This year more than ever, making Christmas feel as special as we can, given the restrictions of meeting up with family and friends, feels important. Apparently, sales of Christmas trees are up 30% at the moment along with fairy lights and baubles, so clearly many of us have similar plans. Jackie has always loved dressing our home for Christmas; probably a nod back to her days in retail. Ian still remembers a florescent pink Christmas tree that arrived one year, after featuring in Top Shop Leicester’s Christmas windows. These years, Christmas had a bit more of a country feel in both our house and the Long Barn. We always go to Dalby Forest for our trees; they’re sustainably grown and the Dalby team are so cheery and friendly. Even this year, when we all masked up and selected trees at a socially acceptable distance. Decorating the trees has to be done with a background of Christmas music from Michael Buble and Phil Spector’s Christmas Gift album. And possibly with a homemade mince pie and small sloe gin in hand.

Our decorations have been acquired over the years, and range from some fluffy sheep ones, bought 30 years ago, to a handmade one from our little niece Ella. Last year we were finishing our house renovations so were feeling pretty exhausted. In fact, not all the decorations made it out of the boxes. This year it’s a different story with them all seeing the light of day, although some were unpacked still with a light dusting of builder’s plaster.

Many bring back memories of when we got them from reindeer salt and pepper pots (a gift) to the snow globes we bought from New York (just before we decided to sell up and escape to the country) The latest was a small terrier dog bought from a trip to London, in lieu of the dog that after much negotiating Jackie will (eventually) have.

We love decorating the Long Barn for Christmas and feels it’s even more important for the guests here for just a few brief days in line with the guidelines. So watch out for our social media posts – there are 3 trees to go up, and every bedroom has a little sprinkling of Christmas decorations.

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