Seven Days of Christmas
Christmas at Highclere starts in November when Lauren, who runs public opening with Sarah, orders the Christmas trees: 20 for the drive, another eight for the courtyard, two more for the front door and the big tree for the Saloon. By the end, sitting at her desk, her head is buried in her hands, caught between all the advice and laughter.
The trees arrive, are dried out and checked at the farm and then brought up to the Castle. Paul, the gardener, and his team plant most of them in half barrels and distribute them in the appropriate places. Then the main tree is carried into the Saloon from the back of the farm trailer and John G, the Castle Manager, keeps up a running commentary about its length. It is supposed to be between 18ft and 22ft but this tree arrived 32ft long: it was trimmed!
Sally from the gift shop is in charge of the theme and the decorating. This year has a Victorian feel with reds and greens and swags of matte gold beads. It takes most of the day to complete whilst Sally’s Christmas elves bustle around the Castle putting up decorations on the stairs and the mantelpiece in the dining room. The decorations are brought down from the Tower, the days are never long enough and the Castle seems rather large as everyone runs around…
For perhaps 15 years now we have held a Christmas Fair in aid of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Stallholders arrive on the Tuesday to set up both in and around the Castle and the fair runs on the Wednesday and Thursday. It is a lovely event and we have extended it into the Wednesday evening. This year, a charming visitor, studying opera at the Royal Academy of Music, gave an impromptu performance by the Christmas Tree.
Friday was a festive shopping afternoon with mulled wine for those who wished to collect hampers, or buy gifts, before we opened again to the public on the Saturday with the same programme of events for Monday.
Sunday, however, was a day with a difference when guests gathered together to “Sing for Peace” in aid of OXFAM. It was wintry and rainy but we carried on. John, Luis and I did have to climb the Tower (arguing about who was least fit as we paused for breath) to take the flag down as it was whipping around the Castle pinnacles in the wind.
In fact, rather appropriately, we gathered in the courtyard outside the stables, whilst the pianist sheltered and played inside the stables. She was next to a couple of horses with mangers full of hay. Christmas is after all essentially a story about refugees, and OXFAM is one of the charities offering help to those living in weather such as we were experiencing, but without the warm house into which we walked, with piping bowls of soup and hot food waiting for us in the tearooms.
Monday morning and it is snowing – the gardeners are out gritting, Sally is making coffee for early arrivals in the gift shop and John the Manager is rightly worried about potholes and puddles and how to get the cars out of the car park. Margery, the school liaison lady, was spotted in the Courtyard trying to help him tie his waterproof trousers to his jacket, with the tea room staff acting as helpful bystanders. In fact, he is working so hard today that, following his plaintive complaint on the Mary Berry television programme that he was never included in the fish and chip run, he hopes he might get a special treat.
This has become my favourite and actually only blog I follow. Love reading about the house, its history and staff. Thank you! Merry Christmas!
You are so kind – I feel as if there is a real sense of community and pleasure as we talk to each other!
I would literally give my life to see your beautiful home and gardens.
Yours is the only blog I read and I look forward to every one.
Thank you for putting such joy in my life! I know I am not worthy…
Happy Holidays to you and your family, and wonderful staff!
You are a Joy to the World!
Sounds like you have had a busy few days! I wanted to visit for the carol service but was unfortunately otherwise engaged – perhaps next year! I hope you’re able to relax slightly now with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve made many people happy over the previous week! Merry Christmas.
Come next year – I thought it had such a good atmosphere! Happy Christmas
I can only imagine the hustle and bustle of getting the castle ready for the holidays. How wonderful that you’ve shared it with us. When I visited in October I wondered what it would look like decorated for Christmas. And now I know! Thank you!
Lady carnavon sono italiana e seguo con fervore la serie downton abbey ho comperato tutti i dvd visti e rivisti ma mi piacerebbe sapere tante storie sulla famiglia carnavon sul loro modo di vivere,nel 1900 abitudini,consuetudini, dell ‘epoca edoardiana, sono affascinata dal bon ton dell’ epoca, perché non scrive un libro? È fortunata ad avere una tenuta meravigliosa e ad avere retaggio e lignaggio aristocratico inglese, verrò presto a conoscerla e visitare la sua meravigliosa dimora,
I wrote “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey” about this period of life here set against the First World War. i am fairly sure it is in Italian too
I love reading the Lady Carnarvon blogs, as I have not visited Highclere yet but I am sure we will next year, my thoughts from the story I read give a wonderful insight to what goes on there. Many thanks, John.
