Christmas Has Always Been A Magical Time
It has been on Santa’s radar for very many years, believe me! I was born and grew up in Castle Bromwich, a suburb 5 miles out of the centre of Birmingham attending the local Junior and Infants schools there. My parents, Gerald and Doris Hall had moved there after the war in the late 1940’s.
By 1952 they had established Hall’s Garden Supplies in the centre of Castle Bromwich and by the time I came along in 1955 they had 2 daughters, Susan and Mary.
Embarrassing parents, is not a new phenomenon, unfortunately. With 3 children at school, soon to be 4 with the arrival of David by the end of the 1950’s, my father decided he needed to arrive at our school in early December with a massive Norway Spruce traditional Christmas tree. Wellington’s, long coats, pine needles and mud on the corridor floor is what I saw. He saw a business opportunity and a way to engage with the local community. I don’t know what the school authorities thought but decorations were made and the tree went up in the school hall. I think it was admired but I would never talk about it to my friends.
However Santa always came to our house on the Chester Road, just opposite The Toby Jug pub. Our links with Castle Bromwich go back a long way, and I’m pleased to say, still do. The original garden centre moved 100yards down the road and is till trading in Castle Bromwich over 60 years later.
It may not have the size of our garden centre in New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield and it may not have the glamour of our florist’s in the centre of Castle Bromwich, but it certainly has the tradition.
And it still has the massive range of festive decorations for Christmas 2013 that you would expect, many years after my first Christmas, but these are not vintage Christmas decorations, just the opposite.
Premier Decorations are our headline supplier as they give great value for money and are at the forefront of Christmas technology, particularly when it comes to electrical products and Christmas lights in particular. Premier Snowing Icicle LED lights are probably our most popular line over the last 4-5 years and I anticipate that will be the same again this season. Icicle lights, particularly with the snowing function, are extremely adaptable being available in sizes from around 5 metres of bulb span (180 lights) up to nearly 25 metres of bulb span and 960 lights. The regular strings of Supabright LED lights are great as they can be used both inside and outside. Again they are available in different lengths and colours.
At this point it’s worth pointing out with white LED lights we seem to have a choice of two tones. Warm White has an element of yellow light harking back to the colour we used to get with traditional bulbs on our Christmas tree 10 or more years ago. Ice White is more an absence of colour giving what is probably the purest white, even though it can have a faint blue hue to the human eye. Warm white indoors and ice white outdoors is a good rule of thumb…… but I don’t like to mix the 2 whites so I stick with the more traditional warm white as my house is older.
There has been a rise recently in the number of twig style contemporary trees for illumination in the garden. I can understand why. They either come with a spike, or a stand, take about 5 minutes to unravel, and then all you have to do is plug them in. They look at home in the winter gardens but really come to life when darkness falls. Premier Decorations style their range on a flowering cherry tree, naming one variety the Osaka Cherry Blossom Christmas Light Tree. A posh name, but with sizes up to 8 feet tall available, it is certainly not a shrinking violet.
Fibre optic trees are still popular and a real old favourite whilst new for 2013 is the range of Premier Decorations Time Lights. These are great where you cannot get electricity to a tree. A heavy duty outdoor plastic compartment holds the batteries and a sensor which illuminate the lights when night falls. They switch themselves off 6 hours later and repeat the cycle the following day at night fall. The batteries should last a full season.
My neighbour’s grand daughter loves the ones we have in the garden. ‘Where’s the magic tree gone?’ she asks me in the morning, with eyes wide open. Seeing is believing!
Our Castle Bromwich garden centre is open every day throughout December, right up to Christmas Eve.