26th Night

20th January 2015

Two weeks late, the Christmas tree left our house last night, shedding needles everywhere as it was carried out into snow and a clouded moon. Baubles, fairy lights and all the other festive bits and pieces have been packed away. A lamp stands where the tree had been.

It had been cheery right up until the last few days, when it faded fast. A 6ft Siberian Spruce, bushy and silver-green. Every bauble on it had been a present to my daughter for a good night's sleep. After two and a half years of, well, challenging nights, the combination of lactose-free milk and promise of baubles had transformed our lives. Some mornings, we now had to wake her up.

There had been a peacock bauble, a Christmas pudding bauble, silver, green and purple ones, a cutesy festive scene behind clear glass, and, priced like an 8.30am lie-in, a brown and glittery gold squirrel bauble from Betty's.

Old tradition has it that people brought trees and other greenery into their houses over Christmas to give a warm respite to the tree spirits who guarded them. Bad luck comes when you keep the spirits inside for too long, stopping them getting to work on bringing about spring. But twelfth night, the supposed day to take out the tree, is just a muddle of religion and tradition. So I left the tree until 26th night, when its course was done and no self-respecting spirit would want to call it home.

Perhaps this will bring us a fortnight's good luck in 2015? A bumper vegetable harvest? Enough fruit on the elder to experiment with home brew? I'd settle for fourteen lie-ins, preferably on the weekend.

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