Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The avalanche of “seasonal” cheer that has been rumbling down the retail mountain since (heaven help us) July is now properly seasonal and even timely. The worst, hopefully, was over with Black Friday. The practice of shopping as a combat sport can cease for another year.
This was the day on which, every year of my childhood, my mother opened the floodgates on the celebration of kitsch that was our family Christmas decorating. After church on the first Sunday of Advent the boxes came down from the attic, the tree went up and everything that couldn’t move – including, occasionally, cats and dogs and my grandmother’s hat, and always the birdcage and the goldfish bowl – was festooned with tinsel.
These days I’m much more restrained. Chez nous the Christmas tree goes up on Christmas Eve and comes down on Twelfth Night. But throughout Advent my inner child gets steadily more excited, and the arrival of the tree with its tattered baggage of baubles hoarded from my childhood to the present is like the welcome return of an old friend who absolutely loves wearing glitter.
Every year I add one or two new ornaments to our collection. This year’s find was uncovered yesterday on a crowded street in Brighton. It’s simple, rustic, and about as licensed as most of the Totoro stuff being sold without a Ghibli sticker. Four of these pyrographed hugs are going off to adorn friends’ trees but one is staying with us.
Can’t wait to get the tree up and give him a proper setting!