Thursday, 8 December 2011

'Tis the season to be jolly

Being 8th December it’s the day of the Immaculate Conception and a public holiday in Italy. It is also the day people usually set aside for decorating their Christmas tree and decking their halls with boughs of holly.

I got my boughs of holly yesterday from a neighbor who kindly cut them for me from his beautiful ancient tree. I haven’t got a hall in my house but wondered how I would have decked it with boughs of the wretched stuff if I had. Beautiful but very prickly. I cut lots of ivy too as it’s a bit more twisty and cooperative, and bay leaves which smell nice.

This morning Marco got the tree and the balls and all the other decorations out of the cantina, a sort of cellar under the house. We hadn’t been down there since the flood and were pleasantly surprised to find most things still usable.
Eve was beside herself with excitement and gleefully kept reminding me of how last year I had broken one of the glass balls!!
‘You dropped it off the table, do you remember Mummy! It was the best ball and you broke it into hundreds of tiny pieces.’
‘Yes, and you broke about 10,’ I smiled. I should have known better. My daughter is a bit sensitive and hates being told she has done something wrong.
‘It’s always my fault. You always blame me for everything!!’ she screamed rushing into her room and slamming the door.

In the meantime Marco was precariously balanced on the ladder outside her room trying to fix the Merry Christmas flags that I’d made over the window. He was angry because I asked him to use Blue Tac which, as an Italian, he doesn’t recognise as a major invention.
‘There’ll be little blue blobs when we take the flags down!’
‘Yes but they’ll be 2 ½ metres up. The blobs will be tiny. No one will notice.’
‘Yes but the best way to put up….’ etc. etc.

The day had started in the traditional family way.

Yet, we finally found plugs for all the lights, agreed on where to put the boughs of holly, compromised on what to hang on the tree and Eve decorated her own bedroom too! (see photo!) 

Perfect. It was the sort of afternoon when you want to put the fairy lights on and enjoy the cozy atmosphere with a glass of wine and a happy family…

The ‘problem’ was that outside it was about 20° with the low autumn sun blazing into the house from all directions. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. 20° is obviously better than 10° which is still better than 0°. It just didn’t feel particularly Christmassy and I thought wistfully of all my friends in colder climes who were roasting their chestnuts by open fires.

I decided to have a glass of wine and switch on the fairy lights and meditate on the situation in any case. It worked. Tis the season to be jolly after all.