I am not a fan of Christmas. Probably because of my lack of interest in material things. Christmas so often means ‘buy buy buy’. And I’m all ‘no no no’. I try to keep the festivities at arms length until around about the 24th.
Christmas begins in November at Newstead Abbey. And it’s full on so if you’re not a fan of Christmas cheer, good luck to you. But in the true spirit of my new volunteer role at the house, I am embracing the tinsel season for one day at least. It materialised as an opportunity to play paparazzi as they presented what can be only be described as a very festive atmosphere.
There’s a lot of work and planning that goes into putting on Christmas somewhere as large as Newstead. Some of the more vigilant visitors on the day I visited counted 14 trees. That’s a lot of trees. There are craft fairs to coordinate, Santas to book, choirs to arrange and seasonal eats to bake for the cafe. You get the picture.
And actually I did get into the Christmas spirit. Sounds of carols both old and new wafted through the house thanks to its inhouse crooner ‘Johnny Victory‘, and very good he was too! Listening to Southwell Choral Group in the cloisters finally sealed it for me. The ‘Coventry Carol’ resonates beneath those vaulted ceilings!
I haven’t found any definitive examples of Byron’s opinion of Christmas, a much more low key event back in his day. He and his kind didn’t have to contend with pre-Christmas sales, Boxing Day sales, New Year sales or even January sales.
Life went back to normal pretty quickly I shouldn’t wonder. And once I’ve done my bit with my brethren south of the Watford Gap, it’ll be back to Manchester, Newstead and I’ll be heralding in 2017 which promises a lot more than what’s going to be under the tree on 25th December.
This post is not endorsed by Newstead Abbey.
You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.