IF you’re excited to be decking the halls with boughs of holly and ringing out those bells, then you’ll be pleased to know your dream shop has returned to Portsmouth.
The Christmas Shop opened its doors for its eighth year in the unit next to the former BHS in Cascades Shopping Centre on Monday.
The couple behind the business – Keiley and Stuart Mckeowen – say they are delighted to be sharing their passion for all things festive once again.
Keiley, from Chichester, said: ‘I love Christmas, for us it starts with the shop and then at home we go for it after my daughter’s birthday on December 7. I love sparkles. It’s magical.’
The couple, who have been together for 27 years and run a bouncy castle entertainment business during the summer, say the preparation for their pop-up shop starts in February as they visit trade shows to look at potential stock.
They carefully select all the items – from Christmas cards, to wrapping paper, tinsel, stockings, decorations and much more – to provide a wide range.
Some of their most unusual items this year include a singing wall-mounted polar bear head, plus a range of festive clothes for pets.
Keiley said they have stocked up on toy elves, as the Elf on a Shelf craze swept social media last year and looks set to continue. They also have a wide selection of Christmas Eve boxes – a growing tradition where children receive a decorative box containing pyjamas, treats and an early small gift on the evening before the big day.
The couple started their Christmas business by selling at markets, but after years of trading in the cold and dark, they decided to come into the warmth and opened a pop-up shop in the Cascades.
The business is a complete family affair – as the couple’s children Holly, 15, Sam 14, and Stanley, 10, all pitch in, as does grandmother Mable Smith, 79.
Keiley said: ‘It’s great to be back in the Cascades.’