I am by no stretch of the imagination a religious person – the only ‘religions’ I subscribe to are chocolate and the endeavour to live a generous life (so yes, if you’re nice, I will give you my last Rolo) – but Christmas has always been a holiday that I love wholeheartedly. Admittedly, some of the shine has been rubbed off in the last few years. I put this down, not to age, but to the fact that I have worked Christmas Day five out of the last six years, including this year. When I first started working on Christmas Day, I used to rock up at the office, all sparkly, wearing my angel halo or reindeer antlers, and full of determination to make sure everyone else had a merry old time. But six years down the line, that enthusiasm has been somewhat dampened and I confess to feeling rather Scrooge-like about the whole affair.
I figured something needed to be done about this dismal situation. I lost the birthday zest some time ago, but I’m not prepared to give up on Christmas…because when you think about it, part of what I loved about it was the generosity of spirit required in selecting the perfect gift for each person…and also there’s normally lots of chocolate involved. I can’t relinquish a holiday like that too easily! So I went to my happy place. No really, it’s an actual place. It’s called Overdale Nursery, but we call it the Christmas Tree Farm. Theoretically it’s just a nursery that happens to sell Christmas trees, like many others. I don’t know exactly what makes it so magical, but even when I’m feeling particularly blah, as I was this week, a trip to the Christmas Tree Farm will bring back some of the happy. Maybe it’s the sight of all those Christmas trees, standing sentry in the fields (they do obviously grow their own trees there, hence the farm bit in the title), or the smell of the cut trees neatly lined up in the shop, or the boundless enthusiasm of the kids working there over the holidays who never judge my inability to take a little tree and promise to fit any tree into any car. I have surprised (and probably annoyed) more than one housemate by coming home with a 2m tree, although this year I managed to stop myself and only bought the 1.5m version. At R80 it’s a small price to pay to put a little sparkle back into my festive season. The trip through the mist to get to Overdale made it seem, if anything, more Christmassy, and I now have a beautifully decorated tree looming over everything else in my lounge, reminding me that I do love this time of year. And maybe one day when I’m big I can live on a Christmas tree farm too.