From the beginning of December we’re on the lookout for a Christmas tree. Word is they are sold everywhere on the streets. But they don’t appear. So J makes a cardboard one to begin decorating while we wait for the real thing. Finally, a man arrives in a van and sets up his selling station just across the road from the apartment. I watch from the window as the seller pokes the occasional tree through a funnel to wrap it in white netting, constraining it to thinness for a journey on the bus or in a car. Two days before Christmas he starts wearing a Santa hat. We have one small fall of snow that powders the trees white.
J comes back with a small tree perfectly shaped, and we begin transferring decorations: baubles, snowflakes, pompommed candysticks the kids made; little wooden figures; paper chains; J’s meticulously crafted boxes; and a string of lights. The twins inform us that their lights flash.
A few days before Christmas the woodsy perfume of the tree begins to permeate the house. The number of trees being sold dwindles.