Today was supposed to be a festive recipe post. I had it all planned out. I was heading to mum’s to buy the ingredients and get my bake-on. But there was a turn of events, which is why your eyes see no food.
My paternal Grandparents live in outer London. They are probably the most active pair of late-80/early 90 year olds I have ever seen. Both have cars, mobile phones, both are internet savvy – and can email with ease. It’s actally quite incredible how fully they have embraced the technological world in which we live – partiularly given how many worlds away it all is from their childhood lives.
I received an email yesterday from my Oma. A general update – internet troubles, appointments, Bridge club and so on, but it was the last sentence that really got to me. They had decided to go without a Christmas tree this year as they felt it was too difficult to manage. I felt quite emotional reading the words, but I can understand the reasoning of course. I think we all know the trials and tribulations of buying a tree, locating the decorations in the attic, getting the tree home, manouvering it into its stand, and decorating from bottom to top. That’s a tough job for anyone- my 25-year old self included.
You see, the problem is that my Oma is one of the very reasons I love Christmas so much. While she has lived in the UK for almost 60 years, she comes from Germany. When she moved to old blighty, she brought with her a myriad of German Christmas traditions. And her tree has always been magnificent – I rememeber being wowed by it every year as a child – covered in ribbon, and nostalgic decorations. I have been brought up to understand that a Christmas tree should be personal and full of history, with ornaments from all over the place. Homemade ones to Christmas market purchases, and hand-me-downs to decorations you’ve picked up abroad (my mum has these amazingly delicate red apple decorations that she bought when living in China years ago). It should be so much more than an aromatic pine tree. It should ooze with festive memories.
So, as self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas, I knew I had to do something about it. No one would be going without a tree under my watch. So I hopped onto the interweb yesterday and came across a company called Pines and Needles. They deliver the tree, adorn with warm white lights, and embellish with decor-galore. Then after Christmas, they return to take it all down, tidy the area and retreat, as if they were never even there. All that will remain is a faint scent of pine. And all that my grandparents need to do is be there to open the door! Oh the joys of the internet. We all complain about it every now and then, how it has taken over everyone’s lives and such, but as an expat, it is an absolute Godsend at times.
So that is what took up my afternoon, and having recieved my order confirmation, I felt a huge sense of relief. Is it as good as being there to spend Christmas with them? No. Nothing beats that. But I do hope that having a beautifully decorated tree in their living room will bring with it the heap of festive spirit that everyone should be able to bask in at this time of year.
While this post doesn’t include a recipe – you can find plenty of festive bakes and dishes in my Christmas section – so do check it out!