Countdown to Christmas || Christmas Begins at Reuben Shaw and Sons

Hello readers, Mister Mess here! I’m being allowed, under strict supervision, to have my say on the blog. Exciting times for all of us, eh?

I’ve been asked to talk about one of our Christmas traditions. For us, Christmas isn’t just Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Christmas is made of all the many traditions that surround the three big days. One of my favourite traditions, and one of the first signs of Christmas, comes in October. I know! October! Stupidly early to even think about the big day. Nevertheless, since we’ve been together, the first inklings of the festive season come in October half term (that’s the one-week school holiday in October, for those non-UK readers out there).

There’s a garden centre near my mum’s house, a place that has been there since I was a kid. It’s called Reuben Shaw and Sons. If you’re in the East Midlands and you love gardening, you should check it out at any time of year. If you love Christmas, though, you’ll want to go when the display of decorations opens. They call it the Winter Wonderland. I know it sounds a bit of an exaggeration, but I think they earn the name.

Whoever puts the displays together has a real talent. They don’t just plonk a bunch of tinsel and baubles on the shelves, they create themed areas. One year they had Narnia, another year there was an igloo. The decorations are grouped so that they make some sort of sense (like the nativity scenes in a ‘Church’ area and the gingerbread figures in Santa’s kitchen).

They also have trees that are decorated in a variety of styles so you can get design ideas. Our tree at home is pretty eclectic, what I think of as a ‘family tree’. There are the old fashioned things that I love, the Disney Princesses for the girls and the Chatsworth decorations from the Mess in a Dress herself. Each year, though, we acquire something new from “Reuben’s”. This year it was unicorns for the Bug and a glittery crystal bonbon for Moogle.

It’s sometimes weird to step out of the Winter Wonderland and realize that it’s not even November. It feels like Christmas is ages away. Sure, it’s time to make the Christmas puddings, ready for maturing, but thinking about the family party or presents is really distant. Until suddenly it’s past Bonfire Night and we realize the days are speeding up as the end of the year gets closer. Then I look at the calendar and realize that I’m writing this post on the first of December! When did it get to Advent? How?! I told my wife I’d write this for her shortly after leaving “Reuben’s”. Oops!

Hope you enjoyed this post and the photos. Please tell her that you did, she might let me write something again!

Bye for now!  Mister Mess.

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