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A Fairy Christmas

Fairy Christmas Decor

Happy International Fairy Day, and a merry fairy Christmas to one and all!

We all know that Christmas time is the most magical time of the year – sparkling snow and festive cheer, Santa Claus and his reindeer flying all over the globe… The festive season can often feel like something straight from the pages of a fairy tale! Join us as we investigate the essential roles of Santa’s own fairy friends, and learn a little bit about how woodland fairies celebrate the festive season – maybe you and your family can celebrate your very own fairy Christmas!

Fairy Christmas Facts

Fairy in Christmas Stocking

There are lots of very special fairies that are crucial to the magical Christmas experience, starting with the fairies that work alongside Santa Claus and his elves at the North Pole. Everybody knows that the elves at Santa’s workshop are in charge of making the toys for all of the children – what you may not know is that with so many children to make presents for, they need the help of Christmas fairies to do important jobs like turning sugar and peppermint into delicious candy canes and even checking up on children to make sure they’re staying on the nice list! Definitely something to keep in mind when we’re sneaking extra biscuits from the tin…  

It is also rumoured that Santa invites some of his fairies to join him on his yearly trip around the world, where they can use their magic to keep his hot chocolate warm all through the cold and frosty night. We’ve also heard that the fairies may even be the ones filling your stockings, flying in and out quickly and stealthily while Santa puts larger presents under the tree. Check your stockings on Christmas morning to see if they’ve left any fairy dust!  

Make your own fairy Christmas…

Of course, there are lots of other fairies who don’t live and work in the North Pole – there’s fairies all over the world, living in gardens and forests and celebrating the Yuletide season in their very own fairy fashion! Here are some of the fairy Christmas traditions that they enjoy, and ways that you can adjust them for your own family:

Natural decorations for a Fairy Christmas
Fairies love to decorate using materials found in nature!
  • Fairies love playing in the snow, trying to blend in with the snowflakes when humans are around. They especially love having ‘snowball fights’ – of course, only one single snowflake at a time with their tiny hands! When you’re out having fun in the snow, why not catch your own snowflakes and see if you can spot any dancing snow fairies?

  • Everyone loves a wee festive libation to warm your bones of a cold winter’s night, and fairies are no different. Fairies will mix special warming brews in the evening; they will forage for yummy berries and winter spices, mixing them all together inside a large walnut shell before sharing with their friends. Now, a shell-full might leave a human quite thirsty, so we suggest serving up pots of mulled wine or spiced hot chocolate. Raise a mug to the fairies and elves working hard at Christmas!

  • Fairies also like to decorate their little homes with all kinds of natural seasonal materials at Christmas time. This is fun and easy to do as a festive family activity – you can organise your own winter nature trail and be on the lookout for fallen holly leaves, pinecones and other natural materials to add to your home. Remember to respect the environment when you’re out foraging, as fairies are very protective over nature and nobody wants to be at odds with these often-mischievous magical creatures!

Be sure to check out our gathering of fairy-tale goodies here at our website and get some inspiration for your own Fairy Christmas!

Until next time!

The Olde Christmas Shoppe
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Pride Month: Behind the Rainbow Flag

Merry Christmas and a very happy Pride month to all of our wonderful customers! At The Olde Christmas Shoppe we try to cultivate an inclusive and joyful environment for all, and so we would like to spend Pride 2022 taking a look behind the iconic rainbow flag to explore the roots of the powerful 20th century LGBT rights movement as it grew through the years. Join us on a journey from Stonewall to the first Pride parades and road to marriage equality here in Scotland as we celebrate this Pride month together!

Pride was a Protest

Pride activist Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson. Netflix, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

The modern Pride movement began in 1969 Greenwich Village, New York in early hours of June 28th, with a violent police raid on the gay-and-lesbian club the Stonewall Inn – a much-loved refuge for the community at the time, which also welcomed drag queens and transgender people who often would be shunned from other gay-friendly bars in the city. After years of police harassment, this attack would be the one to spark resistance in patrons and local residents as a long six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement followed. With notable members of the LGBTQ+ community joining the uprising, such as legendary drag queens and transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, these protests marked a major turning point for the gay rights movement in the US and across the world.

Pride Month Flag
Photo by Sara Rampazzo on Unsplash

One year later, the LGBTQ+ communities marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by holding the very first Gay Pride marches in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco; a nationwide protest with LGBT people and allies marching down the main streets of their cities, which would then evolve into the worldwide combination of protest and celebration of progress we see today! Of course, it wasn’t until 1978 that openly gay artist Gilbert Baker created the original Pride flag in the eight iconic rainbow colours, each with their own meanings: the flag’s colours symbolised sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, heart, harmony, and spirit.

