What’s Your Story Little Fairy?


There are several reasons why I named my blog Not Just the 3 of Us.

One of them was to acknowledge how our lives are so much richer because of the people who are in it.

Being a bit of a sentimentalist at heart,  the Christmas Tree putting up ceremony for me and mine is full of lovely memories of all of these special moments and special people.

It’s the 5th of December and the decorations are going up so grab yourself a cuppa because we’re going to have a little trip down Memory Lane.

Our tree decoration generally takes a while because as each little bauble comes out there is a little story and memory.

A lot of the stories go back to the days when I moved in to my first flat aged 22.  This was a very significant time in my life and holds a truly special place in my heart.

I think it’s safe to say that there wasn’t much money around during those five years.  It was a time when donations were greatly received.

I also didn’t have a Christmas tree.

Donations came in from various people that Christmas.

Sheila and Johnny

Sheila and Johnny are the parents of my lovely friend, Tina.

Sheila & Johnny came up trumps that year.  Not only did they provide me with a tree (which interestingly was made of all plastic and felt like stickle bricks) but they also gave me some lovely decorations and lights.

Group photo of the decorations


The Lights

I’m going to do a big shout out for the lights here.  I kid you not they have been going every blooming year since.

Every year we have the ceremony of the lights and they have not let us down.  They have been with me for 24 years.  I am not sure how many years Sheila and Johnny had already had them but I think it’s safe to say that they don’t make things liked they used to.  You guys would be proud.


I first met Joan on the 1st January 1991 whilst surveying the empty flat that was to be my home for the next five years.  Joan lived opposite and had been in the block for many years.  She was the ‘Guardian’ of the 6th floor and she told me in no uncertain terms how she would like to things to proceed.

Noise and loud parties would be frowned upon and the 6th floor should be kept spick and span.  I dutifully obliged and felt reassured that I was going to be under the watchful eye of Joan.  I do seem to remember my mum mumbling something about an old cow under her breath but I’m sure she would never have said that.  Must have been beef for dinner that day.

I think I managed to be a good neighbour for the best part of five years and only managed to fall foul of the rules once.  I was well aware that Joan would always know what I was doing.

On entering my front room that first Christmas and seeing my tree, Joan declared “you can’t have a tree with no fairy” and rushed off and returned with this lovely lady who we now know as “Joan”.


I was so touched by this offering.  Coming from a home where Christmas was so steeped in tradition, I knew that every item of Christmas ware held a special place in the house from whence it came.

It would have its own special story.

So thank you Joan for adorning my tree with a fairy that year and for all of the years since.

I would also like to apologise for phoning the council and telling them that my flat was too hot.  I am only grateful that you managed to intercept them when they called and you were absolutely right to be waiting for me on the doorstep when I came home from work that night.

I would also like to say that you were right, I did have a couple of boyfriends while I lived there.  Although, the night you saw the boots on my doorstep was not one of them.  They actually belonged to a friends husband who was dropping off some things for us to take to Australia.  He was ‘old school’ Joan and didn’t want to tread on my carpet with his dirty boots.   I know you would approve of this.

Iron Man and The Kid don’t like the fairy.

They think she is scary.

Your work in my house is done Joan.

The Wicker Decorations


My mum used to love to come to my flat during the day while I was out at work.  She called it her haven.  No 89 John Burns Drive came to us just after we lost my dad and I am glad that it held a special place in her heart too.

I also know that while she was there, Mum would do a cupboard check to make sure I had enough food.  Being a war child, mum’s cupboard was always well stocked with tins.  Emergency supplies.  Seeing my cupboard  empty, she would think I wasn’t eating.  I explained many times that I only bought what I needed and that I didn’t need emergency supplies but she still insisted on restocking and I would come home to a full cupboard.

She also felt sorry for the tree and thought it looked a little bare and so came the wicker decorations.  She was very proud that they had cost 10p each.  I love them.  I often wonder what she would say if she saw how much they were being knocked out for at Christmas markets now.

It is very poignant that we generally acquire many of these things after people have left us.

There are two ways of looking at this.  One is to be sad.  The other is to cherish the memories that they have left behind.

We do the latter.


The top decoration from the family home.  I love these snowballs.


What I particularly love is that they are yellowing and showing their age.

They also smell of Christmas.

There is nothing quite like the smell of Christmas decorations.  That lovely ‘tinselly’, dusty smell that you get as you open the box each year.



When dad came home with these one year, I really thought we had ‘arrived’.  Richer than all riches.  There is such an elegance about these silky baubles that I feel special just looking at them.

When Two Homes Come Together

Iron Man came with a full set of his own Christmas memorabilia to join the gang.


New Additions

And along came The Kid in 2006.

Here are her first tree decorations from her Nana Joy and Nanny Jan.

So there we are.  All done.

And before you start thinking this is one of those idyllic social media and blog stories of a perfect day, I’d just like to say that The Kid was an absolute horror from the moment she got up.

Further I really would love to put Joan on her pillow one night!!!!

I won’t of course.   Iron Man first.

How does your tree decorating take shape?  Do you have similar stories to share?



My Random Musings


A Bit Of Everything
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

33 thoughts on “What’s Your Story Little Fairy?

