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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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Tis’ the season to be jolly.

And, there’s not many more jovial places throughout the Hunter Valley than Christmas Lane.

Following a COVID-19 impacted year, the popular Morpeth shop – which celebrates all things Yuletide – finally reopened its doors last week.

The move certainly put a smile on head elf Michelle Hugginson’s face.

“As soon as lockdown ended, and restrictions eased, we got stuck straight in to organise the premises and make it beautiful again,” she said.

“So far, we’ve had a good response.

“Lots of people visited us on the opening weekend.

“Now, we’re hoping it continues to pick up.

“It will be a very short season for us this year.

“With any luck, it’s still magical – and everyone will love it [Christmas] as usual.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic’s played havoc with many businesses in 2021.

But, spare a thought for those ventures who are specialists in their field.

“It’s been tough – we just closed our doors when COVID-19 hit as there wasn’t much we could do,” Ms Hugginson said.

“We would have usually opened a month, or five weeks, ago.

“Obviously, we couldn’t, due to all the health protocols.

“However, we’re very thrilled we’ve now reopened.

“We’re hopeful people will jump at the chance to celebrate Christmas, especially after the past 12-18 months we’ve had.

“Everyone deserves a bit of cheer.

“But, some people are still a little reluctant to get out and about at the moment.

“On the other side of the coin, a lot have been stuck at home, too.

“So, they’re keen to arrive at that happy place that they’re usually in.”

Christmas Lane head elf Michelle Hugginson. Photo: Rod Thompson

Christmas Lane, quietly located in Close Street, is fast becoming a Morpeth institution, much akin to the Xmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin.

The looks of delight, amazement and wonderment from customers and locals alike certainly reinforces that sentiment.

“We’ve been here for eight seasons,” Ms Hugginson said.

“And, I have been here from the beginning as well.

“We’ve become more popular over the years.

“While there are still a lot of people who don’t know we’re here, we do get many visitors from Sydney – who make numerous return trips.

“I think that’s one of the appeals of Christmas Lane.

“When they walk in here for the first time, it’s special.

“People love coming back to see what’s in store and to say hi, too.

“Some even make an annual pilgrimage to Christmas Lane, which is lovely.

“It’s not only terrific for us, it’s also great for the Morpeth community.

“The locals are always so supportive.”

With the big day just seven weeks away, Ms Hugginson expects to see baubles, elves, Mrs Claus and, of course, Santas leave the store in droves.

“You name it, we have it,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Everything from little ornaments to table decorations and large statement pieces.

“Ultimately, we’re just happy to be open again.

“However, it would be lovely to finish 2021 on a high.”

Christmas Lane is open seven days a week, between 10am and 4pm, until Xmas Eve.

And, if you want more, Fairytale Lane will be operational in less than a fortnight, while Kris Kringle is making special appearances in Santa Claus Lane for the young and the young-at-heart.

Check out Christmas Lane at www.christmaslane.com.au or on Facebook.

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