Thank you – Happy Christmas
The holidays do bring the varied measure of joy and happiness, mixed with stress and “figuring it out”! Thank you for another peek into all that is happening at the Castle. Your staff are loyal friends and so incredibly dependable…everyone jumps in and does what is needed (and more).
In my corner of the world, I rehearse music with my students and try to calm the growing excitement, and decorate my home with my beloved family. We share lots of laughter and a bit of “discussion”!
Highclere looks incredibly beautiful. Your commitment to raising funds for such important charities is truly what the season is about. Happy Christmas to you and your family, and the wonderful people who work at the Castle. Peace in 2018.
Listening to the carols and songs in the Castle as magical – moments just to stop and stand still.
Merry Christmas Lady C. Wishing you, your family and wonderful staff a very safe and happy holidays.
I always like to respond to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. On the day it arrives, it always lifts my spirit. Much more fun now that I have had the opportunity to visit Highclere.
Do you know your comments lift my spirits – so thank you
Thank you – if you came today Monday it was really cold…I think I had a hat on nearly all day!!
Oh how I look forward to this particular blog…..I love Christmas…..I love trimming my own home……and I go bonkers over reading about the trimming of Highclere !! It’s a delight to read and see and enjoy….and as always, thank you for taking the time to share with all of us !!
A gift indeed……Your Time !!
Thank you – happy trimming
I have always loved Christmas time even though it’s a busy time. I love it because it brings people together for the best reasons in the world, it’s like the whole world is slowing down. Just yesterday 80cm of snow fell in one day where I live (in Switzerland). We haven’t had so much snow since 1999 and the whole region was at a stop. The highways were completely closed and the trains were trapped by the snow, but still I’m sure it brought many people closer. That is the magic of Christmas and the Winter season, it brings people closer, and therefore that is the best time to hold such a fair as you did and to remember those who have not a place to call home at this time of the year.
I do want to slow down a bit!
Sounds like lot’s of hard work but so worth the effort. John most certainly deserves to have the fish and chips! Enjoyed your show with Mary Berry. Happy Christmas to you from the US.
Hilariously the fish and chip is not one on a Monday — he had some sausages instead!
Your gifted writing truly transports me to the sights and spirit of life at the Castle. I am so grateful to you for sharing your life with us.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Carolyn C, Temecula CA
I know you are too kind – a very Happy Christmas, however!
DEAR LADY FIONA CARNARVON,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU FROM BRAZIL.
Happy Christmas to you in Brazil!
Lady C – How wonderful to see so many happy faces and what a splendid view into the Castle’s Christmas dressing. How is a girl to decorate her single tree in such splendour and style! I love the idea of having so many trees – your team certainly deserve fish n chips to keep up their energies. Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you, your family and all your wonderful elves.
I am fond of the elves – about six of us had a race to wind lights round the courtyard trees.. made it fun!!
This is another great episode of Highclere. I must amend a previous comment. Instead of “A Day in the Life of Highclere”, PBS should do a special called “A Year in the Life of Highclere.” This would provide all us Yanks an opportunity to see what your home is like in 2018 as opposed to 1918.
Thank you, I will share your comment with a TV friend!
Happy Holidays! I do so enjoy reading your blog, from all the way across the Atlantic and the US (I am in Montana). One request, would it be possible to add a blog feature, so that clicking on the photos would allow one to expand them? Thank you, and keep up the good work (even if it is tiring climbing castle stairs!).
That sounds a good idea and I am continually keeping MAXX the web site team busy with latest ideas!
Merry Christmas! Thank you for sharing your beautiful life and home with all of us!
Happy Christmas Linda!
Нello from Russia, lady Carnarvon! Merry Christmas! I dream to come, someday, to your castle. With pleasure I read your blog.
