About the only job my children are keen to help with each Christmas is dressing the tree. They love the way it signifies the start of the festive season but also take great delight in sorting through the decorations.
Each year we unearth the decorations xxxxx which are stored and wrapped in increasingly scruffy white tissue paper. It’s like opening a seasonal memory box – they’ll remember the ones their Nanna gave them or those they made at nursery. Old favourites get put on the tree first – usually in a big clump near the middle. The ones which get left on the dining room table, as their interest wanes, are the decorations I think about chucking.
When it comes to a sentimental decoration ask yourself if you actually like it? Are you keeping it because you think you should or because you really want to? Well, tell should to shove off and put the decoration in a bag destined for the charity shop. Over the years I’ve found the meaning of some decorations fades so I can let them go. And don’t keep anything which reminds you of unhappy times.
When it comes to handmade kiddie decorations ask yourself if they are past their best? Has the glue turned yellow? Has most of the glitter fallen off? Have the children made better, more pleasing models since? Well, if the answer is yes you’re allowed to say that these decorations have served their purpose over the years and now it is time for the new creations to replace them. By now your children will have already experienced the pleasure of making them and seeing them on tree in previous years.
If you do feel the need to get more decorations try to stick with a theme to limit the overwhelming choice. My criteria is hand knitted charity ones – ideally made by old ladies for a good cause. The only decoration I’ve bought this year is a cute knitted navy jumper with brown elbow patches and a white RNLI logo, with all the proceeds going to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It feels better to buy something with a story behind it rather something mass produced and sold by a high-street chain. It is also another way to make a festive charitable donation now I’ve stopped buying any Christmas cards.
If you feel you still have too many decorations try to order them in preference – so your Top 30 or ask yourself which ones you’d like your children to hang from their own trees one day – so which ones will become family heirlooms?
Last year was the first time I managed to let go off my control and let my children decorate the tree. I didn’t move one thing. It was hard but I tried to remember that there will be plenty of years in the future when the kids won’t be at home to help. And frankly if anyone is going to judge me on the spacing and aesthetic balance of my decorations they shouldn’t be visiting in the first place.