Packing away Christmas is a process which keeps on going and going and going.
I’m not talking about finding the odd bauble tucked in the back of the dog’s cage, or that spiky rope of multi-coloured stars still attached to the top of the bookcase.
Nope, I’m talking about Christmas tree needles and their insistent presence in the house.
It’s my own fault.
The man who sold me the tree, in the middle of a muddy field on a dark and stormy night, was quite clear about the fact that, if I spent an extra 20 quid, I could get a tree that was not only blue, but didn’t shed needles either.
‘Yeah, right’ I thought in the gale as it whipped icicles down my back.
‘Who would be foolish enough to pay that extra money?’
I was distinctly lacking in Christmas spirit at that moment, more filled with Scrooge-like anxieties about the price of December.
Now I’m thinking that the man in the field in the storm was like some allegorical moment for my life – that if only I’d paid for quality I wouldn’t be suffering now.
Because, without a doubt, the man in the field had some strange connection to the demon king of the needles.
He cursed me to suffer the indignity of picking them out of shoes, socks and hair for the rest of 2014.
I’ve found them everywhere.
And even though the tree was evacuated from the house with extreme urgency after the dog went underneath it to collect an errant piece of fluff and came out looking bright green, the needles still managed to drop and start breeding before the kitchen door creaked closed behind them.
I’m beginning to suspect that I’ll be picking needles up from the start of 2014 to the very end.
They will be part and parcel of every floor sweep, every vacuum moment and indeed, every mop.
Would I pay the price now, a mere £20 for not having impromptu acupuncture every time I walk across the room?
Why, yes I would.
In fact, I think I’ll bung £20 in a jar right now, ready for this Christmas.