Despite the carpet of needles, the slight lean and the odd squashed bit, nothing beats the unmistakable scent permeating the entire house and the twinkling majesty of the christmas pine, steadfast in the corner of the room.
It seems there is a role for every family member to play in the christmas tree ritual. The careful manoeuver into the car by teenage son (rule of nature: size of tree selected must exceed boot depth by 50cm) with crossed fingers on the drive homeward that the prize does not escape through the unfastened hatch.
The installation into the living room – joint effort by all to ensure: tree stands straight rather than Pisa style, a minimum of detritus is shed along the way (mother’s priority) and enough room around base to allow for the sea of packages that will inevitably appear.
Lights must be expertly applied before any form of decoration takes place. Teenage son is then excused to attach metres of fairy lights around the periphery of the home Lampoon style. At this point, teenage daughter with self-claimed aesthetic prowess, proceeds to direct the decoration process with as much skill and concentration as a philharmonic conductor. (Should any individual make an inadvertent ornament placement, you can be sure it will be carefully adjusted during her private visits to the tree).
And taking in the wonder of it all, the youngest, whose role may not have visible significance, but one that ensures the magic, spirit and sparkle of the season pervades the entire household.