There’s no such thing as going over the top when it comes to dressing up for Christmas.
Be whole-heartedly silly and become something even your mum wouldn’t recognise, or forget it, risk being labelled a party-pooper but stay true to yourself. Anything in between is a waste of everybody’s time.
That’s the advice of an expert. She’s Melissa Reid, and she’s been in the Spalding area hiring out the costumes she makes for seven years.
Recently she’s opened Rubys and Diamonds, a mecca for fancy-dressers, in a tiny shop at 6 Market Street, Long Sutton.
Single mum Melissa moved to the area in 2005 with her ex-partner and straight away started putting the stock from a haberdashery she’d previously run in Milton Keynes to use by making costumes for hire.
At first she was in a secluded barn so relied on word of mouth to build up the business.
In 2007 she took a home learning course in Fashion Design, earning straight As while acquiring knowledge of essential details about period fashion and the construction of costumes.
Melissa said: “From Hallowe’en to the New Year is my busiest time.
“It’s not only the season for parties and balls, it’s also the time when people have traditionally wanted to transform themselves.
“I’ve supplied a lot of shops in Holbeach and Long Sutton whose staff dress up for Christmas fairs – they tend to go for crinolines and tailcoat suits for the Dickensian look.
“I’ve got six of my own-made Father Christmas costumes in different shapes and sizes for hire and I also have commercially-made Santa suits for sale.
“My Christmas pudding costume has been out for promotional use for a company and to several fancy dress parties. I have hopes for the bauble, which is new this year!”