See inside Christmas grotto house with 16 trees
- Credit: Cara Chinery
More is more in the Chinery household where they decorate a whopping 16 Christmas trees every year to make sure their house is full-on festive.
Mum Cara Chinery, of Aldringham, said she started the tradition six years ago and now her friends make an annual competition out of guessing how many decorated tress she has squeezed into her living room.
Cara, who lives with partner Loyd, and children, Dennis, 17, Tommy, 14, and 13-year-old Pearl, has always loved Christmas.
“We had always been a family that had to have the biggest real tree at Christmas,” explains Cara. “We'd go to one of those places where you can pick your own. Then we’d put it in our little car, with the three kids, and take it home.”
But when youngest child Pearl was seven they had to rethink the family tradition.
“My daughter, it turns out, is allergic to pretty much everything you could possibly think of. Grass, pollen, tree pollen, dogs, cats. She’s anaphylactic with nuts."
Having a real tree at Christmas was out of the question, as it irritated Pearl’s allergies, and so the family decided to change to a plastic version.
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But, after many years of enjoying a real tree, an artificial version just wasn’t the same.
“I don’t think I could have just one fake tree in the living room. It just didn’t look as good, and it was very expensive to buy a really nice, fake Christmas tree,” Cara explains.
So, she set about filling her living room with as many fake trees as she could find, fully restoring the magic of Christmas for her family.
“From then on, we started acquiring trees. I can honestly say I’ve probably only bought one, because all the rest have been either free, or given to me. All the decorations that cover them are all either given to me, passed on, or acquired from somewhere."
And this is how Cara’s living room came to turn into a winter wonderland every year.
“We start decorating at the end of November, because it literally takes a day to decide where they’re all going. I’ve got a box of tinsel, about eight boxes of baubles... it just goes on.
“It’s a bit of a process, but it’s a good one.”
However, the introduction of artificial trees has not completely solved Pearl's allergy issue.
"She’s also allergic to dust, so now I wipe down all the Christmas decorations when they go away, and I even hoover the trees,” said Cara.