Yes, yes, I know it’s only April, but this is my party blog and I can write about Xmas if I want to.

Xmas is not really a big occasion for my family. We have always celebrated the day quietly (lazily I should say) with a cold lunch, including that Trifle that I wrote about earlier, and we had a few small gifts for each family member.

Then, one long ago year (I think it was 2011), my daughter decided that a Xmas tree is an absolute must have. We were not prepared to uproot any trees from our garden and in South Africa, pine trees are not on sale for Christmas (not as far as I know). People generally just make do with an artificial tree or a display of fairy lights outside in their gardens.

My daughter was not to be thwarted by any lack of enthusiasm displayed by the rest of the family and she decided to create a tree out of … wait for it … paper. She decided to learn all about the art of origami, in which she has long been interested, but there was no time for formal classes and we had no Japanese friends or acquaintances. So she consulted Dr. Google – an obvious choice, not so? – and started folding little paper squares. My daughter is nothing if not innovative.

Three months later, after folding more than 3000 little squares of paper – my daughter is nothing if not tenacious – she revealed the end product just before the Christmas lunch. There it was, an amazingly perfect and delicate little Christmas tree, 35 cm tall, with all the little trimmings in place. We still have the tree; it is boxed up and then reassembled every Xmas.

Origami Xmas tree
Origami Xmas tree made up of more than 3000 folded squares, including the trimmings

In 2015 we decided to have a Xmas dinner outside on the balcony, in full view of the ocean … well, of course, it was our first Xmas at the seaside and this time we planned on having a barbecue. This didn’t work out so well, due to unexpected bad weather, but that is another story.

We all decided that we needed a Xmas tree that would be a little more durable, a little bigger and would reflect our new lifestyle. Weeks before Xmas we started collecting driftwood and seashells during our early morning walks. Then Dad and Son started putting the tree together with screws and tape and whatever else they deemed necessary to hold the branches and trimmings safely together in our windy area.

The tree was a masterpiece of craftmanship, from the driftwood artfully arranged into a sturdy tree, to the seashells hanging from the branches by means of fishing line threaded through little holes drilled with great care, to avoid breaking the shells. Then the tree was draped with lights and put out on the balcony – only to be taken indoors five minutes later when it started raining. But, BUT, we still enjoyed our wonderful tree and we are holding onto it for next year’s celebrations.

Dis altyd lekker om as gesin saam so ‘n projek aan te pak, maar ons is almal effe dwarstrekkerig van geaardheid en geen werkie word afgehandel sonder die nodige stryd nie. My man is ‘n ongenadiglike terggees en om hom in beheer te laat van die boor en skroewedraaier, was dalk nie ‘n goeie idee nie. Die byklanke het hom vreeslik geamuseer en vreeslik op die res van ons se senuwees gewerk. Ons wou graag die vordering van die boom der bome deel met Tweede Seun en sy vroutjie wat op daardie stadium op die vliegtuig was op pad van die Kaap af, vandaar die video.

Net ‘n woord van waarskuwing, Oudste Seun se taal is nie meer te keurig op hierdie stadium nie en die skril hekse-skrou van “Sharrap … ” aan die einde, beteken dat ons geduld beproef is tot op die uiterste. Ons raak darem nie handgemeen nie, maar wag, moenie dat ek die storie vooruit loop nie. Julle sal weet wat ek meen deur te kyk na die video hieronder.