John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

When I was a young boy we always had a real Christmas tree and that was a tradition that I have been determined to continue with my family.

I was under the impression that my father had ordered our tree, but never thought any more of the fact that he always went to collect it at night.

It is only recently that I discovered that he was actually “liberating” a tree from the local woods and that is why he insisted that we have a real one, and why he went to “collect” it in the dark of the night.

Regardless of that revelation I was determined that we should continue the tradition, and I was equally determined that it should be purchased legitimately.

I had some Dickensian type fantasy in my head of the entire family coming together with lots of laughter and merriment as we worked as a team to dress the perfect Christmas tree. The reality was very different as my four children clearly didn’t see things the same way as I did.

On Wednesday our 10 foot tree arrived and the first task was to try to get it to stand straight. I attempted to get the tree stable with the children shouting conflicting instructions as to whether it was straight or not.

Each time I was assured it was perfect, and was about to untangle myself from the branches, one of the kids would shake the tree and with a mouthful of pine needles I had to start again.

After almost an hour of that ‘fun’ I eventually said it was straight enough and set about putting the lights on. With my youngest son half strangled by his older brothers wrapping the lights around his neck I rescued him and we began putting the decorations on.

There were baubles and little angels flying everywhere. They were bouncing off heads and my daughter was temporarily blinded when a glitter encrusted star was whazzed in her eye.

When the crowning glory of a shimmering star was placed on the top of the tree we stood back and admired our handiwork.

It looked like a dogs dinner but at least we had all rallied round, of sorts, and were quite proud of our achievement.