Kids ruin pretty things. Houses. Greetings cards. Christmas trees. I’m really sorry but homemade by the children… Well, it’s just not my thing.
I have said many times how much it stresses me out that my home looks like an explosion in Toys R Us. Even with storage boxes in primary colours, struggling to contain a million toy cars and dinosaurs and other plastic tat, the house looks a mess. “Excuse the mess, my children are making memories.” No. Excuse the mess, my children are feral and I’m on the verge of a breakdown. Triple gin and tonic, anyone?
Perhaps, I’m a terrible person (please don’t answer that) but I fail to understand why anyone would allow this mess to spread to their Christmas tree. I am sure it is wonderful, allowing your children to participate in decorating at Christmas but would you allow your children to decorate your walls? I am sure it gives everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling, like something out of ‘Christmas on Walton’s Mountain’. Or worse, a Topsy the Twonk and Tim the Twerp Christmas special (I haven’t come across one yet but if anyone knows if/ when it is on, please let me know so that I can be certain to avoid it and lie about its existence to my children). However, allowing your children to decorate your tree increases the likelihood that it will look… errr…well, shite. There, I said it. Your beautiful tree will be lopsided, there will be gaps. Not to mention bottom heavy, unless you are averse to health and safety and let your six-year-old scale a ladder and sort out the top of your 7ft tree. Children aren’t famed for beautifully hand crafted decorations. Instead they produce explosions of glitter, poorly cut out with bits of pasta stuck on. What exactly is that about? (Oh, sorry, silly me! Nothing says Christmas quite like dried fusilli and Pritstick). Your wonderful tree, real or fake, either or, could look stunning, symmetrical. It could resemble something out of a 5th Avenue window or the Rockefeller centre (does anywhere do Christmas quite like New York?) But if you let the kids do it, they will trash the tinsel and balls up baubles.
This year, my Christmas tree was a family affair. Mainly because I asked I asked my mum to decorate it. (Kids are shit at it, even 33-year-old kids) She does do a good job of bouffing a bush. It looks magical. She should have been a window dresser. Am I missing out on memories? Well, no, actually. I don’t have memories of reams of lights being knotted by children wrapping them round their necks or stars being smashed and tantrums about tinsel. The tree was erected peacefully by my mother, aided with a cup of coffee and a cream cake. There were no cries of joy as my mum carefully and purposefully placed the decorations on the tree but there were no cries of blue murder, either.
This is the first year that my eldest son, who will be three in February, has been fully aware of what this Christmas thing is all about. Well, he’s not well up on Jesus but he sure as hell has got the measure of this Father Christmas dude. There was nothing more spectacular than the look on his face when he came home from nursery to see the beautiful tree in Tiffany Blue, which arrived with Buddy the (bastard) Elf in the (bloody) Shelf. No, we didn’t tell him it was Nanny Val. I’m not a complete Scrooge. I wanted to create some magic for him so he believes that the elf brought our tree and decorated it especially for us with his magic.
I’m not without sentiment. We have a super cute family of Christmas decorations with our names on. We have personalised stockings and a “Baby’s First Christmas” bauble for our youngest. I’m not totally unappreciative of my son’s artistic efforts either. I do feel pangs of guilt when I do not keep each and every piece of art work he comes home with from nursery. We have an integrated fridge so I don’t have anywhere to display them and I would display them on a fridge for a short while, no matter how crappy. I do always tell him they are amazing. I also make him
ruin enhance his grandparents Christmas and birthday cards by scribbling rubbish drawing pictures in them or writing his favourite letters (what the FUCK? Who even has a favourite letter?), to add that extra bit of love.
Maybe it’s because I’m crap at crafts that I don’t bother to do shoddy splurges of paint or stick pieces of tissue paper to card and say it’s a whale. (He’ll only change what he says the picture is of each time we mention it anyway) Maybe I am neglectful for not being arty. Maybe I am mean for not allowing my children to share in the
stress joy of decorating a Christmas tree. I am sure all your ‘homemade-with-love’ trees look lovely and it’s great that they hold so many memories for you. But crafts = crap everywhere. There is a place for this mess. For me, the place for this mess is nursery and definitely not on my Christmas tree!!