Check out our gallery at the end for some rainbow Pride inspiration from us!

Pride in Scotland

The call to action from the US spread across the world and of course to our wee island, with a number of small Pride marches occurring in Scotland throughout the 80s and 90s before Edinburgh’s first major and official ‘Pride’ event on June 17th 1995. In the 27 years since, Scotland has celebrated a number of key milestones in the journey towards equality. From same-sex equality in adoption and fostering and legal marriage for same-sex couples in 2007 and 2014 respectively, progress has been made for LGBTQ+ people in our country; now, Pride is just as important as ever in educating people about LGBTQ+ issues and pushing forward for equality in all aspects of life, to make sure that these hard-earned rights are protected and enjoyed by all.

To get involved with Pride this year, or for any further information or assistance within the community, please check out the links below to some of our favourite LGBTQ+ charities and organisations!

  • Equality Network – Leading charity striving for LGBTQ+ equality in Scotland
  • Stonewall Scotland – Scottish chapter of Stonewall, named for the Stonewall Inn and campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights globally.
  • LGBT Youth Scotland – Provides safe services and support for LGBT youth in Scotland.
  • LGBT Health & Wellbeing – Promotes the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ adults in Scotland.
    • LGBT Helpline Scotland found at www.lgbthealth.org.uk or 0300 123 2523
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The Platinum Jubilee in Helensburgh

Merry Christmas everybody, and a happy June to you all! Not only does this month bring sunshine to Scotland and mark the halfway point to our favourite holiday, but this month we are also celebrating the prestigious Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II – in fact, Her Majesty the Queen is the very first British monarch to achieve this honour for a grand 70 years of service!

Jubilee Tree
Our Jubilee Christmas Tree

To celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, we at The Olde Christmas Shoppe have given our resident Christmas tree a very regal makeover in glittering gold and silver that highlights some of our most luxurious decorations from majestic golden crowns to novelty prosecco and gin bottles (drinks not included, I’m afraid!) After all, our Queen is certainly someone who loves the season as much as we do – not only are there multiple Christmas trees across her homes which traditionally remain decorated until February, but the Queen also has her very own ‘Christmas shop’ in Windsor Castle that is stocked with many practical gifts to browse through for the rest of the Royal Family!

For a closer look at our lovely (real!) Christmas tree and our selected Jubilee-inspired decorations, be sure to pop in to 75 West Clyde St. and say hello or check out our image gallery below. We will also be offering 10% off to anyone wearing a crown (or even a cheeky Pimm’s for the naughtier elves).

Jubilee Weekend: What’s On in Helensburgh

This long weekend is sure to be filled with festivities galore, with a reported 16,000 street parties already scheduled across the nation, and our lovely little seaside town is no exception to that – we love to party!

Whether you are popping in to say hello to us elves on the shore or enjoying the sunshine at the long-anticipated return of the Helensburgh & Lomond Highland Games on Saturday 4th June, be sure to stop by The Journey Fitness in our town square where a little birdie has told us they will be celebrating in style thanks to generous donations from many local businesses in Colquhoun Square. With the promise of free drinks, a live DJ performance and some delicious food provided by our local Deli in the Square, it is sure to be a wonderful day and a brilliant way to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s impressive seven decades spent in service of the nation.

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7 of the prettiest bird decorations for Christmas 2022

Merry Christmas everybody!

Give your Christmas tree a natural touch in 2022 by adding some beautiful bird decorations – it’s nice to see birds in their natural habitat, after all! From robins to peacocks, turtle doves and maybe even a partridge in a pear tree, there are millions of birds that could go on your tree, and we have curated a handy list of our very own Top 7 Olde Christmas Shoppe picks to give you a little festive inspiration. Spread your wings and take a look at the 7 prettiest bird decorations in 2022!

Collection of Bird Decorations from our shop!

1. ‘Friendship Doves’ Pair

“Turtle doves are a symbol of friendship and love. Keep one, and give the other to a very special person. As long as each of you has your turtle dove, you will be friends forever.”  – Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Doves of Friendship in Box

Dimensions: 7cm x 6 cm; packaging 12cm x 18cm

Colours: White

Material: Resin; Cardboard and plastic packaging.

