I got to help Dad pick the tree this year. The one I chose took up the whole backseat. I didn’t mind. It meant I got to sit in the front with Dad. Still, we drove home slowly, ‘cos the trunk was sticking out the window. We’re lucky there weren’t any cops around to give Dad a fine. When we got home, my brother helped Dad carry the tree inside and put it in a bucket. I held it up while he and Dad filled the bucket with dirt from the garden.

Once everyone was satisfied the tree was straight enough, we all stepped back, breathing a sigh of relief that the bloody thing didn’t topple over. Mum pulled out the box of decorations and we each took turns hanging tinsel and coloured baubles, while Bing Crosby played in the background.

When we were done, Mum took a photo. The tree wasn’t perfect. It was a bit of a mess, really. It didn’t look anything like the ones in the catalogues or on TV. We didn’t care. It was ours and it was beautiful to us. My friend’s Mum always buys a plastic tree. She colour co-ordinates her decorations and carefully places them in perfect symmetry. Where’s the fun in that? It’s pretty and all, but it’s so…bland. There’s no personality, no feeling.

I love that we always have a real tree. Sure, it’s harder to handle and makes a big mess. It attracts spiders and we’ll be cleaning up pine leaves halfway into next year. But at least every tree is different. Every tree, no matter how badly decorated, has a presence. Best of all, when darkness falls, the fairy lights flash and the scent of pine fills the house, reminding my senses of Christmases past, and none of the bad stuff matters at all. I place the last of my gifts under the tree and I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for my friend.


This week you get a bonus story, to make up for missing out last week. The prompt was: ‘What do you like better, fake or real Christmas trees? Why?’ from Rachel K Tutoring Blog.

Categories: Fiction Friday

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