Monday 7 December 2009

Preparation Is Everything!

With the festive season approaching with alarming speed, my thoughts have been centering around the subject of decoration, especially of The Tree. I used to adore the aroma of pine trees (Pinus Sylvestris) of my childhood; it scented the room with resinous anticipation that spelled Christmas.

Now, they've been replaced by other less fragrant varieties not so prone to dropping their needles at an alarming rate, but which deny the senses their yearly wallowing in the spirit of Christmas Past, for time was spruce trees were unheard of, and the Scots or Scotch Pine ruled supreme.

Because of their needle dropping propensity, though, my Mum, and later my Hubby, banned their entry into the house until, almost literally, the eleventh hour on Christmas Eve. I can remember my Dad, surrounded by at least two, and sometimes three, strings of lights, desperately trying to achieve one complete working set, when it was finally time to deck the tree, if not the halls! These days, cheap lights are almost two-a-penny, but back then lights were a considered purchase, and not to be relegated to the scrap heap at the flicker of a bulb. They were wired up in series ( I think I have the correct term, but maybe not - it might have been parallel) so that if one bulb blew, they all went out together, making finding the one dud bulb an absolute nightmare.

So it was with these happy thoughts in mind that I picked up pad and pencil this morning, and waited for the muse to strike. This was the result.

Oh, Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum...

It's time to get the tinsel out and check the Christmas lights,
the fairy and the baubles - all the seasonal delights.

The tinsel's looking tarnished. May be time to get some more?
And what about the holly wreath to hang upon the door?

It's only artificial, so should be fit to use…
Not so sure about the lights…I think they've blown a fuse.

I test them with a gadget which tells me they are good.
I only need replace a bulb - I rather thought I would;

there's always one that lets you down! Now, where did I put the spares?
I think they're in an old shoe box I've tucked away upstairs

inside the back room cupboard, near the plastic Christmas tree.
That'll need a lot of sprucing up - Ha! I said 'spruce' you see?

A crafty way to compensate for its not being real,
but merely pseudo needles in wire twists as tough as steel.

But once you've bent 'em back in shape, dressed branches one and all,
the tree will look a picture, when Old Santa comes to call!


  1. We had one of those strings for a long time -- the kind where if one went out, they all did.

  2. That was lovely! There's nothing like the spirit of Christmas to get us in the mood!

    CJ xx

  3. the end result is such the pleasure, the getting there... a test of ones sanity, hee heee heeee

  4. Yes, the Spirit is in the air. I love the poem. Artificial trees long replaced real ones in ly life as I have specific allergies to several species.

    I don't own a tree as decorating become a chore not shared by others. I have a small decoration I intend to set up in 5 minutes.

    My husband strung one outside tree with lights and that will probably be it for us this year.

    However I am at peace with it, more than I thought I would be. We were edging toward this status last year. Our decision to spend on our dollars on others outside our normal circle of friends is fun so far. I know it will only make a dent in the needs of others, but if the idea multiplies, it could be like ripples on a pond.

  5. Jinksy

    Yes, strange isn't it? We seem to have had lots of sets of lights over the years, but those few we had when I was a child still remain special.

  6. You've given me a jump start on writing something new for Christmas. I mostly re-publish older things at this time of year, as they're all things I'm proud to have written, but I really wanted to get up something new. I think a piece to do with Christmas trees, accompanied by a few choice old photos.

    Thank You!

  7. Tis the season to be jolly -
    just nipped out to get some holly -
    not a berry there in sight -
    fieldfares been there since last night!
    (still their need is greater than mine wouldn't you say?)

  8. BTW Thanks so much for that website - popped over and looked at their frogs etc and ordered a catalogue. Carlisle is not so very far away - it would be possible to go up come the better weather.

  9. Great poem my friend.....and I can still see my mom untangling lights....oh the arguments that happened if anyone got in her way, still makes me smile when I think about it.
    My tree comes in three sections and is pre-lit and I love whoever invented it......I am tree light challenged......:-) Hugs

  10. 'Pseudo needles, a great phrase. And it says it all.

  11. Hi Jinksy,
    Your muse has struck with some force. A delightful rhyme for the season. Here in Oz we have Pinus radiata (home grown)and traditionally decorated on Christmas eve and taken down on the 6th. of January. We only have twinkle lights on the fir tree in the garden, in the house we always have real candles.

  12. you probably know this already if you read my blog at all, but this year we got a live tree like the last 29 years and don't take it down until jan 6 and the tree i dig up{lost my saw} is so green i never have a problem with dryness....i would love to break the tradition by my 26 year old daughter would strangel me in the night if a waivered and the other solution is a 5o dollar tree from thursbys and since this one is free, and i'm a chepo, but this year i made the daughter go with me and she couldn't see it because her eye brows were frozen and like every year a shinning light appeared above the barlow family chritmas tree

  13. I thought that my father was the only one who strung together two or three strings of lights. As soon as I inherited them they went to the charity shop and I bought some decent lights. That was 17 years ago and they are still going strong.

  14. Oh what GREAT memories your blog and poem bring to me! Thank you, jinksy! Thank you sooo much.
    I had forgotten that the tree is supposed to have a lovely smell... We haven't had a live one in so many years, I had almost forgotten....but when you wrote about it, I got a whiff of that wonnnnderful Christmas-tree aroma. I do miss that.
    And those lights! Yes! THOSE lights. When one went out...the whole bloomin' string went out. It was a scavenger hunt!! (But fun!)
    So many many more memories you stirred. I love the poem, my friend.
    Smiles to you,

  15. I love poem.. and you even sneaked a pun into it.;)

  16. Love the poem! Yes, we have an artificial tree now, too. And I hadn't realised the reason that real trees don't smell right anymore!

    We had some amazing lights when I was young, but we had a huge tree, too - the top always got bent over by the ceiling. So the thick flex on the enormous, clunky, but utterly charming lights were able to be hidden by branches and didn't look too bad. We had a set where each light was over an inch long and probably an inch wide, as well. There were some plain coloured almond-shaped bulbs, but also there were bunches of grapes, santas, snowmen, all sorts of stuff. I loved those lights!

    And yes, I remember my Dad swearing while trying to find the blown bulb, AND getting shocks! LOL!

  17. I guess we all have similar experiences of
    decorating post is about finally getting it done. I loved your poem Jinksy!

  18. Hello Jinksy,

    Happy(?) memories of tree light tangles - and then standing on a bulb as they're strewn across the floor! In a TV programme a few years ago, they demonstrated that the Norwegian Spruce, which I think is our most common tree nowadays, is both the best and worst for needle retention depending on whether you can keep it watered!

  19. *smiles*
    Thank you!

    Bent back into shape
    and ready for Christmas,
    that's the spirit!

  20. Your Muse is working well, Jinksy! I very much enjoyed your poem. It has inspired me to dig out and put up my bedraggled fake tree. I look forward (not) to seeing what damage the cats can do to it this year.

  21. There's a place I like to go at a certain time of year and just inhale all the pine scented goodness...and that reminded me; we've yet to get a tree for our new flat! But at least I can check all the lights. Wonderful poem, Jinksy :)

  22. Love the poem. We have an artificial tree, but I didn't have to bend and twist anything, since Daughter and Granddaughter are living here at the present,they put the tree up and they will take it down around the 1st. of Jan. I have a fiber optic tree in the living room, but don't set as many things out to decorate like I usually do, since the cat is also living here and he loves to check everything out and take his front paw and knock things down. So it's easier not to have so much sitting around. LOL Plus that's a good excuse for not doing it.

  23. I adore this poem! I went artificial several years ago and haven't looked back.


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