In 2014 there was lots of local coverage on Latest Tv in Brighton (scroll down to see videos) and since 2017, I have had some amazing national and local media coverage on my collection of Christmas decorations.
In 2017 there was a big feature in the Daily Mail on the 23rd December. Online, both the Mail, Daily Express and others covered the story too.
Lots on national newspaper, online interest surfaced again in 2018.
In 2020 we were invited to take part in a Channel 5 programme, "Incredible Christmas Trees - How to decorate them" and we featured "live" from home on ITV's "This Morning" for a chat with Phillip and Holly and a tour of the decorations.
I have been interested in Christmas decorations since my early childhood. My parents had a country pub in Oxfordshire. Aged 8 or 9, I used to help my mother decorate the 2 public bars and our private accommodation. I soon ended up taking over! I then went on to decorate the pub, The Dolphin, right up to 1987, when my parents retired, continuing to purchase new ones for my own home. My eclectic mix includes some delicate pieces from 1930Õs Prague, many glass baubles from the 1950Õs and 60Õs and a wealth of decorations from Woolworths from 1960, through the decades until its demise. Following a spell of 6 successive Christmas breaks with friends in Washington DC, back in the late 1990Õs, I began a collection of the official White House Christmas decorations, issued by the White House Historical Association. They are beautifully crafted pieces in memory of past Presidents, each beautifully packed in decorative boxes and a detailed history of the President immortalised. The 2020 decoration remembered JFK.
Below you can see all the details in each year and Christmas photos from my childhood in the 1960's and 1970's.
I have created an 8-minute virtual tour of this years Christmas decorations which can be seen by clicking the image above.If you would like to donate to Macmillan Cancer Support after seeing it, please click on image to the left.
ITV's "This Morning".Wednesday 2nd December 2020.
Phillip and Holly raised a glass with me at the end of the film.
Below 6 screenshots taken from the programme.
Click here to watch the live broadcast on the programme. It was filmed on an iPhone and relayed via a skype link, hence not fabulous sound and imagery but nonetheless a fabulous moment!
Below the 2020 lounge Christmas Tree in all its glory
"Incredible Christmas Trees & How To Decorate Them".Saturday 28th November 2020.
See the short segment from the show in the film below
Channel 5 tweeted about the programme the day of the broadcast. You can see the whole show on My5 Catch up by clicking link below.
A lovely half page feature appeared in The Argus newspaper on the 11th December, helping to promote the fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.
It appeared online too, view here.
Putting up the lounge Christmas tree in under a minute!
The tree above alone has 15 metres of tinsel, 1700 fairy lights, over 800 baubles and 10 metres of silver beading! I always feel, when getting my garden ready to open every year, that I am dressing a film set for visitors to view and the same principle applies with my Christmas decorations. IÕm a bit of a perfectionist! The artificial tree takes ages to set up with all the branches having to be just right. Once assembled, there are 3 strings of lights, one goes top to bottom, up and down the tree, one spirals around bottom to top in one direction and the final one spirals up in the opposite direction. Flashing sequences of the three sets are then adjusted to give the perfect look! Next, tinsel and silver beads are carefully positioned to create evenly balanced swirls all the way up the tree followed by the baubles and other decorations.
Below, a panorama shot of the decorations in the lounge for Christmas 2020.
Many of the decorations on the tree below were bought for me by my grandparents in the 1960's. The pierrot doll was made by my paternal grandmother in about 1961 from a ping pong ball and pipe cleaners! The reindeer and sleigh, hanging at the back from Woolworths in the 60's too. It hung in my parents pub until they retired in the mid 1980's.
2 images of the vintage Woolworths tree from the early 1960's decorated with many vintage baubles from my childhood and beyond, including some from the 1930's, bought in Prague.
Ever since spending 6 consecutive Christmas breaks with friends in Washington DC from 1994 to 2001, I have been collecting The White House official decoration issued by the White House Historical Association.
They are all displayed on a tree in the lounge. Some of my favourites pictured along with the 2020 decoration, one remembering JFK.
In November 2020, Richard Jackson's garden posted a great blog I'd written about my love of Christmas trees over the years! Click image to view!
2019 CoverageBelow the lounge Christmas Tree in December 2019
Above 2019 images taken by me of living room tree and treasured small vintage tree in display case. Either side, 2 shots of the decorated fireplace in the lounge.
Above 2019 images taken by me of living room tree with the large pointsettia, the wall tree in the porch and the small tree in the dining room.
Below, two of the 15 images received from South West News Service from their shoot for web coverage in 2018.
On 24th December I chatted with Mark Carter on BBC Sussex and they posted images on social media. Click link to hear the chat.
Garden photographer, John Glover, shot the decorations on 13th December 2018, see some of the results of his work further down.
A full page featured in the South Coast Argus on 13th December.
The first of Paul Davey's images appeared in a feature in the Mail Online on 4th December, see the pictures below.
Below are 15 of the images that John Glover took of the 2018 decorations.
Left, miniature vintage tree, centre, 2001 official White House decoration and right, silver tree in lounge bay window.
Left, trio of trees in the hall, centre, vintage table centrepiece and right, glass bird and other small vintage glass decorations.
2017 Coverage Image above copyright Brighton Pictures, www.brightonpictures.com
2017 CoverageChristmas Decorations 2017
Image above copyright Brighton Pictures, www.brightonpictures.com
After engaging with a journalist about the decorations in 2016, I followed it up earlier in 2017.
