I’m UK's biggest Christmas fan – I start my turkey dinners in October, have Slade on repeat and saved £200 on prezzies | The Sun

WHILE most of the UK is desperately hoping for a bit of sunshine, one mum can’t wait to see some snow.

Christmas-mad mum Holly Brailsford gets so excited about the festive season she starts booking events five months early – and celebrates in October.

Holly, 38, convinced her local pub to open their books early so she could reserve a spot for her family to have their Christmas Eve dinner.

And her hyper-organised ways seem to be paying off financially too.

The savvy shopper saves more than £200-a-year through early-bird deals and summer sales, including £20 by becoming the first customer to book on East Lancashire Railway’s Santa Specials.

She says: “I’m super-organised. 

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“I'm not one to leave things to the last-minute, especially in December when you’ve only got three weekends really to be doing things with family and you’re trying to fit everything in.

“I like to get my important family things booked early.” 

Holly's already paid a deposit for the installation of her outdoor festive lights as the area she lives in goes to town with their decorations and attracts visitors from miles away.

Holly, 38, dreams about Christmas all-year round and celebrates in two months early with a family feast and Slade on the playlist, thanks to a 30-year tradition started by dad Noel in 1993.

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Holly, of Chorley, Lancashire, adds: “On the first Sunday of October when I was growing up we’d have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and Christmas music. 

“People would ring the house and ask ‘Why can I hear Slade playing in the background?’

“We’re just a very festive family. 

“It was just a fun thing to do, and started when we were younger with just playing a bit of Christmas music – and then every year it just got bigger and bigger, now with jumpers, crackers and small gifts.

“My dad has since passed away and we’ve picked up the baton and take turns hosting it. 

“Friends will text saying ‘Happy Whitman Christmas’. It’s a whole thing.”

Account manager Holly has already snapped up tickets for Lancashire Railway’s Santa Specials and looking forward to taking her train-loving son Oscar, three, and husband Ryan.

The heritage railway will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland with everything from carol singing polar bears to a magical talking Christmas tree.

Holly revealed her favourite part was how the entertainers interacted with children of all ages. 

She said: “Christmas is magical.

“Oscar’s a lockdown baby and he’s only really started to come out of his shell this year.

“He’s been incredibly shy and timid around people. After about 20 minutes he was approaching the performers at the railway and how they interacted with the younger kids was beautiful.

“They were obviously experienced in dealing with children, from very little kids up to the teenagers, and for me that was the best bit – everybody just got stuck in.” 

Children can meet Santa and join passengers on a 80-minute steam train ride from Bury to Rawstentall and back.

Holly added: “I grew up with lovely family traditions and it’s nice to pass some of those on.

“But it’s also great to start some of our own and the Santa Specials is definitely one of them.”

Lorna Kelly, Sales and Event Manager of East Lancashire Railway, said: “We’re noticing a growing trend of families booking Christmas events early.

“Tickets are selling fast with people getting organised in the summer to avoid disappointment.

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“Holly’s our first Christmas customer and we can’t wait to welcome her and her family to our Winter Wonderland.”

Tickets start from £23. To find out more about the Santa Specials and to book tickets for the event, visit: https://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/events-activities/santa-trains/

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