Today we are taking down the Christmas tree, and searching under furniture for all the scattered decorations, as it’s time to pack it all away until next year. My husband has taken our daughter out so I can do it on my own, because I know she will be most upset it is going. She has loved the twinkly lights, and often rushed downstairs in the morning and demanded we turn them on saying “c’mon mummy tree”.
I nearly got him to take her out when I put the tree up, but I didn’t in the end and I’m so glad of it. I thought putting up a tree with a toddler would be hassle, and after a busy week of rushing round I just wanted to get it up in the easiest possible way.
However once we got started it actually turned into one of the best experiences of the holidays. She was genuinely helpful passing me tree branches to put on the tree. She couldn’t quite get the ornaments onto the branches but she loved picking where to put them. Each new ornament that came out the box was met with such enthusiasm and joy.
When the lights came on and I saw her face light up it was magical.
I had already done a bit of preparation so I knew all the ornaments in the box were unbreakable and safe. No glass baubles for us this year, but lots of cloth animals, pom poms and gingerbread shapes (that got eaten within a few days) .
We actually managed not to have the tree knocked over the whole of Christmas, which I thought was a bit of a miracle. She loved taking the decorations off and rearranging them, and sometimes hiding them, but was surprisingly respectful of the tree. I suspect I’ll be finding stashes of decorations for months.
Before I had children putting up a tree was something I felt I had to do, but it didn’t really bring me joy, and I didn’t miss it when it was gone. But with a child it really felt magical, and I’m so glad I didn’t just treat it as a chore to put it up, but got to enjoy it with my daughter. Sometimes it’s too easy to see things as jobs to be done, rather than just embracing the chaos and enjoying the moment, even if it’s a bit more messy and unoredered than I’m used to.
This year I’ll be as sad as she is when the lights are gone but at least I’ll have all those hidden stashes of decorations to remind me throughout the year until its time to put it up again next year.