Thank you – we do have a few Russian visitors – they are better dressed than we are at the moment!!
The Christmas season is always a hectic but magical time filled with endless preparations, memorable moments and the spirit of giving. Y’all have been very busy at Highclere Castle, and it looks marvelous! I hope John receives his special treat. I especially enjoyed reading about the OXFAM concert and the Christmas fair. Thank you for sharing!
Merry Christmas to you, your family and your wonderful staff!
The Woodlands, Texas
Stacey – lovely to hear from you – Happy Christmas!
Merry Christmas to everyone at Highclere Castle. May you each have a blessed holiday filled with love, laughter and great stories to share on this blog in the future.
Thank you – Happy Christmas
I can hardly believe that it’s been one year ago today that I had one of the most wonderful days of my life. My name is Tressa and I live in Canada but 365 days ago though I found myself at Highclere Castle after returning from a mission trip in India. It was a day that will be etched in my memory forever! It was absolutely breathtaking to see the castle in person and then to meet Lady Carnarvon was more than I expected. She is truly gracious, elegant and yet so down to earth. She is everything in person as she appears to be when interviewed. Simply lovely. Sadly and regrettably it is taken me a year to even make mention of my day publicly but let me say once again it was so wonderful. I hope to return to Highclere Castle one day with my husband and my daughter but until then thank you Lady Carnarvon for making me feel so welcome and inviting me for a cup of tea. I tear up as I remember that moment and do hope to continue our conversation and vision someday in the future.
If you’re reading this I pray you have a wonderful Christmas. Blessings to you all and Lauren as well
Tressa, please see my comments below. You inspired August and I so a year ago today, and we will never forget meeting you at Highclere and the testimony you so bravely shared with us about Mumbai that day. We both fell in love with you, and speak of you often, and ask that every thought we have of you be a prayer for your brave work on behalf of those suffering around us. Merry Christmas to you and yours! You are beloved!
What are you doing Tessa is amazing and what you have seen, hard to bear. I think I have been asked to give a talk in Canada which would be a great project. I am just another hard working woman just as you are, juggling and trying… I am always here for your next visit or if there is something we can do we will always try
The decor is stunning!
Sally and her elves will be happy…
It sounds like lots of fun and joyous camaraderie with all the work. Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season for ALL!
Thank you – Happy Christmas
I am unable this year to be in a Christmas mood. Sad things happened all over… But reading your blog and seeing the pictures, made me look to a brighter side of life at least.
I do not know where and with whom I will be on 24-25 December, but I wish you, your family and staff a very joyous Christmas and lots of good things for 2018.
Thank you for everything.
Christmas is not always an easy time of year – I think Sir Winston Churchill commented that it is a time of reflection as well as rejoicing. I hang on to the metaphor of a journey, sometimes I think I have a direction, but often the steps are hard. I wish you all the best for this time and next year and we will speak via blog on Christmas Day I am sure.
I am now 70 and am entering a ‘journey’ to see the exhibition at Highclere Castle next year, and to go to Egypt to see the Valley of the Kings. Being a Patron of Pedro Youth Club in Hackney by James Cook MBE I would like the children to come next year in our Royal Variety Club coach. Plus, I hope to write up my adventures and findings in an academic paper as I am a three discipline scientist and Masters graduate of the Open University. This was the brain child of Lord Wilson in distance learning that I had the honour to know from my RAF days.
Being alone is not the end of the world. History is my friend and so I have studied and won or been awarded by NIACE, 1996, 2002, 2011 as Learning and Skills council. I live outside Lockerbie and so I am sharing my journey and will plan to visit as an academic to aid my paper on what is the legacy of positive thought. Howard Carter endured to add to knowledge and share it in ancient history. I thank you for the exhibition I never knew was at Highclere. I do hope to add to that knowledge as a medical imaging Masters graduate. Neffertiti I believe Howard Carter would have found had be lived. I hope to try. Thank you for the entertaining programme with Mary Berry.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a ‘jolly’ blog. Very appropriate for the season. I am sure that Santa would agree.
