Counting Christmas trees

So here we are 10 days before Christmas, I had a few errands to run after work so I put my boots on and set out to walk around my neighbourhood initially delivering Christmas cards. As I ventured down the street I was reminded of something I did around Christmas as a child; counting Christmas trees.

I grew up in the 1980’s when elaborate outdoor Christmas decorations were something you only saw on American Christmas movies. In fact I think the only person I remember having outdoor lights in the town I grew up in was Mrs Dickinson, whose husband ran a skip hire company (where there’s muck there’s brass!) and they had a massive house with a lit up tree in the garden. So the art of Christmas tree counting was a little more difficult than today. We lived on an estate built in the 1960’s which mainly featured bungalows. The living rooms were at the back of the house so spotting Christmas trees on our estate was pretty tough so my Dad would take us a bit further afield.

When we reached the next estate down, my sister would count the trees on one side of the road and me the other, we would take a loop around the block and end up back home after seeing plenty of beautiful trees. Now, the key dear readers, to counting lots of trees, is to choose the right kind of day and the right kind of weather. The ideal conditions are a cold dry evening just as it starts to go dark, just before people draw their curtains. Then, and only then do you get chance to glimpse inside their front rooms and see their beautifully decorated tree and return home with that nice tingley face you get from being out in the cold.

I love it today just as much as I did then, taking a momentary snapshot into someone else’s Christmas. It reminds me of a poem from a Christmas carol service I went too once

KEEPING CHRISTMAS

How will you your Christmas keep?

Feasting, fasting, or asleep?

Will you laugh or will you pray,

Or will you forget the day?

Be it kept with joy or prayer,

Keep of either some to spare;

Whatsoever brings the day,

Do not keep but give away.

Eleanor Farjeon

I’ll be back to my childhood home for Christmas, perhaps I’ll get chance to count those Christmas trees I did as a child before the big day. So enjoy your Christmas trees, show them off and give people a glimpse of your Christmas. Oh and if you were wondering, today’s tally was 67 Christmas trees.

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