01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Christmas Tree - faking it. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Christmas Tree - faking it.

It's the first year that we've had to plump for a fake christmas tree.

For ten years we've been buying floppy firs from the side of the road that smell vaguely like Christmas, but are otherwise fairly unconvincing. Not sure what they are exactly, casuarinas? The problem is that the branches don't stand up well to weighty decorations. We used to buy them in Dar es Salaam, then again we arrived here in Kenya.

Eventually unable to stand the guilt of buying cut trees, one year we bought a 'planted' one. That survived for two Christmases, then died a sad and gradual death in a plastic pot outside. It went brown and there was nothing we could do to save it.

For the past two years we cut saplings that shouldn't be there from around the base of the huge monkey puzzle type tree in our garden. That was good and looked incredibly effective, though the trunk and spines are horribly spiky.

Last weekend we put up our Nakumatt special that we bought for 3,000/-. I was sad about the fact that the arterial branches didn't spread very far. It looks odd to me.

'It's a relief not to be messing around with pots, trays and watering,' my husband said. 'It's always sad to watch the thing gradually dying over Christmas isn't it. Plus it's a relief not to be so horribly spiked in the back when diving underneath to put the fairy lights on.'

'You're right' I said looking at the plastic fir, 'it's a relief.'

Though the words of my sister-in-law were ringing in my ears....

'You know you have to use a fake tree for twenty years in order to make it in the least bit eco-friendly'

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