Wonderful photos and lovely imagery created by your words. A particular smile was raised in reading of your climb with John and Luis up the Tower to rescue the flag.
Whilst a frosty wind blows at the pinnacles of Highclere, we in Australia are facing an impending first real heat wave of this summer. Nevertheless, homes here are adorned with festive lights and extensively decorated Christmas trees. Solar lit reindeer and colourful sleighs adorn many a front yard. It is the ‘most wonderful time of year’.
I take this opportunity convey my admiration and congratulations to you and your husband for upholding the finest traditions and values of Christmas in being so generous and giving of your time and opening your home for such important charities.
I also convey to you, your staff, all fellow bloggers and loved ones my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and rewarding new year.
Thank you – as we get through each day I imagine Santa also has a lot of work to do too!!!It is indeed jolly cold this evening!
It doesn’t sound like there is much down time for any of you. I’m overwhelmed just reading about all that has to be done. Put your feet up when you can and enjoy the beauty of all your hard work. Merry Christmas.
This was our last day of large numbers of visitors, so now we can begin to get a few minutes back and get to the day before Christmas!
The tree and all of the decorations are beautiful. Merry Christmas to you all.
Thank you !
Dear Lady Carnarvon. The lead up to your Highclere Christmas sounds amazing & I wish I was there. So many events, winter weather & the magic of Christmas Trees. Isn’t it funny how the simple act of decorating a tree can bring such joy to millions of people. Our favourite time of the year too.
Thank you for sharing another fabulous blog.
Althea – Auckland, New Zealand
Thank you and if you are ever visiting at this time of year come and join us!
Today I’m living in the past and remembering last years OXFAM’s Sing for Peace event. How amazing it was to meet one of my personal heros, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who so graciously introduced me to Lord and Lady Carnarvon, realizing we had mutual friends in my hometown of Nashville. It was a gorgeous day in December, complete with early morning fog and frost, that clung about the long view landscapes on the train ride from London to Newbury. Our train conductor offered us complimentary first class accommodations, since we had certainly worn our best English outdoor apparel, fur hats and warm wool Burberry scarfs. As we arrived at Highclere early, the fog and frost were evaporating into a perfectly clear day. An unexpected invitation to lunch in the tent was an amazing treat, and we met so many wonderful people there, offering to take our pictures as we were together, instead of having to snap selfies of ourselves. Small favors mean so much when one is visiting from another country. Touring the castle in brilliant sunlight was overwhelming, as the Christmas decorations seemed perfectly placed, and never in the way of beholding the beautiful finishes that make Highclere such an elevated art form of architecture and decor. Our High Tea experience was amazing because of the lovely friend of Fiona’s we met from Toronto, who had just returned from working in the slums of Mumbai. The poverty and human trafficking she saw there had scarred her, so as she poured out her heart in the beauty of the afternoon light at Highclere, our tears dripped right into our Earl Grey, and she said it was healing to be able to share her torturous experiences with us, since she had been holding her pain in her heart since she left India just days before. Our eyes were opened wide to this worldwide example of man’s inhumanity to man, and our determination to do more was steeled in our hearts, where it remains ready to spring into action when opportunities to help present before us. The Egyptian Exhibit was another eyes wide open experience, and the importance of Highclere became even clearer. Downton Abbey brought us to Highclere, and seeing Jackdaw’s Castle and the Grand Saloon where The Granthams gathered was a real thrill, but it paled in contrast to the Highclere in it’s modern form, as a great family home, and as a place that is in use everyday to make this world a better place, and to inspire future generations to carefully preserve their heritage, and the homes and land that lend themselves well to elevate our spirits, and demonstrate the importance of the family of mankind. I’m wearing my mink muff trimmed in fox today from the Highclere gift shop as I harken back to this day last year, a great day that changed my life for the good. Thank you again, Lord and Lady Carnarvon for hosting us. Hopefully, our paths will cross again soon!
I hope you will visit us again
I’ve not yet had the privilege of visiting Highclere, perhaps 2018 will be the year. The trees and decorations look stunning, so much planning and effort and the Victorian feel is beautiful. Most wonderful of all is all the hard work going on to support such worthwhile charities, wishing you all every success.
