We’ve had some Christmas tree controversy in our house this year, folks. I’ve struggled trying to decide on a name for our tree. It’s an adorable little tree, perfectly round, and sweetly shaped. I initially decided to name him Boris.
“Boris?” my mum said in dismay over the phone last week. “That’s a harsh name to pin on a little tree isn’t it?” “Well, maybe it’s Boris as a youngster,” I replied, “When he’s little, and roly-poly, and everyone loves him. You know, before he takes over the Politburo. Or makes all those scary movies. Or helps to engineer Brexit”
Okay, maybe she did have a point.
Man squeezing a Christmas tree through a door from outside
Boris comes in from the cold. Ha. Russian joke there.

Since the tree is so stout, and fully packed with branches, with a long snout at the top, it sort of resembles a hedgehog. So I considered for a time that I might change its name to Mrs. Tiggywinkle. Or Mr. Tiggywinkle, since it’s definitely a boy tree. But Boris seemed to stick.

He’s been an amazingly compliant tree despite his name. We had no problems with tree wrangling this year. Boris slipped through the patio doors uncomplainingly.  Hubby wielded his tools for a few minutes and, “Bob’s your uncle”, Boris was upright, and firmly planted in our sun room.
man kneeling in front of Christmas tree with tools
Hubby, in his wood-cutting outfit, utilizing the necessary tools.

Hubby thinks that Boris is a perfect name for the tree, and he keeps threatening that he’s going to put some vodka in the tree stand instead of water. Because, well, not to disparage Boris or anything, but he does drink an awful lot. We’ve watered him at least two or three times every day. And we’ve been laughing that maybe we should have named him Pius, after my grandfather, whose ancestor emigrated from Ireland back in 1819, and who liked a tipple in his day. But a tree would have to be very tall, and still round, to be named after my grandfather. So Boris has remained Boris.

an undecorated Christmas tree
Little Boris, home at last.
Funny these weird family traditions that get started, eh? Like our tree naming. Certainly Boris has begun to develop a personality to us. Serious and merry by turns, and a little bit tipsy by the end of the evening. Ha.
Christmas tree with frozen river in the background
Boris au naturel
Yesterday I trimmed him all up, and decorated the house. Today Hubby shopped for the groceries and supplies we’ll need to hunker down for the next week. And tomorrow the cooking begins. Then we can sit back, eat and drink, socialize, read books, and maybe if we’re very, very lucky ski. We love a quiet Christmas at home.
decorated Christmas tree with frozen river in the background
Boris with his glad rags on.

Some Christmas traditions seem to live on generation after generation. Some fall away over the decades, and we make new ones to replace them. We still serve my grandmother Knowles’s fruit salad at Christmas dinner, even though only those of us who grew up with it, like my sister and I, love it. I started making French-Canadian tourtière from my friend Susan’s recipe about twenty years ago, and now I think Christmas Eve would not be Christmas Eve without tourtière. And in the past few years, Hubby and I have kind of eschewed the gift-giving thing. Childhood Christmas gifts, however, still loom large in my memory. Last night I asked Hubby what his most memorable Christmas gift was as a child. He said his first hockey sweater, with the Chicago Black Hawks logo. Well, no surprises there.

young boy in vintage hockey sweater, and socks with his stick
A hockey star is born.

Mine was the Christmas my mum bought me real step-dancing shoes, with clickers and everything. I’d been taking step-dancing lessons that year, paid for by my big brother, and making do with my regular shoes. I was so excited to get those dancing shoes. Not sure my mum was as happy as I was after a few months of constant clicking around the house. I tapped morning, noon, and night. Mum says that she could even hear me skiffing and clicking around my room in the morning as I made my bed, that it was as if I had nervous feet. Ha. I still have my old step-dancing shoes because, you know, “some gifts are more than a gift,” they touch your heart, and you just cannot bear to part with them.

The Christmas ad by John Lewis this year touched my heart. I love Elton’s singing. And the sentiment expressed at the end.

So as Elton might say, this is my gift to you, my friends. Not a song. Just a fond hope for a wonderful holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate, even if you don’t celebrate at all. Wishing you warm fires, savory meals with family and friends, a good book or two, some hearty laughter, and a healthy and bright 2019.

Love from me, and Hubby, and Boris.


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38 thoughts on “Merry Christmas, From Us”

  1. Sitting in the dark with just some Christmas lights on and a tree which is waiting to be decorated. It is very handsome but a bit lop-sided. I think I might go back to bed…pass a peaceful and merry Christmas.

