It’s 23 November….Happy Christmas!


Er….okay. I realise it’s not even December yet, but Fionnuala and I buckled to pressure from our daughters today. Hannah has already been watching Christmas movies for several weeks, and was belting out festive tunes this morning in the car. It was only a matter of time before I was dispatched to the roof space, armed only with a shaky stepladder and a wonky head torch which has seen better days.

Every January I vow to put away the Christmas decorations in an orderly, systematic manner so that the following December, or mid November, I can easily retrieve them without sustaining a hernia in the process. And every January, they get haphazardly hurled into the pitch black void and forgotten about for the next twelve months. Do I ever learn my lesson? No, I do not.

There follows the traditional sight of yours truly stumbling about in the darkness, muttering and mumbling at the grievous injustice of it all. I wrestle with artificial trees, hunt down recalcitrant Santa figures and roller skate on stray baubles, my arms flailing like windmills as I struggle to stay upright and avoid an unscheduled visit to Accident & Emergency. The joy of Christmas. No. Not ever.

This year’s frolics were enhanced by being on call. There is no more bizarre feeling than conducting high powered telephone conversations while balancing precariously ten feet off the ground in pyjama bottom, a tatty hoodie and several garlands of tinsel. Please do not tell my bosses any of the above. Christmas on the unemployment queue would not go down very well with Fionnuala and the hatchlings.

My efforts were not in vain, however. While I was lurching from one calamity to the next, Fionnuala and the kids were assembling the masterpiece below. I take no credit whatsoever for it, as my wife is undoubtedly the brains and beauty of our marriage. Her innovation and imagination when it comes to all things creative, never fails to amaze me. I can barely tie my own shoe laces.

So, Christmas has arrived at chez Black, and not before time. As ever, ours is the first tree up in the street this year. That said, Fionnuala has vowed we will be scaling down the decorations this time around. No seven foot inflatable Homer Simpson Santa’s in the front garden and NASA will not be able to see our house from space. The plus side is we won’t have a five figure electricity bill to look forward to in January.

You may share in our early festive spirits. You too, may be breaking out the mince pies and binge watching endless Christmas movies which all have the same plot; successful business type who hates Christmas returns to their home town, only to fall in love with their high school sweetheart (eventually) and, in doing so, discover the true meaning of Christmas. Tell me I’m wrong?

I promise not to blog about Christmas again until at least 01 December. Although, that may be a lie. Now excuse me while I extricate myself from the roof space. I’ve been up here for hours, my head torch is fading and I’m starting to get hungry. If I’m not back on here tomorrow can someone contact the emergency services. Or at the very least, lob a few mince pies in my direction.

When does Christmas start in your house?

Who puts the decorations up in your home?

Where is the strangest place you’ve taken a phone call?

Why do all Christmas movies have the same plot?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

60 thoughts on “It’s 23 November….Happy Christmas!

  1. Love the decorations…very nice! Our family celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday and those who stayed late were treated (ugh) to a sappy Christmas movie. You were spot-on regarding them all having the same plot. Even though this was a ‘new’ movie, at each commercial break one of the niece’s would speculate (correctly) about what would happen next.


  2. Now that’s a nice looking Christmas tree.

    Christmas decorating for us started well before the end of October. We have three trees to put up, about twenty miles of garland, a hundred thousand Santas (slight exaggeration there), Christmas villages, poinsettias, you name it. Christmas is a huge deal for us. Every room except the laundry room and exercise room get the Christmas treatment.

    We used to give the Griswalds competition on the exterior, but several years ago my wife decided I was too old to go bouncing around the roof anymore. As she pointed out, gravity and I had already had an intense disagreement or three, and I’d lost every time. So now we put wreaths in the windows, Laser projectors on the house, and multicolored spotlights on the trees.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely tree! And No, I am nowhere near ready to decorate for Christmas or anything else. I usually try to wait until mid-December to put up the tree. Room decorations can be put up the 1st of December but there it stops – we used to decorate the tree a week before and that was the tradition for years, but now it’s like whenever we (and by that I mean I) feel up to it. But we have no “hatchlings” to pressure us any more – ours are all fully grown and up to their own Christmas antics.

    I really enjoyed this post ( I enjoy them all) it really had me laughing, and yes, out loud.


  4. I watch movies beginning in October. Our decorations go up at varying times in December as it’s harder to find a time for our family to get together to decorate the tree. I don’t know that I’ve ever taken a call in a strange place. And I believe they have the same plot elements because it’s comforting.


