"My Old Boot"
That I am told... (by a very reliable source... ie The Empress) was originally filled with chocolates and hung to decorate the Christmas tree.
It... like me... has seen many a Christmas and many better days...
I hear you gasp as you're thinking..
"Surely Princess can't be that old? She looked so young in that newspaper article the other day... My my he has kept himself well... either that or he's had some work done".
It wasn't such an Old boot back then but a brand spanking shiny New Boot
Bright red in colour and sprinkled with large glittery sparkles in all different colours.
The net around the top was a vivid white and closed with a little drawstring that when closed would allow you to hang it from the tree.
And it was originally full of chocolates, and then every year after that, amazingly Santa would re fill it with "Smarties"* overnight
(me being the eldest of 4) they too had a "Special Ornament" bought for them and also hung on the tree.
My brother, a Golden Glass bird with a tinsel tail. I remember that it wobbled on a spring that clipped on to a branch.
My sister, when she arrived two years later, was given a pale pink fairy that had little net wings and a little magic wand in its hand. It was all hand stitched silk thread and glass bead embroidered.
My youngest brother as I recall claimed most of the tree ornaments as his own. But by that time I was much older and "grown up" so it really didn't matter.
Each year as the family grew my "Santa Boot" would rise higher and higher on the tree... much to my siblings angst.
"Why does Princesses old boot always have to go higher than everyone else's?" they would cry..." My Bird / Fairy / Stars should go up higher this year...
Why is he so special"
But our Mother "The Empress" would always respond
"When will you kids realise that each of you are special to your father and I?
That boot... Yes it was bought for Princess the year he was born...
But... that year was also our first Christmas in this house as a family.
The only Christmas decoration that we could afford for the tree that first year was that Santa Boot... We had no money for anything else.
Your Dad and I sat and ate the chocolates on the floor by the tree while we took turns at rocking Princess in the pram trying to get the little bugger to go to sleep...
It's because of the memories that that boot holds for your father and I that he always makes sure that the Boot goes to the top of the tree"...
It's not because Princess is any more special than the rest of you!
And that would end the arguments
Years later when I moved out of home.... as she did for all of us... the Empress presented me with a box of Christmas Decorations.
Wrapped in tissue paper on the top was "The old Boot"
"But Empress" I said "I can't take that. You keep it please. I know the meaning that it has for you and the memories that it holds."
"No" she said. "It was bought for you... So that is where it belongs... With you... and where ever you go and wherever you are living you will think of me and your father every Christmas"
Like me... the old thing is a bit worse for ware these days. Faded to a pink from it's original red... It has lost more glitter than remains, the netting is ripped and dusty and it sill has the original tinsel twine that Mum added to it about 40 years ago "so as to hang it better on the tree" dangling limply from its side...
The little sprig of holly leaves have crackled and peeled in brittle age and a few of the red berries have gone missing in action over time.
I noticed this year that it has developed a large split along one side where the sole meets the upper.
The poor old thing looks quite sad really.
But some of the glitter, despite its age, still manages to sparkle when the light shifts
All in all... It is still my favourite... and I think... still holds its own among the newer and flashier baubles...
And the Empress was right... Every Christmas wherever I have happened to be... as soon as I find the old boot... I hear mum telling the story of She and Dad as newly weds and new parents.... sitting under the Christmas tree eating chocolates and rocking me in the pram, and all the memories of Christmas past come flooding back.