A HISTORIC Christmas tradition is returning to Burford House Garden Store near Tenbury.

The store in Burford, will host the world-famous auctions which are held annually on the last Tuesday of November and the first two Tuesdays of December.

Buyers from the local area, across the country and other parts of Europe will be in town for the first sale next Tuesday.

Dating back to the Victorian times, the mistletoe plant has been very important to the people of Tenbury for many centuries.

Mistletoe is abundant on the many orchards around the market town with the plant having the perfect growing conditions in the many apple trees. Holly is the perfect companion plant for mistletoe and both Christmas staples will be available to bid on throughout the day.

The event will be hosted by local company Nick Champion, who has built up a strong reputation in property, land and auctioneering.

These auctions are open to wholesalers, garden centre retailers, florists, market stall holders and the public, with many buyers travelling to Tenbury from all over the UK and Europe to purchase the plants.

“With Tenbury Wells being the English capital of mistletoe and it being engrained in the town’s history, it seemed fitting that the auctions should return to the beautiful setting of Burford House for another year,” said Paul Benson, manager of Burford House Garden Store.

“This year, we anticipate even more people in attendance for this traditional event, along with keen photographers from across the UK. This local Christmas tradition is not to be missed.”

The sales provide a boost for the economy of Tenbury bringing people into the town to use, shops pubs and restaurants.

There have been mistletoe sales in Tenbury for 160 years.

Tenbury and the Teme Valley is prime mistletoe country, for orchards have been a familiar theme on the local landscape and the plant loves setting up home in the boughs of an apple tree.

Holly is the perfect complement to mistletoe, the pair being staple fare at Christmas, and so growers and gatherers assemble to trade the pair under the experienced guidance local auctioneer Nick Champion and his team.

Traditionally the mistletoe sales took place on the former auction yard site and that was the home until it closed in 2004.

People who visit Tenbury for the sales will be able to see the town dressed for Christmas following the switch-on of the lights on Saturday November 17.

On Saturday, December 1 there will be the annual mistletoe festival in the town.

This will include a programme of events including story telling and a kiss-a-thon where an attempt will be made to get as many people as possible to kiss under a single tree.

The day will also feature a Mistletoe Queen and Holly Prince from Tenbury High School Ormiston Academy and end with the Sandra Parade in Teme Street.

Mistletoe has mythical links with fertility and the mid-winter festival.