So ”Homeland Night” rolled around on Tuesday, which meant only one thing – a meeting of myself, Panties and Hangsandwich, this time at my house, where I was doing the cooking (a mean shepherd’s pie if you must know – zero degrees outside requires comfort food inside) and the others were bringing dessert (cakes from a French patessiere – HEAVENLY).
This being my first Christmas in my house sans Exhimself, I have made it as festive as I can without the expense of adding a Christmas tree – there are candles everywhere, including some horrific reindeers and a Santa carrying a giant sack of goodies (which happens to be a candle holder – tack central anyone?), tinsel and some strategically placed lights. As trees are SO expensive and I earn a pittance, I was just getting used to the idea of not having one, when I flung opened the door on Tuesday night to be confronted by a giant box and a hatted and scarved Panties who declared ”Look what I stole for you!” which turned out to be a tree, swiped from her place of work, stuffed into a box, along with some decorations and more tinsel, also stolen.
It’s not many friends that will steal for you, let alone for something that you’ve convinced yourself you don’t want, and then through your protestations, take out, fix up, decorate and light, while you check to make sure the potato on your shepherd’s pie is nice and crunchy. Then decorate your pictures with your lights, and wrap yet more lights on the bannisters of the stairs and squeal with delight when it’s all lit up and ready to go. This was accompanied by some deep sighing from Hangsandwich, who helped throughout, with lowered eyes, knowing he was powerless against the force that is Panties’ Christmas Spirit.
We ate the pie, inhaled the cakes, discussed Homeland’s shortcomings in Season 2 and after they left and every day since, I’ve switched on the tree and sat and watched it with a growing sense of joy. And when Little Niece N came to visit and I helped her walk up the stairs to let her turn on the switch for the lights on the bannister and watched her eyes light up with astonishment when they came on, I silently thanked the universe for a woman who believes rugby players shouldn’t fight so much as it’s just MEAN, and who sees no issue with taking Christmas trees from a dull office and placing them in the home of a friend who has been much in need of Christmas cheer this year. It’s good to be clear on what the right course of action is.