Thank you – Happy Christmas
Lady Carnarvon, I love to see all the beautiful decorations for Christmas at Highclere. Merry Christmas to all. Jacquie McDonald USA
I loved the story about climbing up the tower to rescue the flag! Now it is time to enjoy the fruit of your labors! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
from North Kingstown, Rhode Island
It was hysterical – it was the running commentary all the way up, although it did peter out for the last part!!!
Thank you so much, Lady Carnarvon, for your blogs and especially this one. With the political situations in Britain, it means so very much to see that there are still some Dickensian-type ideas and Christmas preparations are alive and well in my grandparents’ home land. Thank you for the pictures of the tower, too. Happy Christmas to you, your family, and your staff members. Kathy Stewart, Rochester, NY
Last week we fulfilled a bucket list dream of attending the Christmas Fair on Thursday. Actually it was my wife and me and 14 other friends all from the USA. Thank you for opening your house to us American Downton fans. We all enjoyed food and tea and all bought many gifts from the fair. What a truly wonderful time we had.
Phillip D Brown
Thank you for coming here- it sounds like it was a great group!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your blog is a delight! I so enjoyed hearing about your Christmas holiday events and all the work and pleasure that goes into their preparation. Someday I hope to visit and have it on my bucket list. Meanwhile please accept my Christmas wishes from Harstine Island located in Puget Sound in the state of Washington! This is truly the land of Christmas trees year round! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
A very happy Christmas to you!
Lady Carnarvon, Thank you so much for writing this blog, I am here in Monterey Park, a small suburb of Los Angeles, a bit south of Pasadena which I think you have visited sometime ago, these past few weeks there had been so many forest fires and thousands of homes were burned down, all because of strong gusty wind and if one watch TV , there are just news of people being gunned down, burned and trapped in crowded places….I saw your picture with the ambulance helicopter, I just hope you and are your family and helpers are safe in this cold cold early winter….Now, my question(s) for you :
Is it warm enough in Highclere ? How do you heat all the rooms where special events are held? Are all the decorated Christmas trees safe from accidental embers ?
I don’t see any poinsettias ? If you have them outside, how do you keep them in bloom for the months ahead ?
When your guest pianist played near the stable, how does the horses react ?
What is mulled wine ? Will you be baking cookies ? Plum pudding ?
I am saving my loose change money so I can buy your new book and hoping feverishly that the Downton Abbey exhibit (now in New York) will come to Pasadena (Southern California) soon in 2018 !!!
Merry Christmas and please keep fit so you can climb up the tower faster than your husband (ha, ha, ha ).
I am so sorry about all the fires – it seems to have been a tough year!
Highclere is perfectly warm – good log fires and some radiators if none in bedrooms. We use battery lights on the Christmas trees and switch them off every night. There are large bowls of poinsettias on the gallery and cyclamen and early narcissi in the main rooms. The horses seem to rather like the pianist,perhaps not quite so sure about the crowds of people or maybe it was just our singing!!! amazon.com always have book deals and on other parts of this blog you can find recipes!
I love this blog so much. It is so wonderful to learn about life at Highclere – it is like observing a very close and happy family! It’s made me feel so christmasy too – thank you for sharing. Happy Christmas to you all.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, as your first responder wrote, your blog, is also the only one that I follow. You make it so very personal and inviting. Having visited Highclere, I know just where the tree is placed, and can see the beauty in my mind. You and your wonderful staff, make everything so special. A very warm and healthy and happy Christmas to you and your family. Desiree Creary.
You are kind…
Another great & funny bog Lady Carnarvon, John will be out of luck as the local chippy is shut on Mondays I think we need to set up a Fish & Chip fund for John as he keeps missing out
Excellent idea Paul, I am sure he would appreciate it
For me the best time of the year is when it’s Christmas, decorating the tree, it’s one of my favorite entertainments … the only problem is my cats, they love to get up and mess with the ornaments hahahaha. I love your big castle, but adorned in Christmas it even makes it more endearing and charming if it fits. I hope to visit you sometime. Thank you very much for your charitable works, espirtu of “CHRISTMAS” …..
Your cats would make it interesting!
