Finally there’s the antique or vintage trend, which “harks back to Christmases past,” according to Sheehan. Handmade elements fall into this category – “things like salt dough ornaments and spray-painted pine cones make it so personal,” she says. The star still in use on her mother’s tree, for example, is a tin foil creation made by her sister in 1980.
You might say that Christmas is in Sheehan’s blood. “Christmas was a huge deal when I was growing up,” she says. It still is: “The kids in the street still all come to look at all the lights and the reindeer on the garage roof.”
Her mother loves Christmas so much that she runs a Facebook page, Crazy about Christmas, which has nearly 220,000 “likes”. So was she allowed to decorate the tree at home? “No, never. That was a no-go zone. Even now that I do this as a career, I’m still not allowed to touch it.”
I had expected Sheehan – dubbed “the Queen of Christmas” – to be puritanical about real trees, but she isn’t. At home she has a champagne-coloured tree made of “pure tinsel”, she says. (Trees made of tinsel is one thing, but tinsel on trees is apparently a no-no).
Today, however, she pulls out a more traditional green, fake tree with tips that look incredibly realistic. “There are some amazing ones around,” she explains. “At the top end of the market you can buy fully vacuum-formed trees that are identical to a real tree for about £900, or you can also get something that costs about £15 from the supermarket.”
It makes sense, both environmentally – we cut down about seven million trees at Christmas, according to the British Tree Growers Association, and a typical 6ft tree is about 10 years old – but also, practically.
“If you’ve got kids or pets, dropped needles isn’t always ideal,” Sheehan says. More to the point, faux trees are easier to dress, she adds.