Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Trees. Choosing and Decorating the Christmas Tree Is One of the True Joys of the Festive Season. Josh Farrington Has the Low Down on Bagging the Best Fir

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Trees. Choosing and Decorating the Christmas Tree Is One of the True Joys of the Festive Season. Josh Farrington Has the Low Down on Bagging the Best Fir

Article excerpt

Byline: Josh Farrington

WE DON'T put up the tree till late in my house. While shops all over the country seem to be festooned with Christmas decorations from the end of the summer holidays onwards (Selfridges in London really does put out its Christmas display in early September), my house seems to be the last in the country to give in, never clearing a space in the living room until a week before Christmas Day at the very earliest.

Christmas doesn't properly start until the tree is there, and it has to be a real one, no matter how much hassle it may be - for me, the smell of a real tree is the smell of Christmas itself.

Buying it is always the same, a mess of arguments about height, bushiness, and that all-important symmetry, quickly cut short by the mud, the bitter cold, and the realisation that we're standing in a draughty tent at the edge of a miniature forest, when we could be inside with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

Getting it home is always the same too, desperately trying to fit it in the back of the car, half of it hanging out of the boot, whilst everyone gets tickled and scratched by the hundreds of needles it already seems to be shedding.

Putting it up is the same as well, in fact, everything about it is the same, year after year, and that, of course, is the point: it's tradition. And nothing is more important at Christmas than tradition. It's why we brave the dark of the attic every winter, to try and win back our box of Christmas decorations from the depths of a giant spider's web. It's why we spend hours untangling yards upon yards of fairy lights, only to find out that they were all broken anyway.

And in the end, we'll know it was all worth it, just so we can sit around the brightly lit tree, hung with all the decorations we've accumulated over the years, topped off with the angel that my mum stitched herself, and truly enjoy the real heart of Christmas. …

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