Christmas 'me time' on offer at Fyffe House

Fyffe House has just the thing for people looking to carve out a bit of ‘me time’ amidst all the end-of-year events and parties, Christmas shopping and menu planning.

A red and green wreath with a bell and a large snowflake hangs against a wall.
Christmas decorations Fyffe House style. Photo: HNZPTexpand/collapse

For some years now, the Category 1 historic place in Kaikōura has hosted Christmas wreath-making workshops for adults, where participants can while away a couple of hours getting crafty and creating something beautiful to hang in their home.

The workshops are the brainchild of Shelley Brady, a senior visitor host at the Heritage New Zealand-run property and a serious Christmas enthusiast. The workshops give participants the opportunity to pick and choose from a wide range of provided materials and produce a unique creation.

All the materials are found or recycled, collected by Shelley throughout the year; the wreaths are built from bases fashioned from wire coat hangers, and can be adorned with everything from op-shop-sourced tinsel to natural materials found on her farm.

And this year a Christmas Decorating Workshop will also be held for children who will make miniature Christmas trees using yarn cones, recycled Christmas cards and a range of other creative bits and pieces. Local historian and retired museum curator Pam Garbes will lead the workshop, assisted by the Fyffe House team.

The workshops have become a local tradition, says Fyffe House manager Ann McCaw, running annually even through the disruption of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake and the pandemic.

“We decorate our pink shed with hundreds of lights and it all looks very Christmassy and over-the-top,” says Ann.

“We have a number of regulars who come and it’s their tradition to spend a couple of hours doing something hands-on and for themselves. It’s about having some ‘me time’ in that busy lead up to Christmas.”

The recycling theme also ties in nicely with the history of Fyffe House.

“The three families who lived and worked at Fyffe House over the years all had to make do and mend. None of them were wealthy, and canniness was essential to making your life here,” says Ann.

“We’ll be tapping into that fine tradition of creative recycling once again this Christmas.”

John O'Hare