Unusually, Tracey arrived back from a toilet run with an inconsolably sobbing child.
Walks to the loos are generally a nice chance to chat with the kids and have a laugh. Without giving either much thought I both wondered what had happened and congratulated myself on not being responsible.
“You idiot,” Tracey reminded me. “I told you to wait.”
And even though I hadn’t captured any part of the conversation except this morsel I immediately knew exactly what she was talking about, and that she was right.
Christmas was over. Done. So yesterday – by which I mean actually yesterday. So almost last year.
And, to be fair, I thought I was helping when I got rid of our two Christmas trees. Why two? Because the first one we bought was deemed too small. Now I’d have thought, with seven souls living on an ex-school bus, small was precisely what we needed. But no. I think my kids were operating under the assumption there was a correlation between the size of the tree and the number of presents they’d eventually find under it.
Therefore, come Christmas, we had the substandard ‘childless’ family tree hanging at the front of the bus and the more satisfyingly Christmasy sized ‘greedy children’ family tree reaching nearly all the way to the ceiling in the gazebo outside.
I was keen to see both gone the moment we were done opening the presents. I love Christmas. Love it. It’s the highlight of my calendar. But the one thing our bus did not need was an injection of ‘stuff’. We don’t have top cupboards above the hanging space, or toy boxes at the end of beds or a garage to fill up. Pretty much every time we bring something onto the bus we have to remove something else.
“We talked about this,” Tracey reminded me over the howls of Miss5. “I told you not to get rid of the trees yet.”
“That was yesterday. I didn’t get rid of them until today.”
“You could have at least taken their decorations off it,” Tracey admonished me. “I tried to suggest it wasn’t ours but then I noticed the baubles they’d made.”
I think I would have got away with it except for my decision to go green and recycle them. It was never an option we would ferret them away on the bus until next year, but the show grounds we’re parked up at here in Mount Gambier has a wonderful little ‘op shop’ attached to it where people can donate their excess gear or pick up stuff they need for whatever they decided is a fair donation. Admittedly, a lot of stuff just goes walkies while the honesty tin remains rattleless, but it’s a fantastic place, I thought, to dump christmas trees.
Only one problem: it’s between our bus and the loos.
Even then, the kids wouldn’t have noticed except the caretaker here was operating, much like my kids, under the assumption it was still a very Christmasy time of year, and decided to place one of our trees outside the ‘shop’ for the sole purpose, I’m sure he’d say, to lend a bit of Christmas cheer to the place for people driving into the park. I mean, it’s not like you’re likely to sell a Christmas tree on the 26th of December, is it?
Good salesmanship is as much about your displays as your stock.
“I want my tre-ee-eee!” sobbed Miss5.
“No,” I said, giving my final word on the matter. “Christmas is over now until next year. We don’t need it.”
Even as I finished the sentence I was already heading in the direction of the toilet block.
In the end I’m not sure who was happier: my little girl or the grinning caretaker as he accepted my donation in the honesty box.