Fashion

I’ve spent £7k on Christmas decorations, I’ve got 14 trees & 3 life-size Santa – I just whack it on credit

SHE might be stuck indoors like the rest of us, but Christmas crackers Joanne Smith is not going to let Covid ruin this year’s festivities. 

The mum of one has already splashed out £7,000 on turning her home into a winter wonderland, complete with 14 Christmas trees, one of them 12ft tall. 

She also has two 6ft Harrods bears that cost £1,900 each and a life-sized Santa that set her back £1,200.

It’s no wonder her pals call her Mrs Christmas.

Joanne, 40, from Halstead, Essex, said the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have made her want to go even more over the top — especially for her son Joseph, 13.

And like many celebs, such as Michelle Keegan and Joan Collins, who are already putting their festive decorations up, Joanne is starting the celebrations earlier than ever this year. 

Joanne and her husband Andrew, who own Braintree Van Sales, are decking the halls and feeling jolly. 

She says: “I am going bigger this ­Christmas due to it being such a horrid year. I’m not letting Covid ruin our ­Christmas — and I have made sure the decorations are extra OTT.

“I’ve spent about £7,000 and I started buying them back in January. 

“There are ten different themed areas in the house, including the Grinch, the ­Nutcracker, a Harrods-inspired area, and one that’s themed around candy canes. My son decorates his own bedroom however he chooses, he doesn’t let me get involved.

“Which is fine — but it won’t be up to my standards!”

As well as her home, Joanne’s garden is decorated with a glittering display of thousands of twinkling lights, sparkling decorations, festive inflatables and three adult-sized Santas. She also has giant toy soldiers and a Christmas mannequin tree — a festive “dress” on a tailor’s dummy.

‘BRINGING JOY’

Joanne prides herself on coming up with the magical displays. 

She says: “I want to cheer everyone up in the village. Every time the local kids walk past the house, they always stop to have a look. It feels great that I am bringing joy to the community. 

“Every year, I have queues of people who come and see the glittering displays. It’s lovely to be able to make everyone smile.

“I am known as Mrs Christmas in my village and all of my friends and family call me their extravagant Mrs Christmas.” 

Joanne began putting her Christmas ­decorations up as soon as the Halloween ones came down. 

She says: “After a year like we’ve had and all the fears that Christmas would be cancelled, I just wanted to do all I could to ensure everyone has fun. Everyone has been so depressed lately and it feels like nobody has anything to look forward to. 

“And what’s better than having your spirits lifted by looking at a wonderful display and listening to cheery Christmas music?”

Joanne now has so many decorations that Andrew had to build her somewhere to house them all. 

She says: “I was taking up all the space so he had to build another garage in the garden for all of my decorations so he can have his own one back for the cars.

“Andrew just wasn’t into Christmas when we first met 16 years ago, but now I’ve turned him around completely. 

“My husband knows I am Christmas-obsessed. I even make a point that we wear our Christmas jumpers all December.

“I have lots of items I’ve collected over the years, but I’ve bought mostly all-new items this time round. I started shopping in the January sales, to try to keep to a budget but I’m still buying things now.

“I don’t care when it comes to Christmas, I am more than happy to whack it on the credit card. If it means my family being happy, then so be it. 

“I’ve also ordered some Christmas items from America but sometimes that makes the import fees cost more than the items.

“But it’s worth it as you’re able to get much more extravagant decorations than here.”

Joanne says Christmas has always been a ­special time for her, especially this year. 

She says: “Usually we are a really busy family but this time around we haven’t been able to be as active as normal. 

“So Christmas has ­definitely been something to look forward to and concentrate on.

“I’m lucky my son is as into it as I am. As Joseph is our only child, he has always had nice gifts. This year he was on the waiting list for the new Xbox and he is really into Airsoft [a team shooting game]. He likes cars too. 

“I don’t think about the money I spend on the gifts — we buy just whatever we see.

“It’s important for the kids this year and I want to make sure of that with mine.”

Joanne is always ­thinking of new ways to make Christmas bigger and better but Christmas Day itself is more simple.

She says: “The festive day is normally a family affair with my sister, brother-in-law and their two children. And even though the Rule Of Six may be in place, we may go ahead anyway.

“I am not letting Covid ruin our Christmas.

“Every year we do the Ritz Christmas afternoon tea and we have a meal in London. I’ve still got everything booked and I’m hoping it will go ahead. 

“We will be spending Christmas Day like we always do — eating, drinking and playing games while wearing cosy pyjamas. But with things the way they are at the moment, I am hoping this year will still go ahead. 

“After the problems of 2020, Christmas will be so special. We are all lucky to be here as there are lots of families out there who have lost loved ones.

“I am a big kid really so I love it. I’m just addicted to Christmas.”

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