My 6-year old still believes in Santa Claus. And for as long as she does, I will persist in coming up with creative ways to DIY a christmas tree.
“Can you organise Raven’s christmas tree?” I messaged Jeff in the middle of my 9-hour shift in the middle of December when everyone else I know seemed to have already put up a tree, bought and wrapped presents, and short of popping the champagne, were already halfway into the holiday spirits.
I had nothing.
The last couple of years, the eucalyptus tree on our nature strip, with the help of the wild winds prevalent in spring, had blessed us with fallen branches that Raven and I would salvage and transform into their most festive selves. It was always a joint effort between the two of us. The kind that, at the end of trimming and decorating, we give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.
The winds were still awfully strong in springtime this year but the tree held on to her dear branches. Every day I kept an eye out for our potential tree but, nothing.
Maybe next week, I’d tell myself. Week in and week out until there was only one week left for Christmas.
That’s when I got desperate and subscribed Jeff’s help in chopping off some bits of the pine trees growing in the backyard. While he was on to it as soon as I asked, and while I was greatly appreciative of his supreme effort in hacking away the sturdy mature branches, I couldn’t help but notice that the way he tied them together at the base before sticking them into the vase especially reserved for the occasion made the overall effect of the tree look, well, windswept. And by that, I mean it was wonky as.
But there was my daughter happily decorating it with baubles. A beautiful sight to see after a long day’s work. The purity of her heart and her innocent happiness made me realize, fuck it. Who cares if it’s wonky?
Three days before Christmas and I did care. I cut off the strings to let the branches breathe and moved the entire thing in front of my bookshelf for a more palatable Instagram-worthy effect even though I may never post it there.
Dressed in her Elsa costume, Raven loved the tree still. I don’t think it even mattered to her what it looked like. The only thing that mattered to her were the presents, of which she couldn’t help but notice why we had no present for her under the tree yet.
I bought her presents two days before Christmas — one from us, her parents; and one from Santa.
I know, I know. Mother of the Year, right?
Come Christmas morning, she eagerly jumped out of bed and opened the present from Santa — a Gabby’s Dollhouse dollhouse. Her Christmas list had about five items on it. She knew she was only getting one. The rest were simply to give the Jolly Old Man some options.
She didn’t get too many presents this year and for that I am secretly glad. I always feel like there’s a threshold when it comes to feeling genuine joy upon opening presents. At some point, it becomes just another present to be opened. It can get pretty overwhelming, especially for a kid. For someone who has no firsthand experience in that regard, I sound like a fucking expert.
From us, she only asked for a slime activator. Just that. But I went ahead and bought her an entire slime set anyway, to the jingle tune of 50 bucks. I ended up mixing and kneading all that goo with my hands, too, to give it the right consistency subject to her approval. I don’t even like slimes.
All in all, it was one day’s worth of fun. For her. Next minute she was down on her knees reaching under the couch marveling over the slime’s glow-in-the-dark properties. Jeff quadrupled her excitement by letting her use his blue light to make it glow in the dark even more.
She exclaimed she can’t wait for next year’s Christmas. I’m excited for her, I really am. *Silently cries inside*
*Raven at 6 years old