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
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.
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?