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Chris St John, manager of the AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap fund, walks us through the FTSE 250, pro...
What if I told you I put up my Christmas decorations two weeks ago..?
November might seem a little early for baubles, fairy lights and tinsel but, let’s face it, this year has been a bit lacklustre to say the least, and what better way to raise your spirits than the magical allure of Christmas? And I’m not alone. Psychology studies have shown that decorating for the holidays improves mood and ignites positive memories. It’s a sign of comfort, consolation, celebrating and joy. Nothing makes me happier than Christmas tree lights and the flickering flame of a pine-scented candle with my afternoon cup of tea. So, while it might seem early, Christmas and all the decorations that go along with it – at least this year – are more about mental wellbeing. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” — Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking
Ever since we moved from a flat to a house this summer, I’ve been excited about what Christmas could bring. But with so much space to decorate, I found the whole idea overwhelming at first. So I spent some time browsing on Pinterest to gain ideas. Cormac Weldon, manager of Artemis US Smaller Companies, recently told us more about Pinterest, a top ten holding of his*, in a video interview.
Personally, I prefer traditional, timeless Christmas decorations – items that I can build on year after year. I’ve had the garland in our front room for five years and it’s still perfect, so I went back to Wayfair to find more to compliment it. I knew I could rely on the quality from Wayfair, the fourth largest holding* in Baillie Gifford American, so I bought a range – including new stockings.
Dunelm, the third largest holding* in AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap, was a new shop for me this year. A friend recommended it and I found so many little things – decorations for our bookcase, new baubles and (much to my husband’s dismay), a holiday dinner set! If we have to eat Christmas dinner alone, we’re at least going to do it on cute, festive plates.
Dunelm was extremely affordable and gave me an idea. As a surprise for my husband, I found a custom wooden advent calendar on eBay (a holding in TB Evenlode Global Income**) that can be reused and displayed year after year. I stocked up on small gifts and surprises from Dunelm and Primark, whose owner Associated British Foods is also a holding in Threadneedle UK Extended Alpha^.
Of course, living with two dogs can lead to the dreaded “dog smell” and while people might not be visiting this Christmas, I still wanted it to smell inviting and cosy. Next has an excellent collection of diffusers, candles, and potpourri to keep every room of our house festive and fresh. A top ten holding in Edentree Amity UK*, Next also has excellent home decorations and a range of artificial trees. It also has my favourite: Christmas pyjamas.
Christmas is unlikely to be ‘normal’ this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be Merry or Happy. Instead of our usual traditions for the run up and even the big day itself, with a little bit of imagination we can make some new ones. So put on a Christmas movie, make some hot chocolate and get those decorations up early!
*Source: fund factsheet, October 2020
**Source: Webinar, 2 November 2020
***Source: FE Analytics, full portfolio listing, 30 September 2020