This weekend marked the end of Christmas: today, Sunday, was Epiphany, and modern practice counts this evening as Twelfth Night, and the day beyond which it is unlucky to leave your Christmas decorations hanging.
I’m rather sad: I love having a Christmas tree, and it looks so forlorn out on the pavement, waiting to be recycled into compost by Camden Council. (Although I am never, ever saving a tenner by not buying a non-drop tree ever again. Its needles started dropping on the day of purchase, and the tree was practically naked by the time I carried it out this evening, wrapped in my car cover to avoid any more needle dropping in our communal hallway.)
Last year was the first Christmas tree I’ve had in five years, and the first in a home where I haven’ t had to share it with lodgers, and this year was just as thrilling. There is something very grown up feeling about choosing one’s very own tree, and carrying it home.
Christmas tree people fall into two camps: the colour-coördinated and the if it hangs, it’s going on school. Me, I’m definitely in the latter camp. I like my tree decorations to remind me of people and places I love.
As I wrote last year, I’ve had an old shoe box packed away in the attic with a few choice pieces for the past five years, and I was beyond thrilled to open it up at the beginning of Advent to be reacquainted again with the decorations of my childhood.
Most importantly, there is my Christmas angel. Made for me by Granny Jessie, the grandmother of our closest friends in Smarden, the Kentish village where we grew up, she is one of my most treasured possessions. All the children received one: my sister & I, her three grandchildren and, I think, the Parfitt girls. If memory serves, the skirt was filled with sweeties. At some point she came apart and her skirt has been glued on backwards, but that doesn’t matter. She’s over thirty years old, and looking good with it.
I buy candy canes in America each year to hang on the branches, and to decorate my parcels.
This 1950s net angel once decorated a cracker, according to my mama, from whom I have filched it.
My best friend Jo sent me a pair of birds for my birthday this year.
These painted glass birds must be fifty years old or more (more filching)…
Georg Jensen sent me their annual Christmas decoration this year, this ravishing star.
A bit of Swarovski bling in the shape of a snowflake.
And the pretty crystal reindeer from Tiffany, that I was given at their ice skating party last year.
And now they are all safely packed away in their old shoebox for next year…