Every year Youngest Child and I buy a Christmas tree. Every year I suggest a small, fake one, every year she refuses, calls me The Grinch and we go to one of the real tree pop-ups that sprout this time of year.
There Youngest peruses, the vendor says would she like to see it out of the netting, she says oh yes she would, then another, then perhaps another, till she’s pushed him to the limit and me to my 5ft threshold. Then we pay, wrestle it into the car, drag it up the stairs, decorate it, all lovely lovely, then on the dot of 6 January I drag it out, drive it to the tip, hoover and sweep up all the needles. Why should this year be any different?
“Shall we get a fake tree?” I trot out.
What? I suppress a gasp and seize the moment.
“OK, let’s go. You can choose.”
I don’t like it when things are this easy, something’s wrong.
“I want one of those 2ft ones, white tinsel with LED lights that you just pull out of the box and slap on a coffee table,” I say on the way.
“Maybe,” she says.
“Or purple. Or black. Anything really, the faker the better,” I say. “As long as it’s small.”
“Faker’s not a word,” she says.
In the shop there’s a whole display of Christmas tat, flashing reindeers (already got one) singing dogs (tempted) and a forest of trees. But there’s no totally faking-it purple, black or white, just not-really-managing it green.
Until… “This one,” says Youngest, pulling one out from the back.
Oh yes. Even close up it looks real. With berries and lichen. Pricey, but it’ll pay for itself... eventually.
Back home, I’m still not sure what just happened or why, but we heave it up the stairs, into the sitting room, assemble and decorate. Finally, I step back to admire. That’s when it finally hits me.
It’s over 7ft tall. She’s done it again.