BLENHEIM Palace is busy decking the halls in preparation for the festive season.

As part of the Christmas decorations at the palace, staff have brought 40 estate-grown Christmas trees into the building.

Visitor services assistant Andrew Frost said: “It is my favourite time of year at Blenheim – families can really enjoy the spirit of a Christmas day out.”

Meanwhile many high street chains have been pushing Christmas puddings before they have finished plugging Hallowe’en pumpkins.

But Joy Hetherington, manager of Oxford Aromatics in the Oxford Covered Market, said it was a delicate balance between keeping customers happy and making sure she stayed in business. She said: “We all say we wouldn’t survive without December, it’s such a huge month for us. What I have been doing is getting the stock in early, but not making a big show of it.”

Shopper Rachel Horner, 38, from Osney, said: “I don’t like to see Christmas start in September but once Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes’ are over, there is really only seven weeks to get everything done. My family are scattered all over the place so Christmas is a big deal to us. For me, it is helpful that I can get a little bit done before the last-minute rush in the shops.”