  1. This post really did make me giggle. You’ve a real humour that comes through – loved the old cow comment!!

    I really hope that our decorations have such memories one day. I ditched my old ones because they were of ‘old’ life – before husband and kids. This is our first year as family of 4 so I felt we should start together again. I hope to build on it each year together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Laura. How lovely that it’s your first Christmas as 4. My daughter also wants me to ditch the ‘old fashioned’ for modern ones. I’ve told her they are hers once we are gone! Of course you will start lovely new ones, it’s exciting. Thanks for commenting. Nicky


  2. Every year we pop down to a little shop called allsorts that does a little Christmas cave full of decorations and the kids get to pick out one decoration to add to the tree, needless to say they always fall in love with more than one and our tree is leaning a little precariously these days, but we love it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I know the very shop you are talking about Kathryn! I was in there yesterday making some surprise purchases. I have to say that whilst I was there I did think about taking missy back as it is the sort of shop that kids love with all the nooks and ‘crannies’. I love the idea of getting something new each year but you are right, there is never just one! Thanks for commenting. Nicky x


  3. All of your stories are lovely! Joan your friend is so lovely & fairy Joan is precious. She has a nice old fashioned look to her which I love on the Christmas tree. It’s nice to have a story behind the different ornaments. The birth of a child, ones the kids painted, gifts from friends or family. Our tree is the same & I love looking at each ornament as we decorate. #TwinklyTuesday x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Becky. Joan certainly holds many memories and I hope she continues to do so. I like the old fashioned look although I get where the other two are coming from. It sounds as though your tree takes as long to decorate as ours – lovely isn’t it. Thank you for commenting. Nicky x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a brilliant idea for a post. I have similar memories and stories to go along with all my ornaments and decorations. None of them are store-bought and all of them are 50-75 years old, gathered over several lifetimes and through depressions, recessions and other financial impossibilities throughout the lives of my parents and grandparents. Each is precious in its own way. This post of yours is a great reminder of what Christmas is *really* all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. It sounds like you have quite a wonderful collection too. I’m interested in the fact that you say none of them are store bought – I’m guessing they are from a combination of charming little shops or homemade. You must have some real beauties. You probably feel just as I do every time I look at the tree. I’m sure there are many others too. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Nicky X


  5. Awww I really love this. I especially love the slightly menacing but wonderful Fairy Joan. I don’t really have any old decorations on my tree. I moved around a lot for a number of years and so having a lot of stuff was never very practical. This post has inspired me to find and create some new special bits and pieces so that we have some family stories in future years. #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my love! Joan is certainly keeping things under control, I feel like she is a relative! It’s never too late to start your collection. There are so many delicious decorations around. The kids love to choose them each year. Thanks for commenting. Nicky X


    1. Thank you! I think Joan is doing a good job of keeping us all on the straight and narrow. I can see how she is likened to a horror movie doll by my husband and daughter though. Thanks for commenting. Nicky x


  6. What a gorgeous post, Nicky! I loved each story behind each decoration! It does bring so much meaning and sentimentality to Christmas! I wished I kept some of mine but having moved so much, it much has been lost. I have started keeping little keepsakes, especially of the children, hoping that they each can take theirs when they have their own homes and their own trees. A little reminder of their childhood christmas spent with Mum and Dad. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything


    1. Thank you very much Agent Spitback. I am sure your new purchases will build up and they will be the ones that you and your children remember. Probably by the time our kids grow, Christmas Trees will be projected off the walls with 3D decorations so even the simplest bauble will seem old fashioned! Nicky x


  7. Lol i just love the comment towards the end about putting Joan on her pillow. I really enjoyed reading about all the special memories your decorations hold. When it comes to decorating our tree it’s a little hard to reminisce as the decorations get walked off in all sorts of directions lol. Xx #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like the idea of memory decorations. It was lovely to read the story behind each one. I like the sentimentality that putting up your tree brings 🙂 We have some home/school made decs of the children’s on our tree, but that is about it with regard to memories. I can feel a change coming on! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I particularly love the school decs too. I didn’t go into that section for fear the blog would be 20 pages. I mean how can I ever throw anything away that The Kid made. Same for you I expect. Thanks for reading. Nicky x


  9. What lovely memories you have for your tree. We don’t on ours, new decorations every few years and only named/specifically bought ones last although I still have my daughters first stocking from 2006 though with her name on it, she of course had a baby’s first one but we got a red one with her name on too which still goes up every year #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We still have a change around colour wise. I have a tree in the front room and one in dining room as they are separate room. One has traditional, one gets a makeover every couple of years. I love all the baby stuff too. I’m not allowed to use the baby’s first Christmas 2006 stocking now though! Boo hoo;-) Thanks for commenting Tracey. Nicky x


  10. I love that they all have their own little stories! I love those silk baubles too – as a kid I use to sit and stroke them! Lol. It’s only our second Christmas as a little family (I discount the other Christmases I had in my own place as I then moved back in with mum and dad…) so everything is still pretty shiny and new at the moment. I did buy a retro fairy on ebay though because my mum had done the unthinkable and put their old one in the bin when she bought a fancy new tree (as if to celebrate me moving out, hopefully for good…) #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That made me laugh the last bit Jess! I remember my mum chasing me down the street saying ‘take these’ after I moved out. I like the sound of your retro fairy, I reckon she will become a ‘Joan’ figure in time! Thanks for commenting. Nicky X


  11. I love how decorations have a back story and I always enjoy hearing about them. I think Joan is one of the best I have heard 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really love the wicker ones, I’ve got a gingerbread and red gingham theme going on in the dining room and they look fab with that – can’t go wrong for 10p as my mum would have said!! Thanks for commenting. Nicky x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this post Nicky!! It is really nice to know all the stories behind your decorations. I think it makes such a difference to the whole “Decorating the Christmas Tree” as it is just so special to go with one by one decoration and remember every single story again! We got last year 2 little angels with my girls names from my parents in law which are so adorable and really nice to keep for years to come. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I’m so happy to have you again this week! 🙂 xx


    1. Thank you Franca. The angels sound really lovely and they will be lovely for the girls in years to come. Children seem to remember where every single decoration comes from don’t they. Thank you for hosting, see you next year. Have a fab Christmas xx

      Liked by 1 person

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