If you want to get some idea of our attitude towards Christmas, look for the song White Wine In The Sun by Tim Minchin. Neither of us are at all religious, we “just really like it.” Christmas is one of our favourite times of the year, because it’s the one time where we can spend any significant amount of time with our families without obligations like work getting in the way.
This year will be the ninth Christmas since we moved in together. It will also be the ninth Christmas in a row that we’ve spent away from home. You see, because seeing our families is important to us, every year we go to stay at one or other of our parents’ (we go to the other pair for New Year, and alternate the following year).
So, every first Saturday in December, we set up the Christmas tree, and Katy covers any feasible surface (as well as some unfeasible ones) in tinsel and fake holly. This may seem to be a bit early for some people (it’s the earliest Katy will allow it, after years of working in retail and decorating the shop in September), but we figured if we’re not going to be there over the actual holiday, we’re gonna enjoy the decorations while we can, damnit!
Over the first few years of doing this, the first Saturday in December gradually evolved into our own private little holiday, which we call Tree Day. This evolution happened without us really noticing it at first…
At one point we decided it would be nice to have mulled wine while we put the decorations up, because nothing says Christmas like “alcohol at lunch time.”
Then we decided that we really wanted to make Christmas dinner for ourselves, but we never got a chance. Our solution? Do it on Tree Day, complete with Christmas pudding (and a small cut of turkey, because there’s no way we can get through a whole bird ourselves).
Nowadays, the celebration has expanded to include ritual viewings The Nightmare Before Christmas (it’s a perfect time to watch it… right between Halloween and Christmas), and listening to “alternative” Christmas songs. The aforementioned White Wine In The Sun? That’s in there:
Corey Taylor of Slipknot’s XMA$? Yep. The South Park album Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics? Throw that on, too! Basically, anything that’s different to the traditional Christmas song has been apprehended and included in our Tree Day playlist.
The end result of this is the best of both worlds: We get to have Christmas our way, with the just two of us on Tree Day, and when the real Christmas rolls around a couple of weeks later, we get to spend quality time with our families. It also serves to make the erection of the Christmas tree and decorating of our flat into its own special ritual and celebration when it could be seen as just a chore.
I love this idea so much, I might want to adopt it. So what are YOUR Christmas tree decorating traditions?