PIN­ING FOR TRA­DI­TION

I MAY BE BARK­ING UP THE WRONG TREE IN AN AT­TEMPT TO RE­CAP­TURE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST­MAS PAST

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Reckon - WORDS// CHANTAY LO­GAN

My Christ­mas tree is very grownup this year. It’s one of those min­i­mal­ist Scandi ones and matches my cof­fee ta­ble. I feel like a fes­tive fraud. My fam­ily grew up near a pine for­est and back then our tree was al­ways the real deal. I spent hours pad­ding through the woods on a car­pet of sound-shush­ing nee­dles, hold­ing hands with my lit­tle sis­ter as we eval­u­ated spec­i­mens based on their sym­me­try, char­ac­ter, colour and load-bear­ing po­ten­tial. Thanks to the vaulted ceil­ing in our lounge room, it was go big or go home. Get­ting the gi­ants off the back of Dad’s red pick-up and through the front door was a feat of engi­neer­ing and, once in­side, it would rain as­sorted in­sects for at least a week. We couldn’t reach past the bot­tom three boughs to hang dec­o­ra­tions, but our hol­i­day rit­u­als re­volved around making new dec­o­ra­tions to adorn our prize. With Frosty the Snow­man and The Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy play­ing on our big grey box of a TV, or The Tin Lids Christ­mas tape blar­ing in the back­ground, we’d set to work. Our fin­gers were for­ever coated in the Clag glue we used to make pa­per mache baubles and we’d hunt for pine cones to spray-paint sil­ver. We couldn’t wait un­til it was dark so we could turn on the wink­ing lights. I miss the heady scent of crushed pine nee­dles, which would fill the home with Christ­mas­time for weeks. Most of all I miss sit­ting with my sis­ter un­der those big branches, legs crossed as we ripped into presents we’d sneak­ily peeked into a fort­night be­fore and re­wrapped. Now she has a new tra­di­tion in­volv­ing the gift of penalty rates and my day has been miss­ing some of its magic. When it comes to making my own tra­di­tions I’m still find­ing my feet. I’m tempted to go as min­i­mal­ist as my tree, with a cruisy lunch and af­ter­noon coma, but there’s part of me that still wants to go big or go home.

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