A Valentine’s tree.

A Valentine’s tree.

22-01-2020 Jennifer Perkins

Most people I know took down their Christmas trees and decorations over two weeks ago. They dusted off the faithful baubles, stashed the tinsel, and are now staring at an empty space in the corner that once glittered and sparkled with twinkling fairy lights.

“It looks so bare!” Everyone says the same thing. And that twinkling little tree was doing no harm other than gathering dust! So why get rid of it?

Tradition and superstition, which sometimes adds up to the same thing, dictates that the festive tree, along with all its neighbouring decorations, should come down by twelfth night, which literally translates as the count of exactly 12 days from 25th December to coincide with the day of Epiphany. If you struggle with the math, that means 5th January. But it seems like I’ve only just put the tree up! (Which is not strictly true, because unlike a lot of people who throw up their trees a few days before Christmas, my tree went up as early as I could get away with. And if I honestly had my own way, it would probably stay up all year, because I just love a twinkly light and a shiny bauble).

I am also partial to lighting hundreds of candles around the place, but since we discovered (courtesy of a very expensive air purifier) that the vapour/fumes/smoke from burning candles affects your air quality (unless they are pure beeswax or soy) I tend to limit my candle fetish in favour of a cleaner, healthier alternative, aka the LED fairy light!

Everyone loves the gentle amber ambience delivered by the flickering magic of a candle flame! Candles instantly make a house look so warm and cosy. Yet who would have thought that such a harmless indulgence is now monitored by research as being toxic, based on the fact that most tea-lights we purchase are paraffin based and omit harmful fumes! It’s a tough call to ditch the candles, but well worth thinking about, especially in my case where it was quite normal for me to light fifteen/twenty or more every night in a confined room!

So, there we are . . . once the twinkling tree has gone, I tend to miss its presence more than most. Mind you, I do go a bit OTT with the Christmas deccies, therefore it’s completely understandable why the house looks like something is definitely missing when the tree comes down.

We popped in on one of our Majorcan neighbours over Christmas and all they had by way of decoration was one twig in a vase sporting five dangling baubles; so it’s horses for courses whether or not the glitterati of Christmas in your home is missed or not!
Therefore, I was absolutely delighted to discover a new trend launched in 2020 where the festive fir, both fake and real, is given an extension to its previously limited life, and up-cycled into a Valentine’s Day decoration. Now I know it’s still a month away, but if you are a lover of twinkling lights, just think about it! The tree stays exactly where it is. The Christmas baubles come off and are replaced with heart shaped decorations alongside Valentine themed hangings and ornaments to create a romantic centre piece for the big ‘Day of Lurv’! Cupid would sooooooo approve.

St Valentine’s Day has become quite a big celebration in Majorca so it seems a wonderful opportunity to delay the dismantling of the tree, while adding an extra something to those days leading up to it. I’m going to re-cycle all my Christmas cards, and cut appropriate ones into heart shapes to hang with ribbons on my ‘love tree’. It seems like a great opportunity to get the kids creatively involved as well. Let’s face it, the tree is there anyway so if you can utilize and enjoy it for a few more weeks, then why not? And if you’ve already taken it down, then put it back up!

The ‘Valentine’s Tree’ concept is currently trending enthusiastically on social media and Instagram, and looks like something that could really take off. So if you are like me and find it difficult to ditch the tree, why not get on board and be one of the first to embrace this new, current trend!

We have an Irish friend who for years has traditionally created an Easter tree in her home for her children and all her grandchildren. She decorates branches with fluffy chicks, spring flowers and colourful eggs, edible and otherwise, along with little paper scrolls telling the biblical story of Easter. The children read the scrolls, which is educational in itself, and eat the chocolate eggs and sweets, which can’t be bad either! I think that’s also a great idea, and can give your Chrissy tree an even longer lifespan.

So all in all, if your tree is still up (like mine is) don’t fret about the hollow curse of tradition. The house really won’t fall down because you have ‘tweaked’ a superstition. Celebrate your ability to be diverse and inclusive by creating a contemporary Valentine’s tree that keeps the twinkle of celebration alive. In this day and age, anything that carries a feel good factor has got to be a good thing. I’m already on the case! Now where are those heart shaped cookies?

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