Saturday, December 13, 2008

Putting up the Christmas tree

And today we put up the Christmas tree!!!

Growing up in an erstwhile British colony as I did, Christmas was always a festival we celebrated at home. But it was mostly about Santa coming with gifts and individually iced cup-cakes for tea. Somewhere along the line, the festival petered out, except for that one time in b-school when I attended midnight mass with friends.

Five years back, my, then, month old son had a very bad attack of colic on Christmas Day, and had to be rushed to the Casualty ward of the hospital where he had been born. Being a good Catholic hospital, there was a nativity scene in the lobby, and I promised myself that if we were able to tide over the crisis, I’d get a Christmas tree for my son the next year.

We did.

At 25 months, Christmas was an adventure for my son. He loved Santa, he loved the tiny Christmas tree that I got him, and which graced the dining table for two weeks. He loved everything. Post Christmas, we put the tree away for the following year.

The next year, we got him a real tree, which he helped pick out at the nursery. We also got him a Santa hat that he loved donning. But when we tried to show him a real Santa, he was old enough to get scared and start crying. A couple of days after the New Year, the Christmas tree was taken out of its pot and put in the ground.

The next year, there were two kids celebrating Christmas. We got a new real tree, but since it did not look too good, we also got a huge artificial tree that could be lit up. We cut paper snowflakes to stick on the glass doors, we got lots of new decorations, and new Christmas stockings. Most evenings, I strolled outdoors, just so I could look at the sparking tree and imagine I was anywhere but in India.

The artificial trees traveled with us to Mumbai, and last year, graced the living room for just over a fortnight. Unfortunately, the lights did not work any longer, but in any case, they would not have looked as effective in a well lit room as they did in a dark room that was seldom used. All the activity took place around the tree, and surprisingly, most of the ornaments survived nearly intact to be put away for use the next year.

My older one is now five years old. He is a big boy, and likes to think he is very independent. He decided to decorate the tree himself, and did a fairly good job of it. The decorations are slightly bottom heavy, but I know they are only going to get better as my son grows taller.

And now for the big question – should I, or should I not buy some better ornaments. The plastic made in China angels, stars, reindeers and drums have served us well, as have the cardboard and glitterly paper presents and baubles, but if the kids have realized that they should stay away from the tree, maybe it is time for better ornaments?

Or maybe I should not push my luck too far!


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