The tree just had to go up extra early, or not at all, which is NEVER going to happen! | Peter Clover

Is it really too soon for Christmas? I’m actually referencing the ‘putting up of the festive tree’. And, well . . . for me, the answer is clearly, “NO!” Like Mariah Carey evokes each year: “It’s never too early for some Christmas cheer!”

Ever since I can remember I have been a devout member of ‘Team Tinsel’, and strive to get my tree up as early as physically possible. I also have an occurring problem with the inevitable task of taking it down! Usually, those fairy lights earn their keep, and are still blinking away through February. The trick is, I take off the Christmas baubles at the end of January, and replace them with ‘heart’ decorations to celebrate Saint Valentine. And there they hang, between the twinkling lights, giving a nod to universal love until March, when they definitely do come down! So, you see, it hardly feels like any time at all has passed since those lights came down and the twinkling tree is up again.

I must admit, throughout the year, the room does look bare without a winking tree in the corner. And nothing does ‘cosy’ like a festive spruce, even though mine is a very realistic ‘fake’ which I can throw up at any time of the year. Yay!

I am off in a few weeks’ time, indulging in a much welcome sunny-side-break, and don’t get back home until a few days before the big event, so it’s definitely a no brainer – that tree just had to go up extra early, or not at all, which is NEVER going to happen! Family are due to arrive literally days after we get back on the island, so there would be no time to decorate post- holiday. Well, that’s my excuse anyway! And the house now looks soooo Christmassy even though it’s only early November.

Although I am taking a holiday before Christmas, I always like to be at home for the big day. Many years ago, we booked a luxury cruise over the entire Christmas period to get away from the UK’s frosty climes. It seemed a great idea at the time! And the excitement and inexplicit thrill of leaving a grey and grim UK for a two-week cruise around the Caribbean was dream-like. The ship was magnificent and decorated tastefully with an abundance of festive cheer. Yet there was something definitely missing! At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then the reason hit me firmly between the eyes! I seriously missed all those nostalgic, familiar touches that only ever manifest when spreading jingle joy and spending Christmas in your own family home.

It was certainly a privileged luxury having everything done for us on that opulent cruise ship, yet I missed doing many of those festive preparations myself. I actually enjoy putting up fairy lights, trimming the tree, and getting the house ready for Christmas. I like lighting an extravagant amount of candles and transforming the lounge into Santa’s grotto. I just like festive adornments I guess – they make me feel happy!

Christmas dinner on the cruise ship was also taken in the evening (not traditionally at lunch time), and Christmas day was spent on a golden beach in St Kitts. I know that idea sounds wonderful, lapping up December sunshine abroad, but I found myself, once again, missing all those little details that I have always associated with Christmas. In the end, although we enjoyed the cruise immensely, I felt I had missed Christmas completely!

Here in Mallorca we are lucky to have the best of both worlds. We have 300 days of sunshine throughout summer. And in December, it’s often still bright and sunny, even though the days and evenings are cool enough to let you know that the brrrrrrr of winter in the air. Fires are lit. And you might be tempted to pull on a jumper or wrap a scarf. For me, it’s the cooler, cosier weather that lets me know that Christmas is around the corner. And although it’s only November, I’m already well ahead of the game . . . and seriously Reindeer Ready!