Normally I like to think this blog is all about finding ways to embrace living with young kids, but sometimes I’m happy to admit defeat. And when it comes to decorating my Christmas tree, it’s a whole different ball game.
I can deal with toys around the place (admittedly the wooden ones only as the plastic’s hidden in cupboards and boxes). Children’s artwork on the wall? Not a problem at all. And I can handle messy toddler doodles all over my beautiful blackboard wall. But let my children decorate the family Christmas tree? You must be having a laugh.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks I’ve seen dozens of Christmas tree shots posted to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I’ve noticed that we parents can be divided into two camps: those that hand over the decorating control to their offspring, and those of us who don’t.I envy the other camp. They nimbly dodge the pressure to show off their decorating skills and instead they get to bask in the creativity of their kids, chuckling affectionately at the erratic arrangement of baubles. But for a control freak like me, there’s no way on this earth I could look at a badly decorated tree for longer than, ooh, about ten minutes.
And so today, after a wonderfully frosty trip to a local tree grower to pick the perfect Christmas tree, I found myself hiding in the playroom, with the sound of plastic bauble after plastic bauble hitting the laminate floor in the living room ringing in my ears. I’d thought I was up to it. I thought I could relinquish control, a control I’ve held tightly onto for over two decades – I was prepared to give up my role as The Person Who’s In Charge Of Decorating The Tree. Two three-year-olds were let loose on my beautiful tree.
After the 12th bauble was hung on one single branch, my decision was made. We popped out, and I dashed into our local garden centre where I bagged myself a sale bargain of two, suitably hideous, LED lit mini trees. Presenting one to each twin with a flourish, I talked up how amazing it was to have their own tree to decorate. Thankfully they got the subtext. “So,” said Ez, “the big tree is Mummy and Daddy’s?” She was so near and yet so far. No kids, the big tree is Mummy’s and Mummy’s alone.
Step away from my tree.
The answer? A tree for the kids and a tree for me