of needle preservative coatings the vast majority of them have only experienced minor leaf droppage. From my mum’s perspective, as she now runs with artificial tree focal point, her December vacuuming requirements are significantly less than times of yore..

Anyhow, following my tree decorating efforts this week, both casa Strachan senior and junior now provide a greater festive ambience. In my residence, there’s the evocative redolence of a Norwegian pine, along with a canvas of calming festive lighting, creating a warmth which’d maybe thaw even the Grinchiest of souls.

Talking of the Grinch, that reminds me I need to shave me back at some point this weekend….. Have a good one.