Home family life Getting festive with Ocean…

Getting festive with Ocean…

by Clare Mansell
Getting festive with Ocean…

Last month I was contacted by the team at Ocean Finance who asked me if they could gift us some money to help decorate our home for the festive season. Obviously it wasn’t too difficult to decide to say yes, but the more difficult question was what to spend the money on?

Initially I thought about buying reusable advent calendars for Alice & Theo, but the reviews of the ones I found online were mixed and I started to wonder if filling them every year would be more of a chore than a pleasure!


In the end we settled on something which was going to be enjoyed by the whole family, not just the children – a real Christmas tree!

Jim and I have never had a real tree in the whole time we have been married. Partly that’s down to the places we have lived (there aren’t many for sale in Cyprus!) and partly it’s because we have a very nice and perfectly respectable fake tree in the loft and therefore buying a real one seems like a bit of an extravagance.

This year we are hosting the whole family on Christmas day, so it seemed like a particularly good reason to make this the year we bought a living tree. Jim spent a disproportionately long time researching the different types of tree and forbade me from buying one locally because I wouldn’t know how long it had been sitting around!

After toying with the idea of getting one delivered, he actually went out late one night and bought a Fraser Fir after Theo had gone to bed, smuggling it back into the house and getting it ready to be decorated in the sitting room. Theo came down the following morning and got a lovely surprise and wanted to start hanging the decorations before eating breakfast.


The decorations on our tree are the same ones we use (and add to) every year. There is a distinctive Canadian theme with Mounties, bears, beavers and cowboy boots all hanging from the branches and the tree isn’t topped by a star or a fairy, but by a moose. Not any old moose though… This one is called Chris…. Chris Moose.


This is the first year that Theo has really felt the Christmas excitement and it’s lovely to have an excuse to go all out with the decorations. I think we are pretty much the last people I know to get our tree up, but it’s lovely now it’s here.

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teresa December 10, 2015 - 10:49 am

Jim’s time was well spent… that is a gorgeous shaped natural tree…. I’m going in the opposite direction this year – back to artificial, decent natural ones are so expensive. The pictures of Theo are magical…. Happy Christmas to you all… xx

jan - isisjem December 10, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Every year I debate whether to buy a real tree or stick with the artificial one. Still undecided this year too. Like you we have special decorations we add to every year.

Dawn & Bean December 10, 2015 - 5:51 pm

Love this photo Clare! I’m having real trouble getting the motivation to put decorations up when a) we’re off to the in-laws for Christmas and b) beany will probably just demolish them :-/

Archie The Wonder Dog December 10, 2015 - 6:54 pm

I think that’s the nicest shaped real Christmas tree I have ever seen – bravo, Jim! I have a fake one as hoovering up after Archie is enough work, without adding needles into the mix! It might be going up next week, if I can muster the energy to put on the lights, which is definitely the worst part of the whole thing!

Nancy December 11, 2015 - 11:22 pm

I love the Canadian flavour to the tree – plus having a real tree is special here – in NS we send a large fir tree to Boston to thank them for the help they gave us after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. It is located in the centre of the city and we all get excited watching it depart. We always have to tie ours though – tightly and many years we have seen it fall over. So the breakable stuff goes on my parents old (35 or more) year old fake tree.

Karen December 14, 2015 - 11:11 am

We’ve gone for a real one this year too and I love it. Ours too has a few Canadian decorations and a mouse! Gorgeous photos!


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