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How early is too early to start decorating for Christmas?

Meet the Carnoustie care assistant who's had her tree up since September - and the Perth Scrooge cursed with a festive flatmate. reports.
Rebecca Baird
Caris Rose waves at the camera wearing a Christmas-themed jumper. Behind her is an inflatable snowman and her front door decorated with candy canes.
Carnoustie care assistant Caris Rose, AKA 'Christmas Caris', goes all out. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, it seems there are two types of people.

Those who will baulk at the holiday aisles filling up with festive fare before Halloween is out, and those who can’t wait to create their own winter wonderland – even if it’s only July.

Traditionally, trees and decorations were put up on the first day of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

But in the era of ‘Instagrammable’ Christmases, going all-out is all in.

And in recent years, people have made their own rules and traditions, including following the ’12 days of Christmas’ rule, or committing to Elf on the Shelf for the entirety of December.

Meanwhile some folk have given up the ghost of Christmases past, present and future altogether, shunning decorating trends in favour of a more minimalist, sustainable lifestyle.

But already, trees are popping up in living room windows across Tayside and Fife.

So the real question is: How early is too early to haul that box down from the attic and start decorating for the big day?

Becky Fairly smiles at the camera, sporting a pink Santa hate, red and gold tinsel scarf and a cuddle Rudolph plush toy, as her flatmate John stands in the background rolling his eyes, wearing a Grinch-themed button-down shirt.
Perth flatmates Becky Fairlie and John Redpath argue over Christmas decorations. Image: Phil Hannah.

‘It’s like Scrooge and Buddy the Elf living in one flat’

For Perth flatmates Becky ‘Buddy the Elf’ Fairlie and John ‘Scrooge’ Redpath, it’s an annual argument.

“I think any time earlier than December 12 is too early for Christmas decorations,” says case worker John, 26.

“It really bugs me that Christmas is getting earlier every year. If it wasn’t for other holidays in the way, I think people would start even earlier.

“I think it’s just ridiculous, the fact that they had Christmas stuff out before even Halloween stuff was out in the shops.”

Becky, left, and John, right, fight over a piece of red tinsel.
Tinsel tussle! Becky sneaks decorations in under John’s nose. Image: Phil Hannah.

But Benefit gym staff member Becky, also 26, insists she was happily “singing along to Christmas songs while picking out my Halloween decorations”.

“I am a big fan of Christmas,” she says.

“I usually try and put up Christmas decorations as early as I can. There was one year John was away seeing family, and I put them up while he was away.

“Last year I slowly started bringing in the Christmas decorations until he noticed. It makes you feel festive.”

John, left, wearing a Grinch shirt, narrows his eyes at best friend Becky, who is wearing a pink Santa hat and scarf made of tinsel.
Becky and John are the best of friends – just not for the festive season. Image: Phil Hannah.

“It doesn’t make you feel festive,” counters John, who has lived with Becky for six years.

“It’s overhyped. The amount of stress it causes people, the amount of folk that fuss over it and get into debt over Christmas… it’s one day!

“And it’s meant to be one that you spend with your family but it’s been too commercialised now and it’s all about spending the most amount of money you can.

“Honestly, my festive spirit starts on the 26th when it’s all over.”

‘It’s not harming anyone’

Meanwhile over in Carnoustie, Brookfield care assistant Caris Rose thinks it’s “never too early for Christmas decorations” – and has had her tree up since September 3.

“I get called Christmas Caris,” laughs the 38-year-old mum of four. “But I can think of worse nicknames!

“I grew up with a gran that was obsessed with Christmas, and when she passed away, I was pregnant with my first child.

“Christmas just never felt the same after she passed, so I just kind of took on that role. She was always the first one in her street with the decorations up at the start of November.

“But I’ve maybe gone a bit more extreme than she did!”

Caris (blurred in the background) holds a delicate glass Christmas bauble with a tiny tree and cottage inside up to the camera.
Caris Rose has been decorating her house since September. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

“Because I work in a care home, I usually work on Christmas, so I like to dress up and do fun things,” Caris continues.

“Some of these residents don’t have family, so I like to make it as memorable as I can for them.

“And I just think your kids are only little for such a short period of time, I just like to try and make it as special as I can.

“My eldest, who is 18, thinks I do it too early, she’s a Grinch. But my other kids, who are 17, 13, and six, absolutely love it.”

Festive cheer after ‘difficult years’

Admitting that September was an early start even for her, Caris reveals she wanted to inject some festive cheer into the family home after a tough couple of years.

“I usually put my tree up on November 1 every year but we’ve had a difficult couple of years as a family, it’s not been very good,” she explains.

Caris Rose poses in a festive jumper next to her silver, gold and green Christmas tree.
Caris was too excited to wait when she bought new tree decorations in the early autumn. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

“We were just shopping in Dundee in September, and we noticed the Christmas aisle was out already. I’m lucky, I’ve got a very supportive partner, and I just said: ‘Oh I want to change the colour scheme for our Christmas tree this year’ and he said ‘well go and get a basket and pick stuff’.

“Then I said: ‘Can we put up the tree when we get home?’ and he was like, ‘Sure’. He just lets me do what I want!”

And since all her neighbours in the Angus village know to expect big things from “Christmas Caris”, this year she’s added a little extra treat to the exterior of her house.

“We deck out the whole house and the garden,” she says. “We have inflatables for the garden and we’ve just done a massive Candy Cane Lane archway this year, at the front door.”

A giant inflatable snowman sits on the left as Caris Rose decorates her front door with artificial peppermints and candy canes.
Candy Cane Lane, snowmen, reindeer and a letterbox to the North Pole all feature in Caris’ garden decorations. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

But although she decks the halls earlier than most, Caris is prompt at clearing away the Christmas cheer before the new year begins.

“I usually take them down just before New Year’s Day. So they’re up early, but down early as well.

“It’s not harming anyone. If it makes someone happy, live and let live!”

When do you think Christmas decorating should begin? Let us know below in the comments.