Emma Hargreaves - My Yorkshire Christmas
PUBLISHED: 16:32 20 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:32 20 December 2014
Emma Hargreaves, owner of Chantry House Gallery in Ripley, paints the perfect picture of family festivities
As I come from a tight-knit Yorkshire family who love to celebrate the good things in life, Christmas has always been a happy event, made even more special since our daughter Lucy was born on Christmas Day ten years ago. And this year, to make the festive season even more exciting, we will be spending it in our brand new home.
My earliest memories of Christmas are tremendously happy ones. I was born and brought up in the Vale of York, where the stunning panoramic views, often cloaked in winter snow, and the community-orientated villages made Christmas very magical. I recall gorgeous family feasts, lots of laughter and a tree surrounded by presents. Now I have a family myself, I try to recreate this kind of Christmas, and aspire to having fun, food and family around to celebrate the day.
I start preparing early as Christmas doesn’t happen by itself. By the time we close our art gallery in Ripley, near Harrogate, on December 21st, the foundations will be in place, with presents bought, cards sent, Christmas Day and Boxing Day menus sorted and family invited. Although the run-up to Christmas is our busiest time at the gallery, I make sure that – with the help of my husband John – we don’t neglect our festive preparations.
My twin sister Katrina, who is a deputy head at Highfield Preparatory School in Harrogate, often shares our Christmas along with her husband and daughters. The dinner is a shared effort and always thoroughly enjoyable.
So, by the time Lucy wakes us up on Christmas Day, ready for her double celebration, we are sorted. There is always the worry that a Christmas Day birthday can get buried under the festive celebrations but Lucy is an only child, which helps us to concentrate on her, and every year she spends Christmas with her young cousins, so there is always a party atmosphere. She has two sets of presents under the tree and by the time her cousins and aunts and uncles arrive for lunch, all her presents have been opened – and suitably appreciated.
Our new house in Burnt Yates, near Harrogate, is a great family home and I’m looking forward to deciding with Lucy where the tree should go this year.
Our festivities fall into two distinct parts. The run-up to Christmas Day is very hectic and social, with an enjoyable mixture of activities and preparations. I really enjoy the school events, especially the carol concert. It officially feels like Christmas when I hear children singing while wearing their Santa hats. After Christmas, however, John and I like to have quality time relaxing at home with Lucy. We enjoy walks in the country, and Harrogate itself, with its lovely Christmas lights and decorations, and taking in a pantomime.
We need to recharge our batteries for the coming year and I will be planning, in my head at least, the exhibitions that we’ll be hosting. Then, when the New Year arrives, we will be suitably rested and hoping for a happy, healthy and successful 2015.
Visit chantryhousegallery.co.uk or call 01423 771011 for details.