Saturday, 12 December 2009

Gaudete !

Although I had been organised enough to buy my Christmas stamps this year, I was less successful in getting an Advent wreath sorted. I was sure I'd be able to get purple and pink candles from the local art and crafts superstore (they sell everything else for making Christmas decorations and wreaths, and they had them last year) and so I was pretty horrified to discover that their selection of coloured candles had been seriously downsized... there were lots of red, green, gold and white candles, even black candles (I really don't want to begin to think about why anyone would want black candles!) but no purple ones.

After frantically scouring the shops, and even quite a few internet outlets, I managed to find some purple and pink pillar candles. They were a pretty sorry sight, with the purple ones being more pink than purple, and they really smelled ghastly. I was so annoyed, I didn't bother trying to find any greenery to pretty them up a bit, I just stuck them on a glittery-gold plate...

I haven't bothered with a tree for many years, mostly because I've always gone away for Christmas itself, and leaving a cat at home alone with what is effectively a climbing frame and dangly cat toys is asking for trouble. I do, however, always hanker after a Christmas tree: being of German extraction, one would expect nothing less! Some friends of mine decided to help me out this year, and they bought me a ready-decorated tree... so I put the tree up on Gaudete Sunday...

Admittedly, it was printed on a plastic sheet...

However, after looking at it for, ooooh, all of five minutes, I realised that I just couldn't live with it. I was, after all, my mother's daughter, and I had been brought up with very strict rules of tree decoration.

I decided to look for a small Christmas tree in a pot. After trying a couple of florists and a supermarket, I thought I'd pop along to the local DIY superstore. Most of the trees were far too big, but I spotted a reasonable-looking specimen sitting forlornly on a table. Unable to believe my luck at such a swift and satisfactory result, I made a beeline for it. I was promptly accosted by a middle-aged woman who appeared out of nowhere...

"Excuse me! That's mine! I have only just put that pot down while I looked for my husband!"

Scouring the shelves, I eventually found another candidate. It was less Christmas-tree-like than the first tree, but I hoped that the branches would settle once I'd put on some decorations - my mother had always needed to allow for settling overnight. Triumphant, I brought home my prize...

...which suddenly, at home, began to look rather less Christmassy than it had in the shop. In fact, it had rather a spindly, hedge-like quality about it...

I had assumed that the branches were held up by twine, and that they would spread out once the twine was removed. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, no twine was in evidence. I rang my mother for advice, and sent her a photo. "That's not a Christmas tree," she opined, "that's a spruce!"

I was able to confirm this, as the label declared that the plant was a spruce... but I had assumed that, as a spruce was a pine tree, a spruce was also a Christmas tree. Apparently not...

Undeterred, I went to unearth my old Christmas tree decorations. I particularly wanted to find my super-snazzy, candle-shaped, tree lights. Alas, I discovered that the candles were almost as big as the branches they were supposed to sit on, and the branches couldn't take the weight. So, no lights.

I did, however, manage to decorate the tree eventually... and, having done that, I decided to see if I could find my Christmas crib, which had been packed away somewhere safe...


Imagine my delight on discovering that, along with the carefully-packed crib, I had wrapped up some purple and pink candles for my Advent wreath...

So now I feel I can observe the rest of Advent properly! Gaudete!

... I still haven't managed to write any Christmas cards though!

5 comments:

Margaret said...

Mulier! get with the times! I bought a pack of 6 LED flickering tea lights for $5 at walgreens and found some purple and pink paper and cut little cuffs for them. I have an artificial wreath that I usually use with advent candles but now I have the look of advent all day without worrying about tipping over an open flame.

Miss Ellen E. said...

Oh, no, please don't go down the 'electric candle' route! :-)

Your post made me smile. I had a similar problem with finding the right colour candles for our wreath last year - I ended up ordering some online so now have a dozen rose-coloured candles. We should be OK until about 2020 now, I reckon :-)

Victoria said...

Everything looks lovely.

John the organist said...

Well your little sppruce is more than worthy of joining the xmas tree ranks. Alas this year we too have not got purple and pink candles, had to have red, but at least we've got a wreath. As for decoratiions,,,well took most of yesterday to sort, test and out up.

Rubricarius said...

On a botanic point spruces are not pines!

Pines have long needles such as the Scots' Pine etc. The common 'Christmas Tree' used to be a type of spruce with the Latin name Picea abies. However, as P. abies is notorious for dropping its needles indoors the market has rather been filled in recent years by another confifer genus, the firs or Abies. These are the expensive trees with wider needles that have the advantage of retaining their needles for quite a long time.

Your little tree is a variety of Picea but I cannot identify it from the photo. If you keep it relatively cool and take it outdoors as soon after Christmas as possible it should survive.

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