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The Visitor Centre is being adorned with Christmas decorations…………….The sombre atmosphere has given way to a festive mood! Thanks to the crafty work of our lady volunteers, who have placed swags of evergreens at the entrance – holly, laurel and Scot’s pine. They scoured the Estate for suitable material including teasels and rose hips for highlights. Home grown variegated holly was given to add contrast. At this time of year our thoughts turn to seasonal decorations. Holly and other greenery like mistletoe were originally used in pre-Christian times to help celebrate the Winter Solstice, and ward off evil spirits. Laurel was used by the Romans in wreaths to hang over their doorways as a sign of status and success. The nearby Roman villa may have been so adorned some two thousand years ago. The Victorians planted lots of evergreen fir and yew trees around their churches, as well as laurel to signify everlasting life. It is traditional to take down Christmas decorations after Twelfth Night the 5th of January. During the Middle Ages greenery including mistletoe was often left hanging until Candlemas in early February.

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