Rosie spots a tiny flaw in the defining TV series of her generation, while James starts a brand new tradition in their final columns of 2021.
I am currently in the throes of my second, definitely-not-Covid-because-I-have-done-three-million-tests cold, in as many months. To cure it, I’ve taken to exclusively dressing in men’s tracksuit bottoms and comfort eating — preferably a tin of biscuits a night, in front of an episode or three of And Just Like That.
For the first time in my life, I bought a Christmas tree. This is not to say that I have never had a Christmas tree before. I have grown up with them, lovingly crafted by my mother who, when living on a 20th floor apartment in New York City, would calamitously drag it from the street corner, through the lobby of the building, before stuffing said tree and herself into the lift. Or ‘elevator’, as we called it back when we were living over there.
Things were more simple when we moved to Suffolk (being on the ground floor for a start) and the tree has been delivered on the first of December each year like clockwork, whereupon my dad is now responsible for dragging it across the lawn.
So now it was my turn. Out I went on a curious ramble looking for a corner whereupon I might find a man or woman with some trees. I started at the Big Tesco and found nothing. I went to the Big Lidl and also found nothing, but eventually on my return journey a tree was spotted, haggled over, and agreed. I dragged it down the street, into the house and set to work.
But, ah, what’s this? I have absolutely zero accoutrements for a Christmas tree (it wasn’t high up the list of things I would need when moving in). So for a day or two, I was sat in my living room, face to face with a bare tree. Not very Christmassy. Certainly not as Christmassy as watching my mother tenderly decorate her tree the way she always does, pulling out boxes and boxes of decorations, some new, some handed to her from her mother in Germany, who had got them from her mother. Ancient wooden relics that have seen wars and peace, now lovingly handled onto the Suffolk tree.
Mine, however, remained plain.
I have now purchased a star, and some silly fairy lights, and the Christmassy level has increased, but not by much. It certainly is no comparison to mother’s tree. However, what it does represent is the beginning of a collection, as with each new ornament added brings a memory, that itself will be remembered and celebrated for many Christmasses to come.
I will look at my cheap lights and my cheap star and remember my first Christmas in my new home. And with each passing year, something else will be added, and maybe one day, my tree will look like my mother’s, with all the memories that entails.
Rosie and Jim will be back in 2022. And the smart money says that Rosie will STILL be flat-hunting.
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