I so admire your attitude, dedication and hard work. You seem to relish what you do and always see your glass has half full instead of half empty. You set a great example for us all! Happy Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year from Colorado U.S.A.
you are right – half a glass of rosé and hope
Mery Christmas an congrats dos the amazing tree!
Thank you Happy Christmas
You said “collect hampers”, what are they?
Hampers are baskets with selected presents -a tradition here and we have been selling them in our gift shop
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You never cease to amaze me as it seems that you have endless energy. The pictures of the trees and the tower are such fun to look at and I can imagine in my minds eye how much fun you all are having getting your home ready for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I do hope to get to see Highclere
some day as it is a huge wish of mine. In the mean time have a splendid and joyous Christmas with your family and friends.
I think my petrol tank is a bit low – but thank you!!!
I so enjoy reading your blogs. This one is very special!!!! I imagine how lovely your home is at Christmas. Hopefully you can take some time to relax and enjoy!! My husband and I enjoyed our visit late in August to Highclere!! We happened to be there on his birthday and it was a favorite part of our visit to England. Wishing you a Happy Christmas from the United States!!!!
Sending you some Greek sunshine and warmth as we see that England, and most of northern Europe, is in a deep freeze and with snow! Stay warm, Lady C., and cozy by the fireplace and with the wonderfully decorated tree, an amazing job by those happy elves of Highclere! Thank you for such a happy blog and great photos, it is almost like being there. What wonderful events you have for OXFAM and the songs of Peace. May you have a most blessed Christmas: “KALES YIORTES”!
Could you explain “gritting” ?
Loved this blog (I was exhausted just reading it)!
Happy Christmas to everyone at Highclere.
May you also have a blessed Christmas…
Yesterday morning I flew from my snow covered town in Connecticut to sunny warm San Diego. Ca. How fortunate to be able to travel this wide country so quickly. Today I traveled once more, with your blog, to the holiday festivities at Highclere via the internet. What a wonderful world we live in !
Merry, Merry Christmas !
I hope this is a good part of sharing stories and photos through “social media”
Thank you so much for sharing so much of your everyday life in your blog posts. I am always happy to find them in my inbox. Although I loved all the commentary and pictures of Christmas decorations and celebrations for charity, I was most intrigued by your photos from the top of the tower! First of all, what a wonderful view of the rolling parkland. Secondly, I was amazed just looking at the architectural details around the doorway and the parapets. As an American, we do not see buildings that old. I marvel at the craftsmen who labored to make such a beautiful and lasting castle. It is probably a good thing I cannot travel, as I would spend all my time looking at the fine details that make up such an inspiring and welcoming home. The added decorations just set off the beauty of all those little details that you tend to with such care. May you have a very Happy Christmas in front of the fire with your family and dogs. May you also be abundantly blessed in the coming year!
What I find so extraordinary is the detail seen by view – it is not just rather beautifully made on the outside to look at it but up on the Tower, the inside of you like and around the roof detail as well. I love the views – this is God’s earth let’s look after it!
Your posts are so uplifting and full of great people. Congratulations on more successful events. Best wishes for a happy Christmas to you and all you love.
Thank you – and best wishes for your Christmas!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you from Australia for the light and laughter you bring to my home with your stories. I too open your emails first, to catch up with the “Castle Crew”. So lovely to have a happy though weary team. Enjoy the snow for us, and may it fall softly and gently. We have only heat & storms ahead, but also brilliant sunny beach days. Our Christmas lunch is salads & cold meats while you enjoy your traditional fare.
May you find peace in the midst of the busyness of your days and have time to ponder the birth of our dear Saviour Jesus. Thank you and your family and Castle team again. You all are blessed. Anne.
Thank you – I have been thinking about Christmas..and the story
I was there on saturday and that Was so cosy, so AMAZING!!!
I’m only so sorry not to meet you!!!!
Chrismas singers were so seeet near the chrismas tree!
Love, Monica from Iyaly
I am glad – I had a quick lunch with my son at his school on Saturday- I got back a bit later..
Good morning Lady Canarvon,
Yet another wonderful blog and on one of my favourite times of the year Christmas and I can image what a wonderful place Highclare is at this time of the year.
