In which we don’t buy a Christmas tree

Today Ruth and I went to visit a museum for the first, and last, time (more on that later). But on the way home, we passed Ikea in the car and we were so close to stopping off to buy a Christmas tree. In the end, we didn’t get one.

Here’s why:

  • We’re away for a few days over Christmas, so we won’t be at home to enjoy the tree on the day itself anyway;
  • We’re trying to save money like mad. Our ailing boiler (Americans: read ‘water heater’) has finally given up the ghost, choosing the most expensive time of the year to pack in. A new one is going to set us back nearly £2,000, we’re told (and will set back my debt payoff plan too, sadly);
  • We have a suspicion our deranged dog would either tear bits off a Christmas tree or find a way to get a pine needle stuck in his paw and land us with a vet’s bill on top of the boiler bill. He’s sneaky like that.

I like Christmas and I have nothing against Christmas trees. I think they’re lovely. But for one reason or another, our decorations have taken a decidedly minimalist turn this year. Here’s what’s passing for the tree at our place:


We’re planning to go out into the woods in the next few days and find bits of holly, ivy and pine cones to decorate the house with. It’s something we did last year and it looked really bloody cosy.

And after all, there are other ways to get in the festive spirit.

The museum we visited today, Red House in Gomersal, West Yorkshire, was once home to a good friend of Charlotte Bronte and featured as Briarmains in her novel, Shirley. Even in Charlotte’s day, the house was already nearly 200 years old. Each year, the museum celebrates a 19th century Christmas, as the Brontes would have known them.

But this was its last, because it is being closed down by its local council in a few days to save money.

Staff and helpers had dressed up in period costume, the normal entry fees were suspended, there was a historical musical group playing all kinds of weird traditional English instruments, and people in the kitchen had cooked up cheeses, chutneys and mulled wine. The whole place was decked out – you guessed it – with cuttings of holly and ivy.

It’s a place I’ve lived half-an-hour away for more than a decade, but never thought to visit because, you know, I can always go another time. Today there was no more putting it off.

There were lots of other people who had the same thought. The place was packed. And maybe a full house is the best Christmas decoration going.

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4 thoughts on “In which we don’t buy a Christmas tree

  1. I LOVE your Christmas decorations! We haven’t had a tree (or any other decorations ) since 2000. That last year was cool though, because all we did was drape Holly (Sporty’s little potplant, who had a very tree-like demeanour) in some tinsel. 🙂

  2. Our tree is a tiny Charlie Brown tree with Linus’s blanket around the base, approximately 15 inches tall in total. It has one ornament.

    We don’t have kids and we don’t host Christmas dinner, so while we enjoy seeing holiday decorations, we also don’t feel any pull to put up many of our own.

    It’s one of our ways to keep the holidays simple. We don’t buy gifts for adults, and whenever possible, we give the kids experiences rather than things. Time together, preferably with good food and homemade cookies or pies, is so much better than anything you can buy.

  3. Hi, I just wanted to say I’m loving Simplicity Voices. Its nice having a dailey blog that is so enriching and introduces readers to so many other great sources of simple living content. Well done. Looking forward to 2017 posts. Take care, Daryl

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