Upton recalls Christmas past

The National Trust is building on the spirit of Christmas past for this year’s celebrations.

Harry Bowell, the trust’s regional director for the Midlands, said: “We all have our own favourite family traditions which we’ve developed over the years and are now part of what we value most about this special time of year, such as sending cards, singing carols and decorating our houses with Christmas trees and other greenery.

“Lots of the places we care for are getting into the spirit of Christmas in their own special way, often taking inspiration from how previous owners and guests would have celebrated the festive season, or creating brand new traditions for their visitors to join in with.”

At Upton House and Gardens near Banbury, Jewish and Christian festive traditions were celebrated together, for while the family was Jewish, they still enjoyed decorating the house and throwing Christmas parties for their staff and guests.

The head gardener and staff would have collected moss from the woods to make wreaths – a tradition that is still carried on at Upton today.

If some traditions have changed over the centuries, special festive food is still a big part of the holiday, so Christmas meals and other treats will be available at Upton.

The house will also be offering a chance to meet Father Christmas this weekend and then on December 13/14 and 20/21.

And thinking outside the houses, the trust has posted instructions on how to make a festive bird feeder at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mid landswildlife.

For more details about what’s happening, visit the same website and check the property opening times before visiting, as these are often different from those during the rest of the year.