Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal
Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal

Sarah Finnan

Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again
Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again

Sarah Finnan

Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered
Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered

Jennifer McShane

All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash
All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash

Holly O'Neill

‘I did it for me’: Simone Biles triumphantly takes Bronze at Tokyo Olympics
‘I did it for me’: Simone Biles triumphantly takes Bronze at Tokyo Olympics

Jennifer McShane

DreamWorks has just hired their first female composer – and she’s Irish
DreamWorks has just hired their first female composer – and she’s Irish

Sarah Finnan

WIN a Fitbit Sense health smartwatch, with tools for stress management
WIN a Fitbit Sense health smartwatch, with tools for stress management

IMAGE

Tom Ford’s new leather scent is as sophisticated as they come
Tom Ford’s new leather scent is as sophisticated as they come

Holly O'Neill

How to deal with failure: 4 tips on how to recover from a setback
How to deal with failure: 4 tips on how to recover from a setback

Colette Sexton

The ‘Friends’ cast just launched their first official limited-edition merch collection
The ‘Friends’ cast just launched their first official limited-edition merch collection

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

The Wonderful Liberation Of A Christmas Decoration Overhaul


by Sophie White
15th Dec 2017
blank

The trimming of the tree is one of the most fun parts of the Christmas period but sometimes artefacts of Christmas past hang around for far too long, Sophie White extolls the virtue of a ruthless decoration overhaul


The Christmas trees of my childhood were a source of conflict between myself and my mother – but then what hasn’t been?  She had some very stringent ideas about what was an appropriate style of dress for a Christmas tree. It was a childhood straddlng the late eighties and early nineties so the first Christmas trees I remember were clad in a single shade, an unwavering devotion to white with not so much as a speck of colour allowed near it.

It was a very, very intensely 80s vibe, one you could perhaps imagine now presiding ironically over a hipster Christmas in Shoreditch. However, it being Ireland in 1989 there wasn’t much by way of irony kicking around and my mother loved the white tree with all of her sincere little heart. One could even argue that she loved the white tree more than her only child, as my pleadings every year to introduce a bit of colour were roundly ignored.

Other families had coloured lights and tinsel and Santas and reindeer. ALL I WANTED was a whiff of nafftastic tinsel, a cheeky red Santa, ANY colour at all would’ve sufficed. Tinsel was a particular obsession of my child mind, the very idea of which my mother found particularly repellent. “So naff,” she sniffed. And this from a woman who’d spent much of the previous decade in shoulder pads and pink pants suits. I suspect that I can date the exact start of my mother disliking everything I like from this initial battle over tinsel. Of course, she would argue that this was the first clue to what an oppositional daughter I would become – one who always made a point of going against her on everything from what subjects to take in the Leaving Cert to what to wear to my wedding (oh yes she has an opinion on everything).

In 1994 (yes, I remember the date), she went to America and discovered new inspiration for the tree, a kind of Norman Rockwell aesthetic that, while being not nearly tacky enough for my tastes, did at least allow some colour into the festive proceedings.

All this aesthetic austerity imposed on me during childhood meant that when I finally broke free and began to amass my own decorations, the style was decidedly decadent. Tinsel-mania abounded as did various homemade baubles, including a random addition in the form of a small but remarkably life-like felt penis – probably what would be called a ‘hero’ decoration now.

As the years passed the tree evolved reflecting the different life stages I was navigating. In one flat-share, we made a garland of Dutch Gold cans, the year after we got married The Husband and I repurposed many of the wedding decorations I’d made for our wedding party, the year we were trying to buy our first house and were completely broke, we made decorations out of wrapping small empty boxes I’d been collecting for months.

This year was the first year it dawned on me that I don’t have the Christmas tree of the grown-up that I claim to be. Every year since we moved into our house has been lean financially. Since the Dutch Gold garland, babies have been made, the mortgage has to be paid, the roof is leaking, the car insurance has gone up again and there is always work to do and more importantly, serious things to address but this year I realised I couldn’t wait any longer. It’s been a harder year than most- I planned my first funeral this year, I nursed a new baby with all the joy and terror that can bring. We’ve had job gymnastics to contend with, not to mention the disappointing second season of Dr Foster to come to terms with.

“I deserve a decoration overhaul,” I thought as I surveyed the wreckage that had apparently constituted ‘careful storage’ when we dismantled the tree last year. Okay, I’m sure the decision was in part inspired by the sheer exhaustion that set in as soon as I contemplated untangling the lights. I wanted to dropkick the whole lot into the bin.

Decision made, I sat down and began to think about what kind of Christmas decoration person I am at heart. Then I went to the shop and milled through a hundred quid on any old random thing I liked. Theme be damned. It felt amazing.

Now the tree is up, looking, if I’m honest, a little anaemic as we don’t really have the space for one of those big healthy, bushy trees, but clad in a whole new lewk, and I think it’s doing rather well. I highly recommend a decoration overhaul for anyone who is hitting the end-of-year lull after a difficult 12 months. We deserve it, we need some sparkle to remind us that even in the hard times a touch of tinsel can be just the tonic.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Also Read

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
TV presenter Kate Garraway says husband Derek is still “devastated by Covid”

Kate Garraway’s devastating Covid story is a reminder of why we must keep each other in mind as an invisible...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
The life-changing act of binning all your terrible underwear

A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...

By Sophie White

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
‘In a public health emergency, why does so much of the post-pandemic talk revolve around drinking?’

No other European country is having the same public order challenges our capital city is experiencing, writes Amanda Cassidy I...

By Amanda Cassidy

Vegan
EDITORIAL
Delicious vegan-friendly spots to try for a weekend brunch in Dublin

Check out three of our favourite vegan/veggie-friendly spots in Dublin worth trying this weekend. The best bit? Chances are, even...

By Jennifer McShane

stress
EDITORIAL
Are you up the walls? How the language of stress causes stress

Do you find yourself talking about how busy and stressed you are? With stress, the words we speak are like...

By Sophie White

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh