Christmas Tree

Trimming the tree each Christmas Eve

was my family’s ritual.

My cousin would come to help my mum

carefully take the glass baubles from the box

that used to hold Topsy, her big doll.

Then they would put them all in their place.

“No the elephant doesn’t go there,

that’s where the peacock should be

and the Christmas pudding goes above.”

Everything had it’s place on the Christmas tree

in my family.

There were shiny miniature crackers 

never to be pulled

and curly, coloured candles 

never to be lit

for economy.

No cheating tinsel was allowed 

only glass baubles should cover the tree, 

hiding the green.

The baubles had belonged to my cousin,

so had the tree. 

And earlier, to her mother and granny.

They were part of the family.

My cousin’s husband used to say with some truth,

we were the only family to fall out over trimming a tree

as every year the arguments were replayed.

Then they drank Santa’s sherry and ate his mince pies.

Must have needed them after trimming the tree

in my family.


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