There's a tree in my living room. This is not normal. Given that I haven't taken up the life of a forester, the most obvious answer must be that we're hurtling carelessly towards the festive season and Katie has decided to mark this headlong dash by erecting the Christmas tree.
In previous years I have had a degree of creative input to the whole process. In previous years I have joined her beside the tree to hang decorations. In previous years we've worked on this together - I might even have pompompommed a Bing Crosby number in a pleasing baritone while she handed me the tinsel.
In previous years the tree has ended up looking like someone had dipped it in glue and then ramraided their local Homebase.
So this year my involvement was not even supervisory. I went into another room and sat there, doing various non-seasonal things and while I was in my self-appointed purdah the tree sprouted in a tastefully themed way.
The other break from the traditional in recent years was our purchase of an artificial tree. We used to have a real one every year so we could have the undiluted pleasure of the car smelling like toilet cleaner for a week. All was well. But every year we'd forget one thing.
Our cat would hump the tree.
We'd be sitting there, slowly relaxing after a difficult December day. Perhaps we'd have friends round and would be gently discussing the matters of the day. Then there'd be a frantic rustling noise and the tree would start vibrating, like a really specific mini-earthquake had been triggered next to the TV cabinet. The less secure decorations would start to fall off and bounce across the floor.
"Oh for God's sake!" one of us would shout in exasperation. As if on cue the cat, either embarrassed or simply satiated, would emerge from beneath the foliage, blinking in the sudden light. The tree's honour would be protected for a brief few minutes before its feline paramour started circling it once more, a glint in its eyes. The cycle would continue.
After several weeks of this onslaught the tree was beginning to lose grip of its needles. This didn't make it any less attractive to the cat, unfortunately, and the room started to resembe a forest floor. You've not lived until you've tried to hold a struggling moggy suffering from emotional frustration while attempting to extract a pine needle from its eye.
I've had better nights.
And so we reverted to an artificial tree. It's very nice, but not quite the same. We don't have the look and feel. But at least the cat gets a Silent Night.