Price: £24.99

Why We Love This Bauble

This sweet duo set is a definite favourite of ours, and anyone who loves the feel-good sequel Christmas movie ‘Home Alone 2: Lost In New York’! Not only do these small white turtle doves look lovely on any style of Christmas tree, but we love the idea of sharing and gifting Christmas decorations to your friends and loved ones – this product is a beautiful way to show some love and connect with the true meaning of Christmas, just like a young Macaulay Culkin in the Big Apple.

2. Iridescent Peacock Tree Decoration

“… this charming acrylic tree decoration by Opulence brings the regal beauty and unique colours of the peacock to your Christmas tree – paired with fairy lights, this fancy fellow is sure to brighten up your branches!”

Peacock Decoration on a background of clear baubles.

Dimensions: 14cm 

Colours: Blue, Purple, Gold, Green

Material: Acrylic

Price: £6.99

Why We Love This Bauble

This Christmas tree decoration is a fun modern take on one of the most beautiful birds in the whole Animal Kingdom, combining its funky geometric shaping with a shiny petrol-effect sheen of blues, purples, greens and golds which boldly step outside of the traditional Christmas colour scheme. We can’t stop looking at all of those mesmerising iridescent colours!

3. Concrete-look Owl Tree Decoration

“An ornate owl, sitting wise upon your tree. Hanging from rustic twine with a beautiful antique finish on concrete, this beautiful minimalistic bird is sure to please.”

Owl Decoration

Dimensions: 8cm

Colours: Grey, White

Material: Ceramic, Twine

Price: £4.99

Why We Love This Bauble

This soft rounded owl looks amazing not just as a Christmas tree decoration but also as an everyday rustic decoration for nature-lovers! The combination of its aged concrete finish and the simple twine it hangs from make for the perfect blend between modernist minimalism and the increasingly popular countryside cottage-core decor style – one of this blog-elf’s personal favourite trends.

4. Pastel Seagull Tree Decoration

“This fabulous colourful seagull by Gisela Graham is a beautiful take on these boisterous seaside dwellers – it could even make a fun joke Christmas gift for someone who’s had a run-in with the mischievous birds.”

Pastel Seagull Decoration

Dimensions: 7cm

Colours: Blue, White, Orange, Gold

Material: Resin

Price: £8.99

Why We Love This Bauble

Despite the cheeky seagull being a pretty controversial bird in the hearts of seaside-dwellers like us in sunny Helensburgh, we LOVE Gisela Graham’s artistic take on the bird for this decoration. With its bright pastel colours and glittering gold embellishments, this bird decoration is a beautiful and fun way to bring not just a splash of colour but a special reminder of seaside summer memories with you into the chilly festive season.

5. Colourful Peacock Hanging Decoration

Add a little multicolour magic to your Christmas tree with this beautiful and dramatic peacock decoration by the talented Gisela Graham.”

Colourful Peacock Decoration

Dimensions: 12cm

Colours: Blue, Yellow, Red, Green

Material: Acrylic, Glitter

Price: £6.99

Why We Love This Bauble

As we have covered with the mesmerising #2 decoration on this list, peacocks really are one of the prettiest animals in the world – and this gorgeous piece by Christmas favourite Gisela Graham is no exception to our love of peacocks! We especially love the fabulous etched detailing of this bird, giving this fancy 3D bird the appearance of luscious multicoloured feathers which are then embellished with a sprinkling of sparkling silver glitter for an extra Christmassy feel.

6. Flocked Fabric Penguin with Scarf

Make your Christmas jolly this winter with these absolutely adorable hanging penguin decorations … sporting soft grey “feathers”, wrapped up warm in festive peppermint-striped scarves which give these fabulous fellows an extra cozy touch.”

A collection of cute Flocked Fabric Penguins

Dimensions: 11cm

Colours: Grey, White, Red

Material: Flocked Fabric, Wool

Price: £5.99

Why We Love This Bauble

We love this sweet, fun little penguin decoration so much that he has become the unofficial mascot of many of our elves – this is definitely one of the cutest penguins we have ever seen, with its wee fluffy face poking out from its snuggly scarf! In addition to the unbelievable cuteness overload, its fabric constitution makes it an extra lightweight decoration: perfect for little trees, and far less likely to break than many baubles.

7. Silver Owl Tree Decoration

“With its entire surface a solid silver, this beautiful bird mirrors the Christmas lights surrounding it – a simple sparkling addition to your tree!”

Silver Owl Decoration

Dimensions:  6.5cm

Colours: Silver

Material: Metal

Price: £4.99

Why We Love This Bauble

We can’t help but love the sleek, modern feel of this entirely silver owl tree decoration – an unusual take on the wise bird, combining the simplicity of solid metallic colour with the shimmer and shine of Christmas magic. 

