Have a very Yorkshire Christmas: We ask asked local artists, makers and shop owners how they celebrate the big day

We spoke to the local artists, makers, shop owners and the custodians of a historic home in the East Riding about how they plan to enjoy a very Yorkshire Christmas. Yes, it’s nearly here! Sharon Dale reports.

Alison and Paul Bartram who have The Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge, and the Yorkshire Gallery at the Piece Hall, Halifax: Christmas has always been a special time of the year and a much needed few days with loved ones after the craziness of retail during the run up to the festivities.

For us it is not about the money you spend and the gifts you give but the precious days you enjoy being with one another.

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Christmas Eve is celebrated watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Hebden Bridge Picture House followed by hot meat sandwiches and roast potatoes at home in front of a roaring fire listening to classic crooners belting out great Christmas tunes. At midnight we open one gift and to wake up to a glass of fizz on Christmas day.

The Rocking Horse Shop is ready for Christmas. Pic. Peter RollingsThe Rocking Horse Shop is ready for Christmas. Pic. Peter Rollings
The Rocking Horse Shop is ready for Christmas. Pic. Peter Rollings

*Christmas decorations and wall plaques by Fiona Wilson from The Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge.

Sarah Woods, Woods of Harrogate: We follow our children downstairs to watch their faces light up after the visit from Santa Claus and then it is onto my mother and father’s house for a glass of champagne and some nibbles before lunch.

The table is already perfectly set with crackers, festive napery, table runners and of course our best crockery. A delicious turkey lunch with all the trimmings follows.

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The afternoon features full tummies, children enjoying their gifts and, in the past, always the Queen’s speech, which we will miss this year. Much flicking of the tv channels ensues hoping to catch the nostalgic comedies of a bygone era and later peace sets in.

Lucy Pittaway working en plein airLucy Pittaway working en plein air
Lucy Pittaway working en plein air

*Woods of Harrogate is on Prince Albert Row, Harrogate

Artist Lucy Pittaway: I love catching up with family and friends, staying at home with loved ones, and watching the joy on my children’s faces as they unwrap their presents.

Christmas Day starts with an early morning wake-up call courtesy of the kids. We all gather around as they open their presents and then it’s breakfast by the big open fire. One of our favourite parts of the day is taking our dog, Patsy, for a walk in the beautiful Yorkshire outdoors.

Christmas for me, is a time to unwind, recuperate from the year’s challenges while recharging the batteries and spending quality time with family.

Woods window in HarrogateWoods window in Harrogate
Woods window in Harrogate


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Olivia Cunliffe-Lister, chatelaine of Burton Agnes Hall: Christmas is a family effort. We decorate each room of our home with handmade and natural decorations and then we open it to visitors from mid-November.

I adore everything about the preparations. Up from the cellar come pieces that we've collected during twenty years of festive bedecking.

This year the East Yorkshire Lace Society has made some beautiful pieces for us, and Kerry Yeo has planted huge, living succulent wreaths.

Burton Agnes trimmed up for ChristmasBurton Agnes trimmed up for Christmas
Burton Agnes trimmed up for Christmas

For gifts to family and friends, I love handmade pieces from Yorkshire makers.

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I like choosing handmade pieces from Yorkshire makers. Angela Magowan of makes beautiful English willow baskets and Gallery 49 in Bridlington’s Old Town stocks Yorkshire artists.

On Christmas Eve, Simon and our daughter Islay play carols on their saxophones, we sing around the piano, and the oldest family member or guest reads “Twas the night before Christmas”.

*Burton Agnes Hall is open and trimmed up for Christmas until December 23. www.burtonagnes.com.

Louise Lockhart, freelance illustrator, aka The Printed Peanut, from Todmorden, who creates everything from art prints and textiles to soaps sold at Hawksbys in Haworth:

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She says “I love Christmas and as a small business owner it’s my busiest time of year. We start festivities by getting our tree from Ripponden Christmas Tree Farm.

I love to hand make things and have done some tutorials on Instagram showing how I make decorations from tomato puree tubes.

We always try to book onto the Santa Train in Howarth or Skipton, which is magical.

Every year my family aims to not buy too much unnecessary stuff, preferring edibles from unusual food stores. We spend time with our parents and usually have a walk in the hills, followed by watching The Snowman in front of the fire.

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www.theprintedpeanut.co.uk. Picture of Louise and her work by Kathryn Taylor.

Louise Miller, owner of Moss and Moor, garden centre and restaurant, Ilkley: “Christmas for our family starts being talked about in September. New products start to arrive at work and we begin pulling together our themes for the year.

Our teenagers are now involved as they’re very proud of the garden centre. We have a tradition of going to choose a big real tree and we end up buying more decorations as it’s hard not to when you are surrounded by so much gorgeous Christmas inspiration at work.

We love the season as it allows us to properly catch up with friends and switch off.

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I do the Christmas shopping at Moss & Moor as we stock so many talented local makers. My favourite day in the run up to Christmas is enjoying a glass of wine and watching Elf while having a wrap-a-thon. Pre-Christmas, we enjoy walks on Ilkley Moor and trips to Lishman’s in Ilkley. www.mossandmoor.co.uk

The team at The Rocking Horse Shop, Fangfoss: Christmas at The Rocking Horse Shop starts in August with the first orders coming in and lots of horses being hand carved and assembled so they are dry and ready for Christmas.

The office team has a huge map of the UK so they can work out delivery schedules to ensure that nobody is disappointed.

By the time we finish for Christmas, the team here is ready for a well-earned rest. Our festive food and drink is from favourite suppliers, Burton’s Butchers in Pocklington, Hooting Owl Distillery in Barmby Moor and fruit and veg from The Mile Farm Shop in Pocklington. www.rockinghorse.co.uk