Alan Dee: Seasonal crate expectations make me cringe

I’ll hold my hands up and be the first to admit it: Chez Dee is not, and has never been, a byword for domestic order. There may well be a place for everything, but everything is rarely in its place.


There seems to be a general acceptance that taking something upstairs actually means dumping it at the bottom of the stairs and waiting for someone else to complete the journey, and that can take days.

The garage is filled with junk that never quite made it to the bin, or the recycling station, or the dump, either through a man’s inbuilt reluctance to throw anything away or sheer indolence.

And anyone who is willing to venture into the cupboard under the stairs had better be prepared for a long-term occupation, if you get my drift.

So, yes, it was only the other week that I finally got around to consigning the Christmas crates to the loft.

I’m not just talking tree and decorations here, people – those festive fixtures only make up about a quarter of the Christmas crud that gets hauled out every year.

The bulk of the rest of it seems to be split fairly evenly into one of two camps – bits of pieces of crockery featuring seasonal decoration which can only be used at a particular time of year, and stuff you stick candles in.

Not just candles, of course – we’re mainly talking tealights here. We’ve got so many little pots, multiple-slot trays and complicated skyscraper arrangements – all featuring reindeer, angels, Christmas trees, holly and other Saturnalia staples – that if we used them all for their intended purpose at the same time our house would probably throw off such an intense thermal image that the drugs squad would be knocking on the door, asking to see our cannabis factory.

It won’t surprise at least half of you to hear that although I have no interest in tealight holders, cute plates for serving nibbles with a snowman theme and all the other bits and bobs these crates contain, it’s my job to pack them up and stow them away, and haul them out of storage again at the end of the year. I accept my lot, it makes for an easy life.

But last week I spotted a new box under the kitchen table. On examination, I found to my horror that it contained a goodly gallimaufry of decorated ceramic eggs, tealight holders in the shape of chicks, plates decorated with pictures of lambs and bunnies and other spring-themed silliness.

This, I was told, is the Easter crate. Mrs Dee and her sundry friends and colleagues have now decided that they will no longer exchange chocolate treats at this time of year but such is the nature of womanhood that the gifts have to keep on coming, however pointless they are. It’s only one crate for now, but where will it end?