14 April

Leave it to leaves

Holly and ivy were both brought into my district by homesick British gardeners and they thrived. In fact, they did better than that: they took over so effectively that they’re now rated as environmental weeds.[1] This means that they are in such abundance that it’s easy to decorate lavishly with them.


  • It’s free
  • It’s traditional
  • It’s even greener than having no decorations because you’re actually weeding


  • Ivy doesn’t last long
  • Holly does, but it’s a pain to clean up[2]

If you don’t have access to unlimited holly and ivy like I do, there’s a fair chance you have some pine trees around and you can:

  • Put boughs over doors and along hallways
  • Put small branches in vases
  • Add baubles and bows if you want, or leave them plain
  • Add pinecones[3]
14 apr 2016.jpg
Bough down.

Christmas Day 1970: We were given strict instructions for Christmas morning in 1970:

  • We weren’t allowed to get up until six o’clock
  • We weren’t allowed to wake each other up any earlier
  • We had to be very quiet in case the little kids were still asleep

but what really happened, of course, was that Bronwyn was awake at first light[4] and her hushed questions of “Are you awake?” woke the rest of us and we whispered and giggled until the hands of Nanna’s alarm clock finally reached 6am and then we tumbled out of the tent and into the lounge room. And of course we weren’t as quiet as we thought we were being and of course our little brothers and sisters heard us and joined us straight away. Even the baby was there by five past six and he could neither walk nor get out of his cot by himself (but Auntie Margie was as keen as the children to find out what Santa had brought so she abetted him).

[1] So are blackberries but my sister Wendy illegally turns a blind eye to the bramble patch in the bottom corner of her yard because she loves blackberry pie. (Her son Ben used to needle her about this, but he stopped when she pointed out that he was guilty of profiting from the proceeds of crime whenever he had a slice of pie himself.)

[2] Literally. The chance of being prickled is 200%.

[3] Some people paint them gold but it isn’t necessary (or tasteful).

[4] Always easy on Christmas morning and particularly in a tent.

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