I have just returned home from spending an early Christmas with my family including my grandchildren in Rugby as I fly to Panama to spend a first Christmas in a hot climate!
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family and staff a very merry Christmas and happy and prosperous 2018.
We leave 2017 with fond memories of our first visit to your beutifull home and hope we return next year!
Thank you and avery Happy Christmas to you and your family!
I just love reading your blog! As an American I can use all the joy and tradition I can find. You fill that need well. THANK YOU!
Excellent idea for A Year in the Life of Highclere! I would eagerly await that one as much as I did for Downton Abbey.
My lady, thank you so much for your delightful posts. I love reading about life around your home. You make it feel so personal. Best wishes to you and your family for a most joyous Christmas and the best of everything to you in the coming year.
A very Happy Christmas to you – thank you!
Hello, I found this blog by an accident ,after my passion to downtown abby serie and im so happy.
Actually im persian and its exiting to read about Highclere Castle and ofcourse youvand your doing from this otherside of world.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of the above messengers! Reading the blog was my joy for the day!!!
Lauren and I share a passion for large Christmas trees. My ex used to tease me about having to trim my “giant sequoia” each year. Thank you for sharing your life and home. Never doubt your gift for writing; the gift is in truly sharing yourself and you do with each blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Katy, Texas.
Thank you Merry Christmas!
Dearest Lady Carnarvon,
I would literally give my life to see your beautiful home and gardens!
This is the first time I’ve ever responded and yours is the only blog I read. I know I am unworthy.
You put such joy in my life!
Happy Holidays to you and your family and staff!
You are truly a Joy to the World…
Please do continue to comment and I am glad I can share some of it this way!
Another lovely glimpse into life at Highclere Castle. Christmas is truly a time of giving, whether, it is time, kind, or prayers for family, friends or those in need. Your post embodies a little of all.
Merry Christmas to all and Blessings on you, your family and staff.
Thank you and quite a few of the team here read the blog just in case they are in as reference!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Christmas joy has come to Highclere in abundance! Your tree is beautiful, thanks to Sally and her elves. The Christmas fair and the Oxfam benefit were great successes and enjoyed by many. I am wondering though, Lady Carnarvon, what special gifts would you and your family like to see under the tree this year? You do so much for others, and I hope your family enjoys the season to the fullest. My wish is that you receive every blessing and gift possible. You certainly deserve them! I read you are writing a new book, so I guess you are going to make a few Christmas wishes come true in true Lady Carnarvon style. If I can say so, I am excited about this new development. Happy Christmas, Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel thrown in for good measure!! I hope everyone at Highclere has a sparkling and lovely holiday season.
Best of the season to you and your family,
Ann Catherine Flood
Thank you for your kind words! I am wrapping pressies for my nieces/nephews and I and my sisters agree not to go overboard.. I look forward to the familiar rituals of Christmas, somehow reassuring, in what seems an uncertain, uneasy world
Wishing you holiday blessings of love, happiness and good health for you and your family. Thank you always for the great stories and history of the Castle and your family and staff (who sound like family to you also).
Many prayers for a Merry Christmas to you all !!!
Thank you – Happy Christmas to you!
Thank you for reminding me of the wonderful work carried out by Thames Valley Air Ambulance. They helped my family on two occasions many years ago. I have just made a donation to this worthy cause.
Happy Christmas to you and your family, especially the dogs!
I am glad the helicopter was there – and they are there on Christmas Day – the dogs wish you a Happy Christmas too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon, warmest greetings to you and your household from Ontario Canada! The pictures you post, and your captivating blog give us a glimpse of what Christmas is truly supposed to be like. Your magnificent tree decorations rival those anywhere in the world, and reading your descriptions of the comraderie and friendship with staff preparing for this event were so vivid I could hear laughter. You are living history and I try to absorb as much of it as I can through your words. May you, and yours have a wonderfully Happy Christmas!
I am sure other decorations are better, but ours do involve a lot of laughter and camaraderie!
