My fraser fir Christmas tree

Having said that about Christmas Avoidance Syndrome, I have to confess that I mean that only in the sense of acknowledging the festival publicly, out in public spaces. At home I have long since bought -- and wrapped -- numerous presents, as is my habit, so as not to be swamped when the season is truly upon us. In short, I've nothing against quiet, even secretive, Xmas preparations. And there is one thing you really can't delay on, and that's a fresh fir tree. If you leave it too late you'll be looking at fake ones, and then you'll be looking at only the oddball fake ones that are left when everything else has been sold off. A couple of years back we found ourselves face to face with something that looked like a candidate for the Turner prize. We had ummed and ahhed too long about whether we wanted fake or fresh, or what. So we ended up with nothing.

Now we have a tree that's in the region of 6 feet tall, if you count the spike on the top. And I'm so pleased with it, I'm going to get one next year, and this is going to be a new tradition. I love the fresh tree because I am someone that prefers the real, given a choice. I love it because I like the subtle aroma, and the hardy branches that won't drop and break my ornaments like the 'pretend' Norfolk Island pine did one year. I love it because all my decorations that have been hidden away in a box for years can finally be seen in all their sparkly charm. I love it because it will make Christmas seem more present in our home. I love it because the fraser fir is native to the Appalachian mountains, in various spots of which I have spent many enjoyable summers. And finally, I love the fact that when it's dry and the New Year is here, we can take it to the kerb and get rid of it. No need to box it up and try to find a place for it in the attic!