We hope that you’ve been inspired by our flight through the 7 prettiest bird decorations in our collection this year. While we of course have our clear favourites above, there are many more of our festive feathered friends to be found in our store – click here to check them out!

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Home Fragrance and it’s History

Home Fragrance and Candles

There is nothing like a scent to evoke a time or place, to trigger memories and to relax, comfort or inspire.

In recent years scent has become an intrinsic part of interior design and is often used to create an atmosphere or trigger a specific response – we have all enjoyed the smell of fresh bread in a supermarket!

But while the world of home scents is very much a growth business in this new century it is by no means a new phenomenon. The art of home fragrance has been around for 5,000 years.

In fact it is believed that scents were used to perfume the air before they were used to make bodies more fragrant in the days when bathing was virtually unheard of!

It seems that around 3,000BCE Egyptian priests used aromatic resins, an early incense, to mask the smell of sacrificial offerings and believed that such aromas could connect their followers to the gods but it wasn’t just the priests who had access to incense it was commonly burnt in private homes as well.

But the use of scent was not just the purlieu of the Egyptians, around this time the Romans, Greek and Chinese were also making full use of scent in religious ceremonies as well as in the home but it was the Greeks who made the step from home to hygiene and began to create perfume for the body.

The Church in Europe put a dampner on the fun declaring scent to be frivalous but the rest of the world carried on and many scents and ways of creating them were developed with the Chinese making maximum use for making people and places all smell better and even included it on their paper and in their ink.

It took the Crusaders to bring fragrance back to life in Britain by bringing home gifts of rose water and other aromatics, along with the skills to create perfumes, and the popularity of home scents grew during the plague era when it was believed that the diseases were hanging in the air where the smell was made and that clearing the air would provide some protection.

This was when the personal pomander came into being as people carried their own anti-plague protection with them as they travelled around. Early scientists and alchemists learned new ways to distil perfumes making them cheaper and more accessible and the art of perfumery soon overtook the art of home fragrancing in popularity until in the mid-20th Century synthetic air fresheners were created and were used widely to mask the smells of cooking and the then all-present tobacco.

Gradually the home fragrance business became more skilled and the scents more sophisticated until we now have access to candles, sprays, sachets and all manner of other ways to bring our favourite scents into our home on a daily basis.

Our popular scent sachets, sprays and candles by Greenleaf, Willowbrook & Bridgewater are among the best available at purse friendly prices! Browse our scent section on our website or pop into the Olde Christmas Shoppe and wrap yourself in the comfortable aromas while you choose the ones you want for your home. PS – They are not all about Christmas – although of course some of them are!

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Wedding favours

The tradition of distributing wedding favours is a very old one and one of the earliest accounts of wedding favours dates back to 16th century England. It was common for couples to give love knots constructed from lace and ribbon to each of their guests as a to represent their bond of love and wedding favours became a tradition that has now spread around the world.

It is not a custom that is restricted to the “lower orders” aristocrats also adopted the tradition and would send guests home with a small gift called a bonbonniere and these were also given out at birthday parties and other celebrations.

The bonbonniere was actually a small decorated box which could be made very simply of wood or jewel encrusted precious metal with everything in between and it would be filled with sugary sweetmeats or sugared almonds.

These gifts, usually consisted of five almonds or other sweets which represented fertility, health, wealth, happiness and longevity and were thought to be lucky. In handing them out the newly-weds were sharing their own happiness and good luck with their friends and family.

If you have received such a gift, nowadays often a tulle wrapped handful of sugared almonds, you will probably have found that there are still five in each favour representing the five wedding wishes.

Increasingly couples give favours according to their wedding’s theme but many countries have traditional favours such as:

Chocolate covered or sugared almonds at an Italian wedding; at a Spanish wedding, guests receive “detalles” perhaps cigars for men and a gift for the women; Russian wedding favours usually take the form of tiny pictures or small candles and trinkets; at weddings in Ireland, it is common for guests to receive small wedding bells and in India, a lucky wedding favour to give guests is a hand-made elephant ornament. 

Just for the interest it is also considered to be lucky if a bride in India has her path crossed by an elephant … lots of unemployed black cats in India!

At the Olde Christmas Shoppe we can provide a wide range of favours or party gifts for all occasions from actual personalised Christmas baubles to jigsaws featuring the photo of your choice, porcelain hanging ornaments, printed slates and many others for all ages.

And of course these can also be used as promotional materials for your business.