“How many Christmas trees do you need Aunty?”, questioned 12-year-old nephew as we rearranged the car to squeeze in the beautifully boxed tree from the folk at Typo (at Queensgate, HC). As I drove with my knees positioned somewhere up near my chin (and, to be fair, I’m hardly Elle MacPherson) due to said tree needing the space in the back seat, I pondered the question.
“It was a bargain”, I responded. Having just given the lecture to nephew of a bargain only being a bargain if what you’re buying is useful, I pondered again. Was it a bargain or was I simply buying into Christmas craziness?
At $12.50, including uber cute decorations, it certainly wasn’t expensive. Did I ‘need’ it – no, probably not. Do I love all things Christmas and making the house look pretty in December? A resounding yes. Will I use it – absolutely. Debate settled, it was a bargain. And the gorgeous staff even boxed it so it can be kept safely stored until next Christmas, when I will find a perfect spot in the house for it.
Which brings me to this year’s tree. It, too, was a bargain – in fact, purchased from the store “where everyone gets a bargain”. Again, a fully decorated tree they were keen to off-load to make space for stock to sell. The deal here was taking the tree ‘as is’. No box. I pictured myself walking through the mall holding a tree taller than me, crammed with decorations, while pushing a buggy. And it wasn’t just the mall – car was at the garage two kilometres down the road. Fortunately, they did provide a box for the decorations and a friend from the HC came to the rescue with her vehicle so there was no need to test my dexterity.
I’ve never had a black Christmas tree before – but as above friend pointed out, if it’s a fake tree, embrace it as opposed to trying to pretend it’s real. Embrace it I have. What a canvas for not only the decorations that came with it (three-quarters still in the box), but for all those decorations I’ve collected over the years that needed showing off. And, for trying out my new favourite thing, dried oranges.
Again, simplicity wins out. Yes, you need to have the oven on for the day, but the result is worth it. Take a couple of juicy oranges. Wash and dry the outside and cut thinly in circles. Carefully remove any pips.
Put the cut oranges onto baking paper and pop into the oven. I used our small bench top oven at around 70C for most of the day. As it doesn’t fan bake, I did move them around and turn the oranges upside down a couple of times. Fan baking at 50C would probably achieve the same result more quickly (or you could use the airing cupboard, which might take up to a week).
Cool the oranges, and add to your tree. There are natural holes in the fruit so they are easy to affix. Or, you could tie a ribbon through them and use them either on the tree or hang from almost anywhere in the house for a festive look.
So, there you have it. A bargain tree using bargain decorations, combining to give a stylish result. And, it’s not too late to get the oranges in the oven for this Christmas day! (PS. To save them for next year, wrap carefully in tissue paper and keep in a dry spot until 1 December.)