The misanthrope’s advent calendar – day 11

by Pseud O'Nym

One thing that annoys me about christmas – and there are many – are poorly dressed christmas trees.

By that I mean christmas tree’s that decorated only where the tree is to be visible, meaning that if is front of a wall, then the back of it won’t be and depending upon how visible the sides will be, that will determine their fate. Think of a lazy man who only irons the front part of a shirt, hoping that he’ll have no reason to take his jacket off. It’s the same twisted logic and it raises the most glaringly obvious question, ‘Why not just buy a much smaller tree if that’s all the decorations you have?’

A few years ago I was in America at christmas and had always worked on the assumption – based on childhood expeditious – that dressing the tree involved untangling the ball of lights, some swearing when you realized some of the bulbs had blown on the lights, then realizing the tinsel was a bit threadbare but it was all you had, that some of the baubles were cracked, and that no matter how much taffeta you threw at the problem, it was still a problem. They did things differently.

So differently. Think of the difference between a Pot Noodle and a really juicy steak. That’s not even close.

For a start there was no alcohol involved! And all of the decorations had been carefully put back in their box from last christmas. Everything was calm, they went about things in a well rehearsed, ordered manner. This threw me, almost as much as having the tree dressed in the middle of their enormous living room, not only because it afforded them access to all parts of it, but also to put the decorations deep into the tree. Not on the surface, were they mad? And it wasn’t a rush job either, it took up most of the evening because every so often they would stand back and gaze upon their handiwork and critique it. Because it mattered, they saw it as an indication of what they were like as people. Visitors, if they were so minded, might draw conclusions about them based upon the tree.

This had never occurred to me before. What did my parents effort say about them?