Among the many boxes of other people’s memories stored in my attic are a few that hold my own. At Christmas, when we bring down the boxes of decorations, some of these take the spotlight for a few days.
Every year one particular small, faded Christmas tree sits on my dining room mantelpiece; it belonged to my father. As a boy he was never allowed a real Christmas tree, “too much mess” his mother maintained so he had this artificial tree, German made, paper, wire and wood with plaster berries. Once he had his own home with my mother we always had a real tree but his boyhood tree still had a place as it now does in my own home.
It also has its own fairy, for a while she was on the big tree but when I was a child she was usurped by the new fairy.
One day Dad took me Christmas shopping and in Woolworths we found her; and proudly brought her home to take pride of place on the tree where she has reigned ever since. Of course her tinsel trim is faded and her wand went missing long ago but every year she reminds me of how much my Dad loved Christmas and how he passed his delight in it onto us as children.
My tree has some other decorations with a history, some bought on holidays and others made by my daughters; some given as presents and others from my first Christmas in my own home, each has its own set of particular memories.
There is the one cat bell, a strange decoration certainly, but I remember it from my great aunts tree, it had a companion but only this one has survived to make it to my tree.
By twelfth night they will all be back in the attic, carefully packed in bubble wrap and tissue paper waiting for their next show.