Well we wish it wasn’t Christmas every day: Meet the people who work on Christmas all year long
PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 27 December 2018
We wish it could be Christmas every day - or so we sing when December comes calling.
But for some people, Christmas is a job which lasts 12 months a year. Here, we meet some of those people:
The Christmas Tree grower:
Guy Warren, Elveden Farms’ forestry and conservation business manager, helps to grow and sell more than 1,100 Christmas trees every year.
He said: “Christmas for us starts in January, where we start looking for our bigger trees. Then it all really ramps up in the last quarter, when we start harvesting and netting the trees, and taking our largest trees to one of the city centres we supply across the country.
“The most difficult part of it is the logistics, getting our teams out to these locations and installing the trees in the middle of the night - often whilst people are coming out of bars!”
Mr Warren hires around 20 seasonal workers on the Elveden estate to help man the tree harvest and staff the shop.
“It’s when you start taking them down and you see children in their buggies upset and asking why, that it makes you realise you’ve played a small role in making someone else’s Christmas. That’s the best bit for me.”
The Christmas Lights organsier:
Martin Blackwell, Head of Operations at Norwich BID.
“Christmas is 12 months round. In January we have a review of how things went, what went down well and what could be improved for the next year, and a report is put to the board in February.
“Every year we try to do something new. This year it’s the ‘Faces of Christmas’ on the Castle, which is the first time the public can submit their own content to be projected onto the Castle.
“Three years ago we bought in the Tunnel of Light, and we design new animations every year. We’re also always looking to extend and improve our coverage, such as putting up lights down the Prince of Wales Road.
“I don’t know how many kilometres of lights we put up - but it takes a team a week working all night to get it ready across the city. The lights cost us in excess off £100,000 a year.
“My favourite part about the festive period is going to the Tunnel of Light when it’s full of families, and listening to the comments and seeing the expression on the children’s faces. It makes all the effort worthwhile.”
The Christmas Pudding seller:
Patrick Gould, owner of Shire Foods East Anglia in Downham Market: “Christmas for us starts in February. That’s when we start drawing up our price lists. By April we’ve done our first few trade shows and people can begin placing their orders.”
The food wholesaler is one of the largest pudding sellers in East Anglia, stocking everything from Cole’s Puddings to Dean’s shortbreads.
Mr Gould said: “We go to our suppliers, for example ale makers, and ask what their prices are. Then we see what ranges they’ll have in and that informs our ranges.
“By October everyone has their orders - traditionally Bakers and Larners in Holt have had theirs by August. From there we keep the stocks topped up, things like alcohol and Christmas puddings have very long dates.”
He continued: “I’m very traditional about Christmas, so my favourite thing about the period is the tranquillity and getting to have a rest!”
The Christmas window designer:
Jane Evans, visual merchandise manager at Jarrolds.
“We start looking or inspiration for the following year in December. We go to London and look around the shop windows and see if there’s anything we want to take inspiration from.
“In January we start the planning, and by April we’ve pulled together mood boards of the window themes which are put to the directors.
“Then we start making the props - we have a workshop of our own or we use a carpenter. There’s only two of us and we have five floors and 11 windows in Norwich to dress, as well as the Cromer and Wymondham branches.
The Bauble maker:
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years and every year I think: ‘We’ll never manage it!’. But we do, and my favourite moment is the night we put the Christmas lights on and the fireworks go off, and you see the children running down to the toy window which is the first to be done, and they just peer in and look at all the new games they could ask for.”
Max Lamb, of Salt Glass Studios in Norwich, has made baubles for seven years - with customers including the likes of Claridge’s Hotel in London.
“We sell a few thousand baubles a year,” he said. “Christmas is definitely our busiest time, so after that it can get very quiet.
“Luckily we’re supplemented in our income by running bauble-making courses, which can be half a day or for a weekend, and in the early parts of the year we get a lot of interior designers coming to us looking for quotes for summer design jobs.”
He added: “We have to buy a few tonnes of glass a year, which costs about £1,500 a tonne - plus the pigments which come from Sweden and Germany.
“Yes, we make a lot of baubles, but we also do a lot of other glass blowing and are also trying to do more traditional kiln-casting as currently it’s seen as a bit of a hobby industry.”