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Mother who loves Christmas defies energy costs to put tree up in August

Pip Bensley put her Christmas tree up four months before 25 December. (Solent)
Pip Bensley put her Christmas tree up four months before 25 December. (Solent)

A woman who adores Christmas has put her tree and lights up in August despite the soaring cost of electricity.

Mother-of-two Pip Bensley, 58, a florist from Southampton, Hampshire, turned her Christmas lights on over the August bank holiday.

She has already been playing Christmas music and is preparing to send out Christmas cards, three months before the festive season is in full swing.

Bensley said the joy she feels from her festive decorations outweighs the cost of her incoming electricity bill.

She put her artificial tree up in her home on Sunday, 28 August, and said: "It's not crazy, it's just early.

"The cost of the lights isn't much compared to the happiness they give. Spread the Christmas joy. Imagine if the world was full of happy Christmas people."

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Bensley said her tradition of putting the decorations up early started in the late 1980s when she and a friend would split the duty of having their Christmas tree up all year round.

"I had a friend called Lisa, who used to put her tree up on Christmas Eve and left it up until the end of June," she said.

"So I started putting mine up on 1 July until the 12th night [6 January] - so between us we covered the whole of the year.

Pip Bensley is already in the Christmas spirit even though it's only September. (Solent)
Pip Bensley is already in the Christmas spirit even though it's only September. (Solent)

"When I met my husband we moved it to about October time - I thought he might not cope with a July Christmas tree."

Bensley, who is now separated, has two daughters - Alex, 27, and Ellie, 26 - and credits Alex for the Christmas tree going up in August.

"My eldest daughter's birthday is 19 August, so when she was at primary school we started having her birthday party as the beginning of Christmas.

"The parents would hate it because the kids would go home saying, 'Why can't we have our tree up, Alex has got hers up'.

"So I wasn't popular with the other parents with that. And it's settled to August bank holiday since then."

Bensley, a triple Chelsea gold medal winning floral designer who runs her own business, said she started playing Christmas songs in July.

"My Christmas cards will go out soon," she said. "And we have advent calendars from September. So we need five advent calendars to get through September, October, November, December and all the extra days.

"My grandad, Charles, was a great believer in singing and dancing at Christmas, so he sang a lot. My birthday is two weeks before Christmas so the two events were always associated.

"I used to do the tree with grandad - it reminds me of the good times. It was the thing that we did together. It's a lovely happy thing to do, why wouldn't you? It'll lift the household."

Bensley said it was "horrible" last year when put the tree up "really late" in November.

"It just felt all wrong," she said.