The 7 fretful stages of putting your Christmas decorations up

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and whilst research shows that people who put up their Christmas decorations earlier are happier, one thing people are forgetting to admit is that putting your Christmas decorations up can be bloody stressful!

So yes, we were among the keen beans who had earmarked 1st December to get our Christmas decorations up. I had visions of an M&S Christmas ad with a Michael Buble soundtrack.

Instead, what ensued left me sweating, swearing and grumpy. I then realised speaking to various other parents over the subsequent days that I was not alone in realising that putting up your Christmas decorations can be a far cry from the fairytales you see in the movies (oh what a surprise).

Instead – putting up your Christmas decorations usually goes a lot more like this…

Stage 1: Getting the stuff out of the attic and downstairs

Bloody hell! Why oh why did you wedge the Christmas decorations in the far left-hand corner with everything else acting as a fortress wall around it? After some strategic manoeuvring, you finally heave the decorations out, and much like giving birth, you find that what you are delivering is far too big for the space it will be coming out of.

You heave and shunt and push and grunt and finally……deliver your Christmas decorations to the outside world, wondering how you haven’t injured yourself or somebody else in your family along the way.

Stage 2: Getting the tree

We don’t have a tree in the attic, instead, we are one of “those” families who think it will be magical to go and get a real tree each year, and enjoy the smell of pine in the house. Aherm!

So we trudge around said Christmas tree vendor in the cold and freezing damp bickering over which tree to get. Then we get it back to the home where it explodes its needles all over the place and we frantically bust out the hoover trying to pointlessly clean up because we have forgotten what will come next (see stage three).

When we bring the tree home, we decide that we can’t be bothered to saw the end off because that’s one nightmare we can’t face this year. We then pay the price of having a crooked end- the bloody thing won’t stand up straight no matter how tightly we screw it in and is now teetering on the brink of disaster…. A week later we will probably have forgotten to water it and it will be fighting for its life anyway #pointless.

Stage 3: Explosion!

The Christmas decorations are feverishly pulled out of the boxes as we all gleefully remember where this or that came from. What a beautiful trip down memory lane! That is until someone finds that their favourite bauble is broken and starts to sob uncontrollably.

Then you make the mistake of leaving the room and on re-entering finding yourself in the midst of where a Christmas decoration warzone. You lie sobbing in a heap on the floor tangled up in a string of Christmas tree lights which leads me on to….

Stage 4: Oh God the fairy lights!

Who the hell put the fairy lights away last year? If I get my hands on them….grrrr fess up now! You wonder who you can blame for having to spend an age detangling the nightmare of fairy lights cursing along the way and not even trying to hide the fact you are.

Finally, you get them all on, plug them in and nothing! You start ranting and raving about how they are all broken and will have to get some new ones after all of that effort.

Only to realise you didn’t actually switch the lights on. Doh!

Stage 5: Decoration squabbles

In your mind, everything has a place on the Christmas tree and everything should be symmetrical and colour balanced. Bahaha who are you kidding! That notion got canned along with your part in the M&S Christmas ad you imagined in your head.

No don’t put that there! That part is already too busy! My god, it looks awful! No please, not the tinsel. After about half an hour later you realise everybody else has abandoned you and you are left to fix the calamity of decorations which are now suffocating your tree. Well, at least that will give you a chance to fix the monster it has now become.

At last, it’s time to put the star on the top. Despite being over half your height, you lift up your child and they take what feels like an eternity to put it on. Meanwhile, you wonder how many visits to the chiropractor you will need afterwards to fix your poor ailing back.

Stage 6: What about the rest?

Okay so you may have got the tree up, the lights on and decorated it with baubles and all sorts of other strange excuses for decorations thanks to all those “charming” creations the kids come home with from school. But what about all the other bits? The wreath, the fireplace garland, that weird polar bear and trippy light up star you thought were a good idea at the time. And not to mention the outside lights!

Good grief do you want to give yourself a cardiac arrest? Man alive, Rome wasn’t built in a day you know! You decide you can’t cope with yet more Christmas decoration carnage and instead shove it all back in the box and into a far dark corner of the house to do tomorrow.

Out of sight, out of mind! – you tell yourself – before going to lie down in a dark room for a while.

Stage 7: The re-entry

But then something magical happens. Despite having aged about ten years from the stress in the process, you leave the house and on re-entry, realise just how magical everything is beginning to look (that is only if you managed to clean up the carnage before leaving).

And that, my friends, is why we think putting up your Christmas decorations is always going to be so magical. Because our cunning brains block out all the bad bits above, and only let us remember the magic i.e. living our best life like in a Christmas movie.





More fool us.

And finally, in the spirit of all things Christmassy I’d like to leave you with this year’s Christmas video – if you’d like to see me and The Middle Class Wrapper hamming it up Christmas-style for a quick three minutes and have a laugh on us have a watch it here!

Do you recognise the above in your own household? Do share in a comment below.



  1. Our decorations went up early this year as I used the tree as a backdrop to some gift guide images … the kids did the lot – assembled the trees, added the lights and decorated it! I watched!!

  2. We always had a real tree growing up, I don’t know anyone in Germany who has an artificial tree in their (not counting shops etc). My parents had and still have real candles too, I guess they don’t go so well with an artificial tree. Most Germans I know also don’t put their tree up until Christmas Eve, though we do put decorations up for Advent. Most important is the Advent wreath – you light one additional candle each Sunday before Christmas, and then you have your tree at the end. It symbolises the growing light as we get closer to Christmas.

  3. We haven’t put our decorations up yet. We always have a real Christmas tree so we go and buy it about a week before Christmas and then put everything up.

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