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3:03pm on Friday, 16th December, 2005:

The Reach of Christmas


This is a photograph of Essex University's Christmas tree:

It looks a bit dark at the bottom, so you may not notice that the big, gold-coloured bows only go half-way down.

Why only cover half a tree in bows? Are they too cheapskate to buy enough for the whole tree?

I suspect not. The reason for stopping where they did with the bows is that they're beyond the reach of students at that height. Any lower, and students could reach up and take them as trophies. If they had put the bows all the way down, the tree would have looked as it does now by Christmas anyway. Well, that's assuming today's students behave the same way that they did when I was an undergraduate...

It's not just students, though. When I was a kid, the council used to put a tree on the triangle of land we called The Greenway (actually, given that it was mainly used as a dog toilet, it did get fertilised well enough to be green most of the year; it wasn't a lot of fun playing football on it, though). One year, they decorated the tree with 20 coloured light bulbs, of the size that fit in regular light sockets. By Christmas Eve, only the 6 at the top of the tree hadn't disappeared.

Christmas is a time for giving and for taking.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).