Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I've decided it's time to have a Christmas tree again. Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I love buying presents for other people and I normally spend hours wrapping them and writing out cards etc.

My house has always been festive with stockings, wreaths and decorations hanging up and I won't even say out loud what my postage costs are to send presents to my dear friends in the United Kingdom. Then I got Cinders.

Cinders was the first pet that I got as an adult, a male kitten approximately 6 weeks old who came to me on Boxing Day - a Christmas present for myself. Living alone I thought it would be nice to have a cat for company, I imagined him purring away as he curled up on my lap. Cinders and I had a very different idea about how we were going to co-exist. His idea was that I would feed him every day and then leave him alone, with the exception of a few occasions when he wanted his neck scratched.

Cinders chewed the bedside tables & wooden photo frames, he scratched anyone who tried to pick him up and he not only attacked the Christmas tree the first year I had him but during the night he tore open the neatly wrapped presents underneath it and then proceeded to eat the tinsel - thereby costing me a fortune at the vets!

Sadly, Cinders went to animal-heaven on my birthday last year as he had cancer, he was only five. I knew he was sick as he'd mellowed to the point of sleeping next to me on the bed and sitting on my lap whenever I sat down. He hadn't mellowed completely though as he still tormented Ella whenever he could and I'm sure she did a feline-jig when she realised she was suddenly the only cat in the house!

As naughty as he was I still miss Cinders but it does mean I can finally put a Christmas tree back up! Last year I spent Christmas in the UK and wherever I went I bought a decoration, or two, to put on the tree this year. I had such fun looking at the decorations as they came out of the box as it brought back memories of the places I went and the time I spent with friends. I'm not a fan of tinsel anymore so the tree looks a bit dull during the day but it has four sets of lights on it so really comes to life at night.

I bought this one in Harrods, obviously, with my friend Cheryl

From the Disney shop in Cardiff, while out shopping with Amanda

From the Christmas Shop in the Cotswolds, with Rachel

From an after-Christmas sale in Wolverhampton with Louise

A harp from my trip through Ireland

I have been watching Ella to see if she is going to try and play with any of the baubles but so far she has been good (unless she attacks the tree secretly when I am at work). So far she's used the branches to give her face a scratch and she's sat on the presents a few times (she has a thing for paper and plastic bags) but she actually hasn't attempted to play with any of the decorations... yet!

Me? I'm not doing anything wrong!

I'm just checking to see if it's a real pine tree... sniff, sniff. Nope, it isn't.

I can see one for Aaron, one for Mandy... how come my name's not on any of these?

If people decorating their houses with lights and Santa's aren't a big enough give-away that Christmas is fast approaching there's always the red flowers of the NSW Christmas bush! Australian natives have been used as decoration since last century but this is the first time I have seen mine flower, seeing as I wasn't at home last December when it flowered for the first time - my Mum told me how pretty it was as she cut loads of it and had it in vases around her house.

A boatload of Christmas Bush being rowed towards Sydney for sale in the markets
[Sydney Mail 23 December 1882]

The other major sign that it's almost Christmas is the Christmas beetle! When you suddenly feel something crawl down your shirt or buzz loudly into your hair, there's a good chance it's a Christmas beetle. Mostly active at night, the Christmas beetles have been swarming around my kitchen window and front door, as they are attracted to the light. While I have seen a few green and black beetles the majority of the ones lurking around my house are the common golden brown ones.

Christmas beetles are something I remember from my childhood as I was quite scared of them when I was a kid. While they don't scare me anymore I did let out a squeal the other night when one buzzed passed my ear!

1 comment:

Demara said...

Wow! You're Christmas is usually spent in sunlight and warmth?!?!?! And ours in a soft drizzle of snow flakes, followed by rain which washes all the snow away. Basically our Christmas' are so cold and your's are warm. Today, I was dreaming it was hot and sunny outside (it was a dark and rainy day today, and right now, at: 12:43am, it's pouring cats and dogs).

Wow I have never seen a "Christmas Beetle" before, but I saw a "Mountain Beetle" before, it was very scary.

And your ornaments are so neat! I like the fact that they represent different places you've been.