The Norwegian spruce is hardly native to Australia, so having a real Christmas tree is the exception rather than the rule-

much better suited to the wintery climes than to the antipodean summer. However Aussies buy wholeheartedly into the whole wintery imagery of Christmas- snowflakes, robins, reindeer, Santa in his thermals.

So for the first time in my life I find myself dressing a fake plastic tree, but there will be no pine needles to clog up the vacuum cleaner. Merry Christmas.