In my life as a buyer of all things festive, it is Christmas every day of the year. My face is permanently dusted with glitter (it’s not makeup, honest) and my hands scratched; not by roses but by assembling umpteen artificial spruces, pines and firs every month. Despite these minor afflictions, it is very possibly the best job in the world. If one is tired of Christmas one is tired of life.

I am frequently asked if I still enjoy the big day when it arrives, and my answer is always a profound ‘yes’: buying Christmas products is one thing, celebrating the festive season is another. I honestly love both. The other issue I am quizzed about is whether tinsel is vulgar or not. All I can say is that there is room for anything that glitters at Christmas – if you like tinsel, you go for it! It’s cheap, cheerful and only up for a few weeks so who cares if it’s in vogue or not?


The period between October and early April is my busiest time for selling and buying, which for the most part complements my passion for gardening. October and November (peak bulb planting and buying months), are a challenge, as is March, but by then the end is in sight. So if I am occasionally a little quiet during these shorter days it’s not because I am tired of blogging, but a consequence of needing to ensure, when next December arrives, that my shop is stocked with the finest Christmas decorations money can buy.

(The photograph, top and below, of a splendid English Oak (Quercus robur), was taken at sunrise at Wasserburg Anholt, Germany, my home-from-home when I’m sourcing decorations in Europe. Observant readers will spy strange UFO-shaped manifestations which are a consequence of having taken this shot through a plate glass window.)