Michael Perry: An American Christmas Wonderland

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I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, I must admit! I don’t really know why. I guess I find that it just descends itself onto us so soon these days, and I hate being forced to have fun when I don’t feel like it. I feel similar about new year, by the way. The way I see it, I have fun ALL year. And, worse of all, it’s just all become a bit… chintzy!

I’m travelling quite a bit at the moment; some for pleasure, some to explore new career opportunities, and this meant I’ve been in the USA for most of December.

In the USA, in my opinion, they do Christmas right! Adornments are much more traditional and there’s a lack of the multi coloured tinsel that offends me so much in the UK!

I took a visit to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania especially to see how a large former stately home does Christmas. The answer is really well.

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It also gave me an opportunity to enjoy some of the most traditional Christmas houseplant ever; the Poinsettia! Although the plant centre offered some rather different colours, the main Christmas displays only used the scarlet red.

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Poinsettia are available across the UK, and they make such a great centrepiece to a table. The key things to avoid are draughts and dramatic changes in temperature. Why not buy one as a gift for a friend? After all, a living gift will last longer than just a few hours after the Queen’s speech!

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