This post comes with a warning that it contains words such as festive, baubles and Christmas. If you feel that any talk of Christmas is premature, then you may want to look away from your screen. I completely understand. Just as I appear to have a separate compartment in my stomach that inevitably has room for a pudding (no matter how filling the main course) so my brain seems to be divided into a part that organises the business side of Christmas throughout the year while the bit that plans Christmas meals, gift buying or decorating the house doesn’t function until mid-December. If you embrace all that is festive and have already started gift shopping and planning the colour scheme for your Christmas tree, then read on.
This year, all that is Christmassy seems to be kicking off later than last year. I’d like to think it’s because people have come to their senses and don’t want to start their festive celebrations until we’re well into December, but I suspect it has more to do with a sunny autumn and the way the dates fall this year.
On the farm, we’ve already delivered our first commercial Christmas trees for photo shoots, exhibitions and shopping events. The grain store has been emptied, swept and made into the Christmas Tree Barn ready for December.
In The Barley Barn, the last few weeks have been spent assembling display tables, digging out props, opening a mountain of cardboard boxes and setting out the Christmas decorations to transform the minimalist space used for meetings and printmaking classes to a glittering abundance of shimmering glass, shiny baubles and twinkling lights.
One of the main themes for Christmas 2016 is Hand-Made. Alongside craft kits and retro paper chains we’re stocking clear ‘fill your own’ baubles, which Ruth and I have already had fun with.
For hanging on the tree they can be filled with glitter confetti and sparkles. Sugar or salt can be used for a snowy landscape or, if you have a steady hand, a metallic pen or glitter glue can be used to make patterns or writing. Simplest of all is to snip off a piece of Christmas tree or slip in a pretty feather.
We also thought they’d make great little presents. A bauble filled with wooden beads to make a necklace.
Dried lavender and rose petals that could be used afterwards in sachets for the wardrobe.
We collected seeds from the coriander plants in the garden and used a funnel to pour them into a bauble so they can be sown next spring.
Buttons, ribbons, wishes written on strip of paper, Christmas spices, pins and needles, hot drinking chocolate mix, sweets, mini pompoms … it’s an endless list so long as it can be poked through the neck of the bauble.
How about you? Too early to be thinking about such fripperies or have you already started?