The very first thing we used to do at the chime of December was choose a Christmas tree; this was a job for the children. We would pile into the back of the car in the late afternoon and drive up into the neighbouring pine tree forests to select the perfect tree.
The pine forests near my hometown were awesome. Row upon row of green beauties all whispering to each other. There were no Christmas tree farms back then, it was just wide open spaces dotted with pine trees of all shapes and sizes as far as the eye could see.
It was magical to be walking between these beauties all towering above my head and whispering “pick me”, “pick me”. When we had all agreed (there were four children, so this was sometimes a long process) we would tie our chosen tree to the top of the car with the branches flopping up and down and obscuring our view through the windows.
When the tree was safely back in the house, it was time to decorate.
I remember the box of decorations like it was yesterday.
There were hundreds of gorgeous little wooden trinkets and hearts, all handmade and utterly delightful. (I suspect that my love of European Christmas started then). I adored the job of decorating the tree, as I was the oldest of the four children; I felt that it was my job to make the tree look as beautiful as possible.
It stood magnificently in the lounge room and reached into the cornices of the ceiling, it all but engulfed this small space. The room started to sparkle, flicker and twinkle with the addition of festive ornaments, embellishments and the trimmings of Christmas.
The youngest always got to put the star on the top but I was happy to oblige, I stood back and admired our handiwork. As the sun danced on the windows surrounding the tree, the silver and gold would flicker and catch our eyes, I was like a bower bird staring at shiny objects.
I often reflect on these childhood memories, as one does when you have children of your own.
What is it that makes you reminisce and feel fuzzy; it’s the magic of it all.
The perfectness of that time of your life, just enjoying being a child and life was wonderful; you didn’t know anything else really.