The mas­Ter of chrisT­mas

Amanda Woods steps into the fairy light-adorned world of celebrity christ­mas tree dec­o­ra­tor, Jo­hann Wan­ner, and leaves filled with fes­tive cheer.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Travel & Style -

as some­one who col­lects christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions around the world to re­mind her of her trav­els i was rather ex­cited to meet this man in his store in Basel. Jo­hann Wan­ner is The christ­mas guy. he’s the one movie stu­dios come to when they need to make sure a christ­mas tree’s dec­o­ra­tions for a par­tic­u­lar time and place are right, he’s the one Lady Di would come to for her dec­o­ra­tions and he’s de­signed and dressed trees all over the world in­clud­ing the White house, the Vat­i­can and rock­e­feller cen­ter.

When the tra­di­tional work­shops he used to buy his dec­o­ra­tions from started clos­ing down in the 1960s Jo­hann started buy­ing their moulds and mak­ing his own or­na­ments.

step­ping into his christ­mas shop in the heart of Basel’s old Town i was thrilled to not only see his dec­o­ra­tions, but to re­alise the man him­self was work­ing in the store. To see the pas­sion in his eyes as he ex­plained how so many of his glass or­na­ments are mouth-blown us­ing moulds that are up to 200 years old be­fore be­ing sil­ver-lined and painted was a de­light.

as much as i adored his del­i­cate glass or­na­ments i needed some­thing that was more likely to sur­vive weeks of travel in a crowded suit­case, and so i opted for some pretty red and white pa­pier mâché mush­rooms. as Jo­hann told me about the way he uses a 140-year-old ma­chine to make the mush­room shapes be­fore they’re painted i knew they’d bring back very spe­cial mem­o­ries when they joined my Travel christ­mas Tree each year.

Jo­hann’s christ­mas house is open year round, and from oc­to­ber un­til fe­bru­ary he also has a christ­mas Par­lour shop where vis­i­tors can drink tea, cof­fee and cham­pagne amongst the dec­o­ra­tions. Bub­bles and baubles? i’ll be back for that one. www.jo­han­nwan­ner.ch

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