  5. Love the tree. Mine has set in a corner of the back room since last Christmas. All that needs to be done is move it to the center, decorate it and plug in the lights. MINCE PIE. Does your mince pie have beef in it?


  6. Our Christmas markets started yesterday, and we’ve had Christmas candy in the shops since August. So it’s about time you started putting up the tree. Hoping to catch all your lovely Christmas stories this year. Don’t spare them from us please. I’ll avoid thinking too much about Christmas. It’ll have to come to me I guess. It usually does at one point.


  7. Your tree looks lovely!

    I’ll start putting lights up this weekend. I put white “icicle” lights in my front windows, they look fabulous from the outside, especially at night. & I always have a string in the kitchen.

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll get out the snow globes, the various Yule knick-knacks, put garland up over the doorways. The biggest challenge is keeping breakables out of the way of the cats. Radar, especially, lives to knock things off surfaces & watch them hit the floor.

    We don’t get a tree until at least the second week of December. BUT THIS YEAR WE CAN GET IT YOURSELVES!!!! Because yesterday, my son got a car!! It was his cousin’s & she got a car from another cousin, who is serving in Afghanistan. We’ll be able to drive out to the country one afternoon & pick out a nice tree & put it on the top of the car & come home with it! I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!

    Years ago, when you could download music on the internet for free, I made dozens of personal CD’s & I made a bunch of Christmas ones. Lots of classic tunes, lots of FUNNY tunes, and lots of SINGABLE tunes. I’ll start listening to those in a few days. And my favorite classical music station plays the best holiday music in the world.

    It’s been snowing here in Buffalo for about a week & it’s really cold so I definitely have the holiday spirit. GOOD YULE!


  8. Christmas has always started on 1st December in our household because that’s my birthday. Subsequently, our Christmas tree has always had to survive for some weeks – especially in the years when we used to have a New Years Eve party. (That stopped after the year our children had more guests than we did.)
    This year I’m even earlier. I bought my (tiny) Christmas tree yesterday – the day my husband had his bypass operation (after having it cancelled for 2nd November). All went well, and I’ll hang lights and a decoration or two this weekend, ready to welcome him home next week. After watching him slowly dying, breath by breath, we will celebrate his return to the living.
    My eldest daughter will appreciate the tree too, she’s always been the most dedicated Christmas-er of the family and she comes mid-week bringing the twins (two months) and her dog who she’ll be leaving with us for a while (the dog, not the twins). If you think retrieving Christmas decorations are a challenge, try putting up two camping cots in a single room containing a double bed, from a wobbly perch on the edge of said bed.


  9. Lovely tree! We usually put up our decor this week, because we have Thanksgiving week off school. We’ve got five trees up and decorated, the front porch decked out, and small decorations filling in the gaps throughout the house. It’s very Christmassy here.


  10. The Christmas season typically beings at our house the day (or weekend) after Thanksgiving, as well. Yesterday, my wife up all of the inside decorations and some of the outside ones, while I took my mother home (about fifty miles from where we live). The Christmas tree and lights went up last night. The outside lights will probably go up today, as well as the ornaments on the tree.

    However, I will confess that I started seriously listening to Christmas music Wednesday. This was largely because I had to work eleven and a half hours that day, and it helped me cope with the frustrations of having to work so long.

    ‘Tis the season!!

    Merry, Happy Christmas to you and yours!


  11. We always decorate the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. My husband puts up the tree and decorates it while I do the rest of the house – snowmen/candles/wreaths etc. The last 3 years we have began a new tradition. Our youngest granddaughter (she is 7 this year) comes over for the day and “helps” Papa decorate the tree. In the past she has not really been much help but this year she is beginning to see how Papa does it and was a real help this year.


  12. We generally set up a tree inside and put some lights on the porch on Christmas Eve and leave them up through Epiphany. The live tree we use got too pot-bond last year, so we gave it away in January to someone who planted it in their yard (we assume—we just left it on the sidewalk with a “free” sign and it was gone in a week). So this year we’ll have a new tree—very tiny, that my wife got from a neighbor after we got rid ours (again, a “free” sign on the sidewalk).

    We do most of our Christmas shopping during the post-Christmas sales, but we never buy very much.


  13. Just today someone on my Facebook was discussing mince pie! Apparently, one of our stores was out of supplies. Personally, I’ve never tried it, but if I liked it, the horror!


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