I don't exactly remember when the Christmas tree had started to shrink but I suspect it was around the time both my Dad and I stopped believing in Santa Claus.
It was the year Dad stopped decking out in Santa's garb for his nocturnal prowls to make our Christmas presents appear mysteriously under the tree.
It was also the last time I had stayed up all night waiting for a white-bearded plump old stranger to come sliding down the chimney, if that were even physically possible for him, with his stash of gifts for all of us.
No one knew why the tree had started to shrink. Dad theorized that it was all relative; I was growing taller and so the tree appeared to be growing smaller, he declared. What I didn't have the heart to tell him was that I was growing up too quickly and that his explanations were no longer quixotic enough for me.
I turned to Mom who said the tree must feel weighed down by the frosted glass baubles of oversized wishes and hope that hung from its branches year after year. It's a pity, she said, we can't even drape tinsels and fairy lights around the little thing anymore.
Gran said we would now have to be careful what we wished for. It couldn't be too large as it would no longer fit under the tree. It need not be too small but you have to make room for others' wishes too, she said. I asked her what she wanted this year and she said that a fistful of happiness and good health was more than she could hope for.
Last year the tree was barely taller than our parlour palm houseplant. That year the boyfriend had sewn for me a soft toy, a little pup that held its heart in its mouth with the words puppy love stitched on it. This year I could do with an engagement ring, I thought.