New York Notebook

Our ugly Christmas cactus brings a certain festive spirit to our home

Of the treasures we brought from our old flat to our new one, the most festive is perhaps a baubled cactus with a jaunty Santa hat. Say what you want but it brings something to our home, writes Holly Baxter

Tuesday 08 December 2020 12:21

December is in full swing and, in an effort to make things a little more festive, my fiance and I have opened up the box we marked “Christmas decorations” last year and stuffed under the bed. “I’m sure we’ve got some baubles or lights or something,” I said, as we dragged the cardboard out from under the bed, releasing a cloud of dust to the absolute delight of our cat, who immediately rolled in it. We’d divided up the decorations we bought last year with our old flatmate (who moved in with his girlfriend after our lease ended, leaving the mad cat behind). We’d managed to make things quite festive last year with some well-placed tat from Target, after all.

It turns out that the spoils we took from that period of our lives were: two spare pillowcases (not festive); one winter coat with a suspicious smell in a size that fits neither of us; and – the piece de resistance – a large plastic Christmas cactus. If, for some reason, you are not familiar with the concept of a Christmas cactus, I can tell you (since I’m currently staring right at it) that it’s a green furry structure with twinkling lights inside, fuzzy multicoloured balls stuck to its “spikes”, plus a scarf with a plastic sprig of holly was tied round its green neck and a Santa hat balanced jauntily on its largest branch. We looked at each other as we grimly got to constructing this monstrosity in our living room-cum-bedroom-cum-kitchen. Neither of us was willing to admit that it was the most hideous thing we had ever seen, probably only useful for foreshadowing the King George-esque madness we will inevitably both descend into within a few short months.

In other words, we’ve decided to put our presents under it.

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