Argus garden author Geoff Stonebanks has a different pastime this time of year.
He loved Christmas from a young age and over the years his amazing collection of decorations, some dating back to the 1930s, has garnered a lot of media attention.
He has made national television appearances including live on This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
During his childhood, Geoff’s parents ran a pub which his mother decorated for the festive season and he helped her with this task from the age of seven. He soon took over and was left to his own devices.
The pub opened just over the Christmas period and customers came from far and wide to see his handiwork. When his parents retired in 1987 he inherited the pub’s collection to add to his own.
This year Geoff, whose garden is Driftwood near Seaford, goes international. ZDF has visited his home twice in the last few weeks to film him emptying his 40 boxes of decorations, putting up some trees and capturing the finished look.
From hand-carved wooden nutcrackers to stollen, there are many German Christmas traditions that have been around for centuries. The German Christmas season begins on the first Sunday in Advent, which was November 27 this year, almost as early as Geoff’s Christmas.
It takes him a week to finish and turn on all the decorations by December 1st. By the New Year he always has enough and they start to fall.
In a nod to filming, he’s added a touch of German flair to his celebrations this year – Alina Nahler, a producer from ZDF’s London office, contacted him in early November after spotting his back catalog of Christmas coverage online.
Geoff already had a small collection of nutcrackers which, according to German folklore, were given away as souvenirs to bring good luck to the family and protect the home. He also has a Christmas candle pyramid known as the Christmas Pyramid. While the candle pyramid is now popular across Europe, it was originally found in the Erzgebirge, the Ore Mountains between Germany and the Czech Republic. The same area is also known for its wooden toy tradition. Luckily Geoff has a large collection of these wooden toy decorations.
Another German invention is the advent calendar, designed to involve children in the celebrations leading up to Christmas. Geoff has bought a new one every year since he was a child and his 2022 version is very special.
One of the most important Christmas traditions by far is the decorated tree. The custom of an indoor tree was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, who came from Germany. Geoff has over 30 decorated trees of various sizes and also one outside in the garden.
Every day this year he has been posting a picture on his social media channels of Christmas decorations for each letter of the alphabet.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23180558.sussex-christmas-fans-30-trees-hundreds-decorations/?ref=rss 30 trees and hundreds of decorations for Sussex Christmas fans