It has been a busy week here, although now that it's the weekend I actually feel like I can now relax and enjoy the next few days before Christmas comes.
On Tuesday Noah and I went to get a Christmas tree. Matt had been threatening to get a plastic tree, because he was worried about Noah eating the fallen needles and/or pulling a heavier real tree down. I fortunately had veto power on that, so off I went to the Christmas Forest on Lordship Lane. Since it was a weekday, it was fairly quiet, and the guy that helped me pick one was really sweet; he was quite patient as I flitted between rows trying to decide between 2 varieties: the Nordmann and the Fraser Fir. The Fraser Fir was a lot more slender and I thought that I maybe should go with one of those given that our living room is not that big, but the Nordmann reminded me more of what I thought a Christmas tree should look like. In the end I decided I would give the guy a break and I just picked one; it felt nice to be decisive.
I was even more proud of myself a few minutes later when I actually - on my own - managed to remove Blake's carseat and fold down part of the back seat so we could fit the tree in the car. I have had times in the past where I've had to phone Matt to talk me through what I need to do for things like this, so I felt a sense of satisfaction at being able to do it without assistance. I asked the helpful (ok, kind of cute) guy what he did when he wasn't selling Christmas trees; he's on his gap year (ack, very young!) before going next year to Sussex, where Matt went. He said he liked the job because buying a Christmas tree was a really happy thing and nobody was ever grumpy.
Now this was an interesting observation to me, because a lot of my memories of having a tree when I was growing up are of kind of stressful times, namely related to trying to get the tree to stand up straight in some ill-fitting stand. I also remember pretty vividly the year it fell over, with the decorations already on. It was always my mother who seemed to spearhead the tree efforts, and I guess it felt strangely familiar to me to be the one in our house this year who was driving the cause. The good news is that they seem to have improved tree stands quite a lot, so we managed to get it standing straight, and feeling very secure, in a matter of minutes. What was immediately obvious was that I had definitely leaned toward the bigger side during the selection process; the tree is a pretty chunky one which encroaches quite a lot on our living space...the foliage equivalent to one's eyes being bigger than one's stomach!
Lights were a different issue, because we went to get an extension cord out of the shed only to find that the lock on the shed is broken - or frozen shut. We therefore have lights pretty much on only the left side of the tree, but it kind of contributes to its uneven nature - since I hardly have any ornaments at the bottom of the tree so as not to tempt Noah.
Interestingly, it isn't actually Noah who seems that interested in making mischief around the tree; Blake's covering that pretty well - crawling underneath it, pulling off ornaments, nestling his toys and other possessions in the branches. Fortunately this only lasted a day or two and now everyone seems used to having it.
Once the tree was up, I definitely felt very Christmas-y.
This picture makes me laugh, because what Blake is examining so intently is an ornament that holds pictures, and they're ones of Matt and me from 2004 - we look really young. He is probably wondering who the people in the picture are!
This Lego bus ended up in the tree:
I have loved sitting up, after everyone else is asleep, with the glow of the lights in the room, and thinking about what a special time of year Christmas is. Even if it's stressful. And expensive. Yes, even I, when looking at the Christmas tree and remembering Christmas trees over the years - memories, essentially - don't feel grumpy.