Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Candlemas and Plastic Tulips

We will take our tree down today. This one has maintained its appearance pretty well for the whole 40 days, albeit drooping slightly at the tips of the branches for the past week or so. Over the mobile phone, my Beloved and son tried to persuade me to give in to having an artificial tree this year, whilst they frantically scoured the country looking for a bargain on Christmas Eve, and found that the recession had made everyone mean - they weren't dropping their prices, as they usually do in the garden centres (and there's no way we could afford the full price.) I tried to convince myself that the convenience of it would far outweigh my repulsion at a "man-made" evergreen, and told them to do what they must.
I remember an Art history lecturer at University, telling us that the word "artificial" originally had a good connotation, ie that it meant something that had been made by art, something considered beautiful. When I was a little girl, in the days before supermarkets (gosh, am I that old? ) a great big bus used to drive to the town where we lived, and my mum would go into it to buy groceries. On the driver's dashboard at the front were some tulips, and I loved them so much that I longed for my mum to buy them (I think I asked her to once, but she told me they belonged to the bus-driver). They were artificial, but not like the modern-day silk flowers, no these were full-blown red plastic, and I don't know why, but I thought they were gorgeous! By the time I was a teenager, and my parents gave up on the yearly hassle of Christmas Tree needles ruining the carpet, I was no longer in love with artificial things, or rather, I now considered the word to be one of insult, and so loathed the green and tinsel monstrosity they put up one year, with bright red plastic tips on the ends of the branches. Suspended from this brash thing, the usual sparkle of the decorations seemed to be somehow diminished.
So it was with a heavy heart, that I agreed to allow one into my house this year. Imagine my delight when the intrepid explorers returned, (despite having been on the brink of purchasing the dreaded artificial item, they had given one last garden centre a try,) bearing one of the loveliest trees we've ever had. What was almost as much of a delight, was that it had been reduced in price from the usual 30 or more quid to £3.50 - a bargain indeed! It has barely shed a needle, (but we don't have carpets to worry about anyway!) and the decorations and lights have twinkled merrily against its dark green backdrop all the way to Candlemas.

But it was when my husband prayed the prayers of the Blessing of the tree, that we both realised that it wouldn't have been the same to utter them over one made of plastic!

Yes, I still do like gaudy things, brightly-coloured objects, and shiny glittery stuff, maybe when this lot comes down at the end of the day, I'll start researching whether one can still purchase plastic tulips; I'll need something to cheer me up!


+amom+ said...

Wow! All the way 'til Feb 2nd! That's the longest I've ever heard of anyone keeping up the tree!

Love the story of the red plastic tulips. And about the shopping for groceries on a bus - I can't recall a time we didn't have supermarkets where I lived...

It's also the Feast of the Presentation today and Groundhog Day here in N.America. AND my son's 27th birthday.

Good to read a nice post from you!

God bless - and thanks for commenting on my blog today!

ukok said...

What a beautifully decorated tree!

LizzieD said...

Thanks UKOK, nice to see you "out and about"! God Bless.