There are ghosts in all we do at Christmas; memories of memories tied up in red ribbon and smelling of cinnamon and oranges.
I love that here in Pembrokeshire the rolly polly ghost of Christmas past is still around, laughing his great rolling laugh, and I find him every year in the familiar places and long running county traditions, of shopping and eating, and making ready for Advent.
Vincent Davies Department Store, Haverfordwest
Vincent Davies, the department store on the outskirts of Haverfordwest, has been a favourite of our family for generations. Our grandparents, along with all the old county families, bought their furniture there. As young parents we bought from the garden centre the baby versions of the plants that are now taking over our gardens and our children bought their first hamsters and gerbils there.
Every decade the store reinvents itself, remaining relevant, and its current incarnation is a great big grotto of things you’d just love to buy and my Mum and I regularly spend many a happy hour burrowing through its thoughtfully chosen goodies. We browse the china and buy yet more baking tins because you can never have too many. We wonder if we can fit one more piece of pretty furniture or well stuffed cushion into our homes, before spending an hour sampling the scented candles, getting pickier and pickier by the minute – soy wax, wooden wick for crackle, depth of scent, christmassyness – the perfect choice takes ages but it’s fun, it’s part of the choosing the best for Yule.
From a pile of fat fabric robins at the entrance (I’m sure I saw the same robins in Liberty of London two years ago), all the way past the glittery fripperies for Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties and onto a vast array of decorations and Santa’s grotto, the store is at its best at Christmas.
Ever quick to spot a trend – Hygge is huge! – this year they have beautiful Scandi style decorations alongside the more usual glass baubles – delicate birch bark Christmas trees with curled fronds, plain wooden reindeer with natural grain and little glitter and even a full size tree of frosted twigs.
It is impossible to visit without buying something, even something small, that will become another little Christmas ghost to add to the host in the years to come.
The George’s, Market Street, Haverfordwest
At some point during the run up to Christmas one of the family will suggest lunch at The George’s in Haverfordwest, at the top of the town, amongst the eclectic shops of Market Street. This quirky cafe bar and restaurant with shop which exemplifies the word emporium, all various levels and nooks, is another family tradition. Rich with essential oils, glowing in the light of salt lamps, full of healthy goodies, adorable little bronzes, hand crafted mirrors and a plethora of organic products there is so much to discover here.
We like to think we discovered it first, decades ago, when my daughter was little, and fair trade and ethically sourced were strange sounding words nobody really understood. We used to go there and share plates of delicious pate and we having been eating their crab bake for (eek) nearly thirty years.
Every year they have a winter theme and this year it’s silver and white and based around the stone selenite which is supposed to bring good fortune, truth, integrity, forgiveness, achievement & success, which is a lot to ask of a mineral but definitely welcome if it can manage it!
Find The George’s on Facebook here – Facebook Page
11:00 until 16:00 27 November 2016
The Iron Age settlement offers an interesting venue for a Christmas Fayre – there will be stalls selling local crafts for that special gift, Santa and one of his elves in the grotto, mince pies with mulled wine and carol singers. There will be activities to entertain the children whilst adults shop!
Pembroke Castle Christmas Market 2016
Pembroke Castle’s Christmas Market this year will be running between Friday 25th and Sunday 27th November.
The Christmas Market is a community event with free admission to all visitors. The Castle will overflowing with Christmas cheer, the castle walls and towers will be lit up in bright colours, there will be music and entertainment, and Santa’s Grotto in Western Hall.
They ask the question on their website – Where else will you see Santa abseil down an 80ft keep? Where indeed!
Fishguard Christmas Festival
6th December 2016
In Fishguard the energetic and inspiring Seasonal Events Team – a group of people addicted to festivals – have this year arranged a Christmas Festival which will include, on the 6th December 2016, a chance to late night shop in the wonderful Market in the town hall which will be full of local arts, crafts and produce, music and activities. Always a great atmosphere.