(This is the first installment in my Perfect Christmas series, inspired by Mikaella Clements’ Guide to Missing Australian Christmas.)
Our family Christmas is pretty far from the traditional image of the festival. If you’re bored with the old rituals and want to mix up your Christmas a bit, allow me to present my seasonal series on how to be a great Chrissie host, Mellor-style.
- Don’t pay for a Christmas tree. What are you, some kind of environmental vandal? Pine trees are a noxious weed in Australia and by supporting a pine tree farm, you’re helping them spread. Instead, drive out to a random patch of bush where pine saplings are invading the native flora.
- Choose the ugliest, spindliest, most lop-sided tree you can find. Chop it down. Hooray, you just killed a weed!
- Tie it to the roof of your car with frayed Ockie straps. It will lose a good third of its already-sparse needles on the drive home.
- Carry it into the house like a team of lumberjacks. Discover the hard way that not all the inhabitants of the tree have been shaken off when one of them falls down your shirt.
- The tree’s way taller than it looked outside. Argue about your family’s poor decision-making skills.
- Prop it up in your chosen corner with the crappiest side to the wall. Argue about which side is the crappiest.
- Chop off two more feet of trunk and put it where the ceiling is highest.
- Fill the largest bucket you have with stones and sand. Sprinkle sand throughout the house in the process.
- Bury the base of the trunk in the sand, pack it down and stand back to admire your tree.
- Watch it fall over.
- Pour out the tree, the stones and the sand. Stabilise the bucket with bricks. Repeat steps 8-10.
- Time to decorate the tree. Drag out your James Boag’s box full of decorations. Beware of any possums that may have taken up residence in your garage – they may be cute, but they will wee on you. There will also be broken glass baubles in the bottom of the box, and possibly mice, so mind your fingers.
- Who in your family has the worst eye for aesthetics? Have them take charge.
- Your decorations should be a ‘charming’ mixture of made at home and Made in China; broken and whole; tasteful and hideous. Fairy lights must be either dangerously old, too heavy for your tree, or both. Do not let things like ‘practicality’ stand in the way of any creative decisions. What do you mean, you’re not going to put up that reindeer made of clothes pegs? Your Aunty Diane gave you that. Show her that you care by displaying it prominently.
- Pick out the ugliest, most random decoration that you own to set in pride of place at the top of the tree. It should be made by a child, have rat-tooth marks in it and/or have nothing to do with Christmas – I recommend the smiley, blue-pipe-cleaner-legged ‘Christmas spider’ (pictured below) for real festive spirit.
What are your Christmas tree traditions? Tell me in the comments!