The countdown is on. This time in two weeks it will be Christmas Eve. We are yet to put up the tree, but I’m determined to do that tomorrow. I talked to Gary and Daniel about it (separately) and they both feel pretty much the same, but for different reasons.

Gary tells me he’ll be satisfied with whatever I decide. He doesn’t need a tree and all the trimmings to celebrate Christmas. I’ve always known that. Besides, Gary is religious and he feels the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. But if I want a tree, then a tree we will have…and a great looking tree too. I believe him when he says that.

When I first approached Daniel, I asked, “What are we going to do about a Christmas tree this year?”

Daniel looked at me with those large, bewildered eyes and shook his head. “To be honest, Mum, I don’t care about the tree. Without Barry, nothing will be the same.”

“I know,” I replied, “but Barry loved Christmas and he would have wanted us to make Christmas the best we can.”


“Do you want to help, or should I just organise it?” I asked Daniel. “Will you be upset if you arrive home to find the tree up?”

Daniel shook his head. “It’s not the actual tree. I don’t mind the tree being there, it’s putting the tree up that will be hard.”

I had to agree with him there, because I felt the same way.

Daniel continued with what he was doing for a few moments, then he turned to me and looked me in the face. “But…if I don’t help you, that means it will be harder for you.”

He got it in one.

Whilst I have been assured by Gary that he would never allow me to put that tree up alone, I need Daniel to help me…this year. I need the three of us to do this together. I don’t mean it has to be this way every year for the rest of my life. Just this year. We haven’t shared this experience in over six years, but I need him to be part of it this year. But I don’t want to force him, or beg him, or bribe him into doing it. He has to want to do it himself. He has to volunteer.

“Let me think about it,” he said.

And that was the end of the conversation.

Several days have passed. He hasn’t mentioned it again. If this was a normal year, Barry and I would have put the tree up yesterday. Barry would have made sure he was free so that we could spend a few hours making the house ready for Christmas. You can read more about my family’s Christmas Traditions here.

But this isn’t a normal year. The tree didn’t get put up yesterday…or today. And I don’t know if Daniel will help us with the tree or not. When I see him later today, I will have to tell him that if he decides he wants to help, he’ll have to be home by 7pm tomorrow evening because that’s when the tree is going up.

I hope he’ll be here, but I won’t be surprised if he’s not.