I never like to put up my Christmas decorations too early. There are two main reasons for this. One is that I want to maintain the excitement of Christmas. If I had my decorations and tree set up for a month before Christmas I don’t think they would have quite the same magic for me. When we lived in South Australia where the summers are hot and dry a tree branch dries out very rapidly even when it is kept damp so it looks it’s best if it’s put up just a few days before Christmas. I live in a cooler climate now and we have an artificial tree but for me the weekend before Christmas is when the decorations go up. So last Sunday was the day I fetched the Christmas tree from the shed and the suitcase containing the tree ornaments and other decorations from under the spare bed.
I said there were two reasons I don’t put the tree up too early. The other reason is that we learned the hard way that cats love playing with Christmas trees. Dogs are only interested in the presents, especially the edible ones, but cats think that the Christmas tree is put up for their personal entertainment.All those shiny ornaments are such fun to play with. When we had live trees the cats we had at the time tried to use the container for a toilet and we had to keep a spray bottle of water handy until they got the idea that we didn’t like that habit. My mother and sister had similar problems. My sister told me how she had spent ages one night decorating the tree to look beautiful. One of her cats jumped on it and the whole thing came crashing down. She said that she didn’t take nearly as much trouble putting all the ornaments back on again. Needless to say unsupervised cats are not allowed in the room with the Christmas tree at either of our homes.
Polly was not too bad with the tree last year. She was only a year old then and I think we had to chase her away from it a few times but she didn’t try to climb it. This year when she came in and saw me putting it together she was very interested. It is in a different room this year and that may have attracted her attention more. I didn’t have the camera handy at the time so I can’t show you how she came up to examine it, stood on her hind legs as if she was thinking about climbing it, poked around behind it and eventually decided to nap underneath it. I just have one photo taken before the ornaments came out.
I had heard that cats don’t like citrus and as Polly was so interested I decided to spray the tree with some citrus scented cleaning spray as that was all I had at the time. It seems to have helped because since then although she has batted at a few ornaments she hasn’t tried to climb the tree. I’m always careful not to put too much on the lower branches which is why the decorations look a little uneven. I keep the tree lights out of reach too. I read that it’s not good for cats to chew on tinsel either so I didn’t put any tinsel on the tree. I draped it over the mantel pieces instead.
I tend to use the same ornaments every year although occasionally I buy a couple of new ones to replace others that have broken. I like seeing the familiar objects come out every year, the train ornaments, the musical instruments and even a few old ornaments that belonged to relatives no longer with us.
This evening I put most of the presents under the tree. I think there are more presents for pets than for people under the tree this year as my sisters dogs and cats get presents as well as our own. Polly was a bit startled by the sight of all these packages but then she became curious as I knew she would. It didn’t take her long to discover her own presents either. She is a smart cat.
She is keeping a close eye on them until it is time to open them up. 🙂