While most of us have only just started to write our lists, ponder over turkey-to-oven ratio and wonder why, for yet another year, we didn’t throw out the old frayed tree ornaments, the team at Glendoick has been busy preparing for Christmas since round about January!
Undoubtedly one of Perthshire’s most magical of festive experiences, the transformation of award-winning Garden Centre into Christmas Wonderland takes months of planning, choosing, booking and buying to ensure a sizable sprinkling of seasonal magic reaches into every last corner! From animated polar bears to twinkling lights, baubles in every size, shape and colour, you will find everything you need to recreate this wonderful festive atmosphere in your own home.
We caught up with Jane Cox, co-owner of Glendoick and ringleader of the festive fun, to find out just how long it takes to create the breath-taking display. The buying team go to Holland every January to start looking at ideas for decorations and little festive knick-knacks.
“We usually start planning as soon as the last of the displays are packed away. We have a good idea of what people like and want because we’ve been doing the Christmas shop in one way or another for over ten years – although it is now as big as it’s ever been!
Valerie, Lynn and I, the buying team, go to Holland every January to start looking at ideas for decorations and little festive knick-knacks. It’s an amazing experience – if you think our shop is big you should see what’s on offer in Amsterdam! There are always new ideas and trends to discover - you really do need to stay focused so you don’t end up buying everything in sight.
Then in March, we do the Spring Fair in Birmingham to look for gifts and homewares with a Christmas theme. By April, we should have the buying element of Christmas more or less complete.
We extended the gift section of the Garden Centre when we completed the extension five years ago so our Christmas gift selection automatically became bigger – there really is something for everyone now. Gifts for him, gifts for her, some beautiful ideas for children and of course, the family pet! All here waiting to be picked up, wrapped up and popped under the tree.”
All of this hard work comes to fruition in October, when boxes upon boxes of stock arrive. The team clear the summer gardening section, which spreads across the full width of the centre, and prepare for Christmas to take shape.
It takes a full two months from start to finish – and with none of the now famous Glendoick Gnomes on hand until November, it really is all down to the team! - but the end result is a magical wonderland, dazzling with decorative themes to inspire your own home and garden, wonderful displays of animated creatures and of course, a cabin for Santa’s weekly December visits.
“Santa is hugely popular as you’d imagine! We have a really diverse range of customers now at Glendoick with regular family events throughout the year attracting more and more people with small children. And of course, the launch of the playpark in summer 17 has only added to that.
We don’t charge for a visit to Santa – we think everyone should enjoy that special festive treat - but we do ask for a voluntary donation to our chosen charity which this year is Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). Kids leave with a little gift, we raise a bit of money for a great cause and the grown-ups can enjoy lunch in the café or a wander through the gift section.”
And what a gift section it is! The team at Glendoick are passionate about using and sourcing quality, local suppliers and this can be seen throughout the centre. Their fabulous hampers are always a big hit with foodies and are stuffed full of Scottish favourites such as Summer Harvest Oils, Walkers Shortbread and Eden Mill Gin. Other gifts include beautiful, unique items from cottage industry artisans such as The Scottish Fine Soap Company, Botanic Isles Jewellery and McKelvie Candles. Even the Christmas Trees are grown just down the road on the slopes of Craig Owl.
“The day the trees arrive is so much fun! People can order now and collect during the first week in December. The smell as these freshly cut trees are driven into the car park is wonderful and I do think this is one of the reasons people come back year after year - Scottish grown Nordmann Fir trees come with unrivalled value and quality and that fresh, evergreen scent lasts from the day it goes up to the day it comes down.”
So what, we wonder, does a person who has been planning Christmas since January, do come December?
“I shall pour myself one of our many Scottish gins, pick up some of the homemade mince pies from the café and sit down in an extremely comfortable chair with a good book and the smell of Scottish pine wafting round my sitting room!”
Fabulous colours of mint, silver, white and teal giving a Scandinavian feel.
One of our favourites - tartan, red, green & gold.
Light up your home this festive season with sparkle from this glittering range.
Lots of fun in a white and red stripe theme.
Deep colours of copper and burnt orange, with forest green and natural wood. Ideal to start an early display and then just sparkle-it-up for Christmas!
Matt Henderson is the fourth generation at WTG Henderson Jewellers in Perth, currently owned by his dad, Scott, the family business is was established in the city in 1938.
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