In a bid to save money in the long run, Claire and I made a fatal mistake this weekend: we went out and bought our first artificial Christmas tree. We've had a real tree on three occasions in the past (the rest we didn't bother or decorated the pot plants) with the most recent being a bit of a disappointment: it looked like real tree, but it didn't smell like one.

This year we opted for the plastic type to a) cover multiple years, b) save money - real trees are so expensive and c) because we can manipulate the branches exactly as we like to make the tree look plusher than any real tree ever would.

Now you may be wondering why it's a fatal mistake. Well, this tree is going to be making the journey from the living room, to the box, to the loft and back again every year until such time as it starts looking like dead real tree. This is likely to coincide with our kids learning to talk and discovering the wonders of a real tree. This is naturally going to bring on the "But why can't we get a REEEEAAAALLL tree this year? We always use that piece of rubbish you two bought in the Ice Ages" whine every year. I can't recall ever asking my parents for a real tree (I don't think you can even get real trees in South Africa at that time of year), but I probably did. I know Claire certainly did, and like mine, her folks always hauled the same old artificial tree out of the loft every Christmas and we had to live with it. I seem to recall in the later years, we pulled the tree out of the box to find it still decorated too :-) .

To "spice" things up a bit with our new artificial tree, we've put it up a bit earlier than usual - normally we put it up on or close to the 16th of December. I have no idea why this date, probably because the 16th is a public holiday in South Africa and it's when we put up the tree when I was a child. Anyway, as I was saying, to spice things up, we're taking the "progressive" approach to decorating it. We've got a very limited supply of Christmas decorations, so we're going to slowly decorate the tree as we buy more over the coming weeks.

For your viewing pleasure, I took the liberty to take a few pictures showing the early stages in our progressive Christmas tree as it goes from completely neked, to neked with twinkles to neked with twinkles and a few baubles...


Not bad so far. It'll be interesting to watch our tree evolve as we add more decorations. I'll keep you all updated, oh and if we get the urge for some pine freshness, there's always Forest Fresh Magic Trees ;-) .