Above is the image that appeared on page 17 of the Daily Mail on 23rd December 2017.
Below is a record of what happened, with the most recent first, working back to the first approach back at the beginning of December 2017 when a freelance journalist and photographer came to see the decorations throughout the house!Finally, after many false starts, the feature appeared on page 17 of the Daily Mail on 23rd December.
On the 19th December a fabulous article was printed by the Daily Mail online, which you can read in full by clicking the image below. At the same time, other on line news sites posted similar features based on this.
On 19th December the garden website, Richard Jackson's Garden posted a news item about Christmas at Driftwood too. You can read it by clicking the image to the right.
Amazingly, on 18th December, another newspaper journalist contacted me and wanted to come and shoot the decorations. I agreed and a photographer came and spent an hour looking at the hall tree and a few other trees around it!
Tony Kershaw from the news agency SWNS came and took some images, two of my favourites are below.
On Sunday 17th December, a clip of the BBC SE filming session, from Friday 15th was also posted on the national BBC News website. You can view the item by clicking the image below. At one point over the weekend, it was the 6th most watched item! It's since had over 3100 views on BBC Sussex's twitter feed too!
Here is a second short video posted by the BBC on twitter on the 17th December.
The owner of this house in #Seaford doesn't just deck his hall. He needs every inch of space, and several trees, to display his collection of baubles, gathered over more than half a century pic.twitter.com/BHdTMrDdkN— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) December 17, 2017
Seahaven Fm invited me to talk about the decorations on the local radio station on Saturday 16th December and you can hear the interview as soon as they have sent me a copy!
Below you can see the screenshots from the BBC SE Today broadcast on Friday 15th December, of the introduction on the programme and Geoff and Barbara being interviewed!
Below you can watch the piece as screened on BBC South East Today.
Reporter, Juliette Parkin, contacted me on the morning of the 15th and arranged to come with a cameraman to film a short report for the evening news!
|Left, Juliette films the introduction, talking about the White House Christmas Tree, and on the right she can be seen interviewing my 90 year old mother, Barbara Stonebanks, with our dog Albert on her lap. Below is the tweet that BBC SE Today posted before the show.|
Table set, presents wrapped and over 20 trees decorated with memorabilia dating back as far as the 1930s. Meet a man who loves Christmas later at 6.30pm pic.twitter.com/aC8m5eLZR7— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) December 15, 2017
|The story soon moved on with BBC South East Today contacting me to ask if they could come and film the decorations for the local evening news! I explained they would have to wait until the national newspaper had shot their tableau. I contacted them at the end of the week and they arranged to come and shoot the decorations on Friday 15th December!||
|In the meantime, BBC Sussex Breakfast Show had got wind of the decorations and contacted me to talk to Neil Pringle on the Breakfast Show on Monday 11th December. They posted the pictures on the left on their facebook page after the interview which you can listen to by clicking here.|
|On 12th December 2017 the photographer returned to take the images of the tableau of 24 trees, my image of them is above.|
Rosie Taylor sent off the images and words to the newspaper, who fell in love with the story BUT said they would like to see all the Christmas Trees as a tableau in one room. I was asked to relocate them all but said it was too much of a job. However, the paper agreed to pay me a three figure sum to do it, so I agreed. You can see 3 pictures below of setting the trees up in the lounge. I had to take all the decorations off the tree in the dining room and set up again in the lounge as well as to remove all the fragile, vintage, glass balls from the tree in the hall and drag it into the lounge bay window!
|On Friday 8th December 2017, a freelance journalist, Rosie Taylor and a photographer came to see the Christmas decorations, with a view to get an article in a national daily newspaper. You can see them working in the lounge and dining room in these images.|
Back in 2014, I made several gardening videos for the local Brighton TV station, Latest Tv. This one was made with Simone Thorogood and Andrew Bullock. We visited a Christmas Tree Farm to cut down a tree and return to Driftwood to make decorations for the birds over Christmas. It was broadcast week commencing 10th December that year.
This segment on Latest Tv was where I showed Andrew and Simone how to make a Christmas wreath, which was broadcast week commencing 17th December.
Vintage 1960's & 1970's Christmas
Vintage 1960's & 1970's Christmas
Below some images from back in the late 1960's and early 1970's in my parent's public house, The Dolphin, taken from slides at the time.
Many of the decorations in these images are still with me today and come out each year!
|The image on the left is of the lounge bar with holly, ivy and other decorations inter twined in wrought iron canopy above the bar. Centre image of the Christmas tree in our private quarters with buffet table set up and the one on the right of me (centre) with my brother and maternal grandmother dated 1971.|
|On the left the Woolworths tree in the lounge bar. Centre image of the Christmas decorations I put up on the ceiling of my bedroom. All the paper chains were made from crepe paper and put up. On the right the tree in our private quarters of the pub. All taken in 1968.|
|The real tree on the left from 1968 and the small Woolworth's tree on the television in 1966, a tree I still have and decorate today with small vintage decorations In the centre a picture of me with my maternal grandparents and parents back in 1971.|
|An image from 1972 of a group including me with our dog Mac, by the Christmas tree in the lounge bar of my parent's pub, The Dolphin, in Middleton Cheney, near Banbury. All images taken from slides, hence not brilliant quality.|