Baubles & Barbets               <--Prev : Next-->

Having recently returned from Thanksgiving in the USA I am all fired up about decorating the house, the garden and the Christmas tree.

Americans decorate their homes all year round. They decorate them on Superbowl Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween Day, Easter Friday, Thanksgiving Day and of course specially at Christmas. No sooner than the Thanksgiving turkey plates are cold, are the whole family is out in the garden putting up the Christmas lights.

The entire house is decorated, inside and out, they have Christmas table cloths, table napkins, special Yuletide jerseys , earrings, brooches and jewelry !!

Some families even have an entire dinner service decorated with a Christmas theme, for use just for the festive season.

Whole streets are decorated, whole neighbourhoods vie with each other for the most special decorations. One secluded little cul de sac we drove through featured the twelve days of Christmas, and each house presented a tableau of its particular day. "The first day of Christmas my true love gave to me - a partridge in a pear tree" etc - every tiny detail was illuminated depicting the partridge , the pear tree, and much more, including carols playing from speakers cleverly disguised within the foliage. Angels abound, reindeer are numerous, nativity scenes are on every corner, Walt Disney characters are there in full.

Santa and his sleighs are everywhere.

The cul de sac was a masterpiece of ingenuity and must have taken weeks of preparation, hundreds of metres of coloured lights, unlimited money to put it all together, and the result was fairyland itself to the adults and children who walked or drove around the little festive close. No expense is spared, and it is stuff that magic is made of.

Only in America ......

So this weekend my task was to tackle the Christmas tree, I have to do it before the children come home in case they interfere with my colour scheme !! I have a midnight blue and silver philodendron substituting as a Christmas tree and I also have one of those fake but very clever boxed trees that is entirely decorated in red and gold.

Years of collecting just the right little bauble, many of them traveling down through ages from grandparents to grandchildren. I have it right at last. This year I need to put all the special ones on the low branches again for my three little nieces and nephews, something I always did for my own children until they grew taller than I.

My tree does not allow for garish tinsel and coloured lights, oh no, only tiny little white lights, gold bells, red shiny glass apples, brilliant ruby velvet ribbons, and bright gold baubles, all perfectly spaced, all absolutely symmetrical, no little niece or nephew is allowed to touch my tree !!

Of course the carols were playing, and He Who Must Be Obeyed found "herself" very annoying as she wafted around, egg nog in hand, humming "Oh Holy Night" just loudly enough to be irritating. He had to immerse himself deep in his computer in case he was called upon to string up the lights !!

And then it was complete, a masterpiece, one of the best, if I say so myself, but then, horror upon horror, I spotted it, a green gaping hole, an annoying little gap with no bauble to disguise it. After a hasty search through my decor box and finding no extra little gold bauble to fill the gap, I sat back and thought about it all.

Was it really that important, who except me, would even notice the gap.

Is it human failing to notice the gaps and not to notice all the other beauty of the tree.?

Perhaps that is what is happening to us all here in Zimbabwe. We are seeing the bad things and forgetting the good.

We see the litter in the roads but we don't see the agapanthus that are festooning the gardens right now. We hear the honking of the taxis but we forget to listen to the crested barbets that are building their nests, very vocally too !!

So, while you are standing at the supermarket till, gazing at the prices of Christmas decorations in horror, think of those folk in the rural areas, where there is no supermarket, where there is no money at all for anything , let alone Christmas decorations, and above all, don't notice that gap !!