My 2015 Christmas tree from up close.

Howsit going everybody? I trust you and yours are keeping well. As you well know, it is the first of December – time to start preparing your eardrums for the unfathomable decibels of Celine Dion’s Feliz Navidad, the skull-shattering pitch of Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You, the ancient, yet immortal Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M and the delightful prepubescent voice of Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe. Recently I’ve taken to Last Christmas by Ariana Grande, yes, yes I am well aware that the only Christmasy thing about the song is that its title has the word “Christmas” in it and jingle bells can be heard throughout the song – its got a saucy pop beat to it that makes me wanna slap on a pair of green elf tights and some reindeer antlers and do the shimmy, but I’ll compose myself for the sake of my readers.

Living in Botswana presents quite a challenge at this time of year when tree hunting is rife in other parts of the globe. We’re not exactly able to find the perfectly green and cone shaped tree growing out in the wild, or like most American Christmas trees which are bought in a tree factory (as seen on TV). I do recall however; one Christmas my mother and I visited my aunt and uncle – Cathy and Thom, at their home on a nature reserve in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. We were in dire need of a tree to decorate, but we weren’t desperate enough to drive the 30 odd kilometers to the nearest town to buy something that, in effect would die several days later. One night at the dinner table, seeing as the nature reserve which shan’t be named was home to several large pine and eucalyptus plantations, I casually suggested whacking off one of the younger pine trees and bringing it home, dressing it up and no one would suspect a thing. I was met by a horrific sound as my uncle spew his roasted gammon across the table and my the look I got from my mother instantly forbade me to speak another word and further press the matter.

It was actually my kickass aunt Cathy (referred to as Catherine by my mother when in trouble) who said it was a marvelous idea and we ought to leave after dinner, my mom peered at her with bulging eyes for several moments, wrinkled her nose and said “We’ve got the handsaw and axe, Thom knows how to use them!” All the while my uncle was turning a dark shade of plum and we realized he’d managed to inhale some of that gammon at my suggestion of stealing a protected tree. Eventually, after much prodding and slapping we’d managed to dislodge the piece of gammon from my uncle’s windpipe and persuade him to spearhead the expedition. Now, we didn’t exactly set off for the tree under the cover of nightfall, in fact we left at about 15:00 and after draining a bottle of Shiraz. After driving about for some time trying to find the perfect tree, we at last came across the most magnificent pine tree ever. It was beautiful! It’s shape was perfectly symmetrical, just the right height and it had the richest aroma I had ever smelt. The only catch – Ahh, of course there had to be a catch! Was that it was rooted approximately 1 meter away from a busy service road. After much debate and weighing of options, we unanimously opted to grab the tree and make a dash for it. I don’t remember which was worse, my giggling mother and aunt or my uncle’s somber swing, but either way, I lived to tell the tale, the tree didn’t live to tell the tale though, but it did look splendid in its last moments.

This year my mother decided that she wanted the top part of a sisal as our 2015 Christmas tree, I’m not too certain of how many holes the gardener escaped with, but I do know for sure that the tree looks lovely. After painting the dry mass white, it looked very contemporary, however; the paint has cracked and chipped in places – I’m too lazy to repaint it so I plan on telling guests that I was after a “Snowy” effect. Mom and I decorated it with robust blue organza bows, twinkling fairy lights and several blue and silver ornaments. In among-st hanging baubles and tying bows, my mother was teaching me how to do what she calls the “Molapo Sweep” while dancing to Hotline Bling by Drake – how we managed to finish decorating the tree still baffles me. Finally, we crowned the tree with a white hand made crocheted star. The tree has turned out better than my expectations and I am looking forward to seeing the lights twinkle this evening as I sip my Chai spice tea.Instasize_1129183133


In staying true to our roots, I decided to stand the tree in a three-legged cast iron cooking pot.

Have a blessed one.


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