  2. Getting ready to head from LA to the Great White North (Vancouver) for our family Christmas. Leaving no tree here (3 kitties) and looking forward to one there. Wishing you, hubby, and Boris-the-Hedgehog the happiest Christmas ever, at least until the next one.

    1. Hope you have a wonderful trip. Although I guess you'll have to go to the mountains to find the white stuff. I'm imagining the mess there might have been with three kitties and a Christmas tree left home alone. Ha.

  3. Boris is the perfect name. Just add prickly to the list of descriptors. Or some other variant of that word. 🙂

    Thanks for the very funny naming story and sharing your other Christmas memories and traditions. Merry Christmas to you and Stu.

  4. Ahh yes, the annual wrangling of the Christmas tree. We don't name ours, but it is always a tradition to find "the perfect" tree, and then the process of setting it up (involving power tools, blocks of wood, some swearing…). You made me think I had better add some more water again. I love that picture of your husband as a young boy in his skates. I laughed when I read about your step dancing shoes. My daughter danced for years and years, not step dancing, but all other kinds, including tap. She was never NOT dancing. Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap. Even in her socks. Have a very merry Christmas, Sue! -Jenn

  5. Boris seems to be a wonderful name for the Christmas tree you have described…hope Boris brings you much pleasure over the Christmas season! Thank you for sharing Christmas memories of favourite gifts…mine was a 19-inch Thumbelina doll that my father told me I was 'too old for' at the grand age of 7. It was a wonderful surprise to find her under the Christmas tree and she still comes out of storage every Christmas. I share the tourtiere for Christmas Eve tradition which comes from having been born in Montreal and living in Quebec for many years. Traditions at Christmas are very important and so looked forward to each and every year. Wishing you, Stu and your extended family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2019! Cheers, Alayne in Winnipeg

  6. Boris is adorable, and probably a detective when he's not a Christmas tree. I'm laughing about the vodka, because I do put a bit of vodka in a vase with flowers – it makes them last longer and stay fresher! Have a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

  7. Christmas at home-it's a bliss!
    Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2019,Sue,to you and Hubby ! You've said just the right things for me-I can only repeat -same to you! And,to imitate Alayne,cheers to Boris and you two-I hope you'll distribute vodka fairly!

    1. Vodka will only be for Hubby and Boris… I can't stand the stuff. Have a wonderful Christmas, Dottoressa. I'm wondering what interesting holiday traditions you have that I don't know about.

  8. Have a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.
    Tourtiere is also a part of our family traditions – I don,t think we have missed one in my 60 plus years!
    And Boris looks adorable 🙂
    Suz from Vancouver

  9. Have a merry Christmas with time to sit by the fire and read all those books. Thanks for sharing your adventures and thoughts with us during the year. Enjoy Boris and I wish to a happy and healthy 2019.

  10. Boris is such a cute little tree! We finally broke down and bought an artificial tree a couple of years ago because it was getting more and more difficult to get a real one here. I thought I'd hate it, but I actually love her (yes, she's definitely a her, though we've never named our trees) and since we're only home one Christmas out of three, it means we can put her up early and enjoy her even on those years when we're going to be away.

    Tourtiere has been our Christmas Eve tradition too ever since the early 90s when we spent Christmas with my girlfriend's family and tasted that piece of her French Canadian heritage. My daughter tells me that we'll be having pizza this year though as she's the one in the family who never cared much for tourtiere and we're trying to make this a very simple and relaxed Christmas.

    Merry Christmas to you, hubby, and Boris!

  11. boris looks lovely. i grew up in scotland and we always had a real tree. here in australia real trees look very depressing so i have a fake one but i miss the smell… happy christmas to you and your family

  12. Excited, that I may actually be able to post! Perfect early Christmas gift! 🙂
    Such a beautiful Christmas story Sue! Boris definite looks at home and is obviously enjoying his regular vodka shots! Now I have a twinkly festive image in my mind when I think of "Boris" so thank you!
    Thanks also for your wishes for Christmas and the New Year Merry Christmas to you Stu and your mum and wishes for a New Year filled with good health and good times! Oh and happy travels! 🙂

  13. Boris is the perfect little tree and if you ever decide to branch into children's literature he would make a wonderful character. Wishing you, Stu and Boris a lovely christmas filled with good cheer. Iris

  14. That is a very nice tree. I bought a smaller one this year but I don't name mine, it's just tree, I love decorating it. Sounds like you have a lovely Christmas planned – enjoy 🙂

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