Yeah you should see Polythene Pine…

I don't remember exactly when, but at some point in the early 1990s my sister and I were helping my mum and dad decorate our Christmas tree. We were so little we could barely reach half the branches, but my dad would lift us up onto his shoulders so we could reach the top. As the professional artist in the family my mum would stand behind us judging our performance and telling us where to put things, and my dad would scuttle around the base of the tree to help us get to where she wanted. The tree was so massive it lit the room at night with a warm glow, and allowed plenty of space for presents underneath!

As I'm sure is the case with many Western families, decorating the tree was always a family tradition for us that we all looked forward to almost as much as Christmas itself. Even as my mum started her decade and a half long chemotherapy treatment, she'd still make it to the loungeroom in early December to help out, even if all she could do was sit in a chair and observe. It was unspoken, but we were celebrating the fact she was still with us for another Christmas as much as we were celebrating the holiday itself.

A few days before Christmas in 2007, she left us peacefully in her sleep. We kept the tree up that year, but we never had them again.

Our Christmas Tree

That would be a great Beatles song

Four years later, and we decided we were finally ready to have another tree. Again. Maybe. So we navigated the family sleigh to Big W, a reputable organisation selling plastic trees from sustainable petrochemical plantations, and bought a modest but lovely 1.8m pine.

Over the course of the afternoon, we unpacked the decorations we'd left in storage for years, and decorated the tree to the same cheesy Bing Crosby music and the same doggies looking inquisitively at us. Surprisingly, we were in good spirits for most of the time, and the tree turned out wonderfully. If she couldn't be there with us, at least we were using the decorations she largely chose and bought for us over the years, and we were thinking of her the whole time.

For you mummy. Merry Christmas, and stop mocking the way I'm dancing to Dean Martin. <3 hugs