Somehow I have stopped receiving your blog and I miss reading it!! Please get me back on your distribution list. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
I am so sorry – when it was all updated I knew things would go askew!!! I will ask Jonah in my office to have a look. Happy Christmas
A most Happy Christmas to all of you from New Hampshire, USA! Hoping for Good Health, Joy and Peace for the coming year!
What a stunning preparation-time this is, building up all this cosy winterworld ❄❄
I also hope that Santa C brings lovely Christmas gifts to Lord and Lady Carnarvon themselves
I was blessed to be able to come and visit Highclere for the Christmas Fair! I am still pinching myself to believe that my daughter, who lives in Texas and I from NY were able to come and spend a delightful, although soggy day exploring this wonderful home! Meeting you for a brief moment while you signed my Christmas ball ornament was a treat! Thank you for your kindness!
You have done such a great job with your blog and information that you share with all of us! Highclere is a special place and not just because of Downton Abbey’s influence! It is a treasure to be cared for and you do a terrific job!
We enjoyed our luncheon, shopping and walking the grounds after the sun broke through!
Thank you for sharing! I had tickets for the December 11 opening but due to weather I had to reschedule! I hope to be able to come again next Spring and see a different, warmer side of the Estate!
Merry Christmas to you and God’s blessings in the New Year!
I am glad you came it is a fun two days.I deliberately try to share different times of year, a home for all seasons
I so enjoy your blog.
Merry Christmas, Lady Carnarvon, from Durham, North Carolina, USA!!
Thank you Happy Christmas to you in Durham!
I loved reading this post. It’s so wonderful that you’re into all these charities! I bet Highclere looks splendid at Christmas and I envy Sally from the gift shop being in charge of the decorating!! Tough task, but so rewarding I bet 🙂
Wishing all of you at Highclere a very merry Christmas!
Kathleen (Antwerp, Belgium)
Sally is very orghanised and her “elf” starts well before to coallate and plan, we also have to remember where we stored the decorations, so the first game is called hide and seek .. seek what seems to have been hidden Happy Christmas
Please see link below of photo of you and the Count standing by the Christmas tree; Paul, the chief gardener is also mentioned .
Best wishes for a safe and joyous Christmas.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for sharing your life through your blog. As others have said, yours is the only blog I follow. I love England and was a devoted fan of Downton Abbey. I hope to visit Highclere Castle some day. Happy Christmas to you and your family from my family and me.
Jaime Pierce in Houston, Texas
What a lovely time of the year to see Highclere Castle with the Christmas trees and your wonderful Christmas Fair. For those of us who cannot come-by-for-a-visit, your blog always makes us feel right at home. Thank you for all that you share and for all that you care for with charities and also with the history and life at Highclere. Sending WARM wishes from Greece for a most Happy Christmas to you and all at Highclere Castle.
Happy Christmas to you!
I just found this blog and I cannot believe it took me so long! I watched a docuyon Highclere a year or so ago and just loved how down to earth you and your husband are. There’s not an ounce of pretentiousness in you! You amaze me! I love your blog and look forward to reading each and every post! Thank you so very much for sharing your life with us! Have a very Happy Christmas!
Thank you – I have just finished writing my next post which I hope will amuse you! Happy Christmas
Merry Christmas Lady Carnarvon, and thank you for sharing your news of the goings on at Highclere over the festive season -just fascinating. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the lovely Highclere Christmas fair this year, and I wondered if it would be possible to obtain a list of the stall holders? I promised a couple of people to visit them in their store, but lost the paperwork on the way home?
Wishing you a very Happy New Year
Catriona and Maddy
I am glad you enjoyed it – most of those who came do not have a shop – let me know which stall you missed and I can see if I can find a website.. it is such a nice way to begin December!
A wonderful account of Christmas and preparations. I enjoyed your tale of the flag – it takes a special gift to make an ordinary action – such as taking down a flag – fascinating.
Now that Xmas is over, maybe a little fiction and tfact to change the mood: in Norway we learned reindeer are the only deer whose females have antlers. The males lose their antlers in the fall and are without throughout the winter. The females grow theirs for the winter to protect their families when the males are antlerless. Therefore, Rudolph is a female! Don’t tell the kids or Walt Disney.